After living through the great ice storm of the Northeast (without
power for 2 days straight), I have decided to buy a generator--which
type/model/HP would be good to be able to run a basement sump pump
(only about once an hour does it need to come on with our very wet
basement), forced air (gas) furnace and maybe the water pump (from our
well which is where we get drinking water). On a longshot I'd like to
get an electric hot water tank on it, but not the end of the world if I
can't. I know nothing about generators at all, except for the small one
we borrowed to get the sump pump working during the outage.
make a note of the power demand on each outlet you want to keep
running. Add them up for the total load required.
The generator will need to be outside unless you can vent the exhaust.
There are quite a few small generators that would probably meet your
The hot water service is harder because , unless its a very small
heater , may be a 240V circuit.
I bought a generator that is more than suffiecient for maintaining my house
during a blackout. It cost about 1100.00 and is a 7000 watt model with a BnS
engine. When our power went out for 8 hours I used the gen. to power the
fridge, lights and the A/C. We also were able to use the microwave at the
same time. My gen. has a 240 vt outlet that in a pinch I could rewire a plug
onto my hot water heater, but really only an emergency situation.
I just bought the best that I could afford at the time, you can never have
Assuming your pump is 120 volt, well pump 240 volt, furnace blower 120 volt,
and water heater 240 volt, roughly calculated you need around 10KW
generator. Don't even think of installing one inside your house. The better
residential units are propane or natural gas and fully automatic
5 kW is quite sufficient for a house with gas or oil fired heat and hot
water. You electric water heater is likely about 5 kW by itself so it
either doubles the size of the generator you need or you need to heat
water some other way like of the stove only as you need it.
If you have gas service and don't mind spending a bit more the Generac /
Guardian permanent nat gas fueled automatic generator with automatic
transfer switch will work nicely and will be easier to deal with.
You might also consider ditching the electric hot water heater since you
already have gas service and water heaters are pretty cheap.
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