October 31, 2023

How to Power a House With a Generator


We’ve all been there – a sudden power outage plunges your house into darkness, and you find yourself fumbling around for flashlights.

But what if there was a way to keep the lights on and the essentials running smoothly, even when the grid goes down? That’s where generators come into play.

In this guide, we’ll explore how to power a house with a generator, from choosing the right one to ensuring safe operation. Let’s dive in.

Why Power a House with a Generator?

Power outages can strike at any time, and they are a hassle.

Whether it’s a horrible weather event, a grid failure, or routine maintenance, being without electricity is never a good experience.

Can a generator power a house during these trying times? The answer is yes.

Imagine the luxury of having your refrigerator humming away, your heating or cooling system keeping your home comfortable, and your essential devices staying charged during a power outage.

That’s the kind of peace of mind generators provide, leaving you and your family comfortable during outages.

Choosing the Right Generator for Your Home

First things first, you should know your power needs. Which appliances and systems are essential to keep running during an outage?

With this information, you can decide what size generator is needed to power your house.

Generators come in many shapes and sizes, with portable and standby options being the most common.

Additionally, they run on different fuels, including gasoline, diesel, propane, and natural gas.

We offer residential electrical services that cater to your needs.

Calculating Power Requirements: Understanding Wattage Needs

Let’s look into calculating your power requirements and understand how big of a generator to power a house is necessary.

Find out the wattage of each essential appliance. You can then estimate the total power your generator should provide.

This is vital in determining how big of a generator to power a house and ensuring it can handle your specific requirements.

Consider peak power demands when appliances initially start up. Your generator should be able to handle these spikes in power with no issue.

Generator Types: Portable vs. Standby Generators

Here’s how to power a house with a generator using the different types below.

  1. Portable generators are versatile and provide temporary power where and when you need it – perfect for emergencies and outdoor events.
  2. Standby generators offer automatic activation during power outages. Most ideal for homeowners seeking a permanent backup solution.

Portable Generators


  • Can be moved to different locations and is ideal for many applications, not just home backup.
  • Lower upfront cost compared to standby generators.
  • Do not require permanent installation.


  • Requires a manual setup – inconvenient during bad weather or the middle of the night.
  • Run on gasoline, which is not the most efficient or environmentally friendly option.
  • Noisier compared to standby generators.

Standby Generators


  • Automatically turn on when a power outage is detected, ensuring an uninterrupted power supply.
  • Designed to power entire homes as they can handle larger loads.
  • Run on natural gas, which is more efficient and convenient than gasoline.


  • Higher upfront cost, considering both the unit and installation fees.
  • Once installed, you can’t move them around for other purposes, making them a home backup solution.
  • Require more frequent maintenance.

Fuel Options: Gasoline, Diesel, Propane, or Natural Gas

The choice of fuel for your generator is key when deciding what size generator to power your house.

  1. Gasoline generators are readily available and easy to use, popular for portable generators.
  2. Diesel generators are known for their fuel efficiency and durability, suitable for long power outages. Looking for a reliable option for backup power? These are worth considering when determining what size generator to power a house is required.
  3. Propane and natural gas generators are environmentally friendly and offer a cleaner-burning alternative.

You should have proper storage facilities for your chosen generator fuel.

Explore our range of generators and switch gears, and experience working with a company that prioritizes quality.

Safety Preparations Before Powering Your House

There are safety precautions to consider when learning how to power a house with a generator safely.

Proper grounding prevents electrical hazards and ensures safe operation.

Choose a well-ventilated location for your generator to prevent carbon monoxide buildup. Install carbon monoxide detectors to protect your home from this deadly gas.

Essentially, understanding how to power a house with a generator starts with choosing a safe and ventilated spot for your generator.

How to Connect a Generator to Your Home

Now that your generator is ready, here are a few tips on how to power a house with a generator.

Installing a Transfer Switch for Seamless Power Switching – How to Power House With Generator

A transfer switch plays a big role in a generator setup. It will help you understand how to power a house with a generator better.

A transfer switch bridges your generator to your home’s electrical system, ensuring safe power without overloading the system.

Manual vs. Automatic Transfer Switches: Pros and Cons

  • Manual: Offers hands-on control, simplicity, and typically a lower price point.
  • Automatic: Provides an instantaneous power switchover, ideal for those who want hassle-free transitions.

Both have their merits, and your choice should match your needs and comfort level.

Professional Electrician Services for Transfer Switch Installation

Why risk it? Licensed electricians can guide you through the process, performing safe, legal installations tailored to your home’s setup. Plus, they’ll help comply with codes and give expert recommendations.

Safety Measures During Transfer Switch Installation

Ensure connections are correctly wired and grounded, isolate your home from the grid to prevent back feeding, and always prioritize regular maintenance.

Backup Power Strategy: Preparing for Generator Usage

Prepare, practice, perfect! Familiarize yourself with the transfer switch operations, have an emergency plan in place, and simulate power outages to practice seamless transitions.

Powering Essential Appliances and Systems

During a power outage, the question, “Can a generator power a house?” becomes more than theoretical.

You’ll quickly realize how many devices and appliances we depend on daily, and having the right generator can make a world of difference.

However, don’t stress your generator beyond its capabilities.

Constantly running it at its highest capacity will do more harm than good. Be mindful of your generator’s limits – the combined wattage of your appliances shouldn’t surpass it.

For areas in your home that aren’t directly connected to the generator, heavy-duty extension cords can be used. Make sure they’re rated for the appliance’s power needs and are free from any damage.

Maintaining Generator Power During Operation

If you’ve ever wondered about “how to power a house with a generator”, know that the effectiveness of your generator depends on its maintenance.

Running out of fuel in the middle of a blackout isn’t ideal. Always have an extra stock of the necessary fuel, and regularly check the generator’s fuel levels during operation.

Even the best generators need oversight. Check for signs of wear, unusual noises, or other issues.

After each use, and even during periods of inactivity, inspect your generator. Change the oil, look at the spark plugs, and replace filters as much as needed.

Effective Power Management Strategies

When planning power usage, one often wonders, “What size generator is needed to power a house?”

While the size is key, how you manage that power is just as important.

Instead of running every appliance simultaneously, cycle between them. For example, use the washing machine and dryer at separate times.

Use high-wattage appliances during off-peak hours, such as early morning or late evening, to minimize the load on the generator.

All family members should be aware of the power management plan. Communication will prevent accidental overloads and optimize power usage.

Ending Generator Use and Transitioning Back to Grid Power

As the power outage ends, you’ll want to transition back to the grid seamlessly.

Always turn off and unplug appliances from the generator before shutting it down to avoid electrical spikes.

Wait for the generator to cool down completely before storing it.

Once the main power is restored, make sure to safely switch your home’s system from the generator back to the grid.

Long-Term Preparedness for Additional Backup Power Solutions

Knowing what size generator to power your house will prepare you for extended outages.

Solar panels are a renewable energy source during the day.

Modern battery systems can store excess energy, be it from solar panels or generators, for use during peak hours or long outages.

These systems harness the strengths of each power source, offering flexible power solutions for every situation.

Remember, preparation is key. Knowing how to navigate these systems and strategies ensures that you’re never left in the dark.

Bottom Line

Moreover, mastering home generator usage lets you maintain comfort, safety, and connectivity during power outages.

Balancing emergency preparedness and resourcefulness guarantees that you and your family can weather any storm.

If you have any questions or need assistance with your generator needs, learn how to power a house with a generator by contacting us.

We’re here to help you stay connected when the lights go out.

FAQs on How to Power a House With a Generator

What size generator is needed to power a house during an outage?

Determining the right generator size depends on your wattage needs. Calculate the wattage of essential appliances and systems, considering peak power demands, to find the suitable generator size.

Can a generator power a whole house?

Yes, a generator can power an entire house, but it depends on its size and capacity. Standby generators are designed for whole-house power, while portable generators can be used to supply power to specific circuits.

How big of a generator do I need to power my house?

The size of the generator you need depends on your power requirements. Calculate your wattage needs and choose a generator that can handle the total load comfortably.

Where should I place my generator for optimum safety and functionality?

For both safety and functionality, place your generator in a well-ventilated area, away from windows, doors, and vents. Proper ventilation prevents carbon monoxide buildup. Additionally, make sure it’s on a level surface and grounded.

What are the advantages of a standby generator over a portable one?

Standby generators offer automatic activation, provide whole-house power, and require less manual intervention compared to portable generators, making them a convenient backup power source for your home.