Standby Generators

What is a standby generator?

A standby generator, often called an emergency generator is a machine designed to produce electricity in the event your normal source of electricity (i.e. FPL) is disconnected or unavailable for an extended period of time.

The cost to own and operate a standby generator is directly related to how much power you need in the event of an emergency. Many people are surprised to find out that a standby generator is affordable when sized to true emergency conditions. For example, in the event of a hurricane, are you going to be running the A/C full time? Can you get by without the use of your hot water heater? Are you going to be having the family over for a turkey dinner?

By preparing ahead of time, you can figure out what electricity demands are absolutely necessary and see if you can afford a unit to fit your needs. Some simple math will allow you to see the total power (expressed in wattage or watts) you need to fulfill your demand. Since generator sizes are measured in watts or kilowatts (kW), once you know how many watts you need to run your home in an emergency you can then shop around to find a good value.

Most manufacturers recommend not maxing out the capacity of the generator. A good rule of thumb is size your generator for 125% of the total wattage you need. You can then shop around for comparison prices. Check to see what fuel the unit runs on. Common fuels are LP, Natural Gas, an Diesel. Find out the pros and cons to these different fuels and also availability.

B J Electrical Service has experience wiring and installing numerous standby generators. We look forward to working with you!

Wattage of common household items

1 kW = 1000 watts




1 light bulb   60
refrigerator   800
freezer (stand alone)   500
well pump   1000
space heater   1800
ceiling fan   800
window A/C (10,000 BTU)   1200
microwave   1000
coffee maker   1500
television 27"   500
personal computer   800
garage door opener   500
hair dryer 1000 watt   1000
water heater 40 gal.   4000
washing machine   1150
dryer   5500