A Quick Guide to Generators

With proper use and maintenance, generators provide great convenience during a power outage. Before you purchase a generator, determine your backup power needs to select the right size. Make a list of essential appliances and devices you’ll want to power during an outage, then total the required wattage.


... rarely lose power.
Recreational Inverter

  • Up to 2,000 watts
  • Lightweight, about 60 pounds
  • Quiet, easy to store
  • Power: fridge and a few smaller items (i.e. lamp, phone charger and home security system)

Midsized Inverter

  • Up to 3,500 watts
  • Weighs up to 150 pounds
  • Power: fridge, laptop, five to 10 lights, phone charger, home security system and 10K BTU air conditioner

... occasionally lose power. Transfer switch required.

Portable Generators and Large Inverters

  • Up to 7,500 watts 
  • Weighs about 300 pounds 
  • Power: fridge, gas furnace, 10K BTU air conditioner, dishwasher, multiple lights, TV, laptop and more
  • Ability to connect to home’s breaker panel

... frequently lose power. Transfer switch required.

Home Standby

  • Up to 20,000 watts 
  • Must be permanently installed; starts automatically during outage
  • Power: nearly all home appliances and electronics (simultaneously) 
  • Can run indefinitely on natural gas or propane 
  • Recommended if you frequently lose power.


  • Let us know if you purchase a generator that you plan to connect to an electric panel. 
  • Improperly installed generators can create back feed, which is dangerous to our crews and the community. Before using the generator, disconnect the normal source of power coming into your home/business. 
  • Never operate a generator indoors or in an enclosed space.

Disclaimer: Please note safety requirements may differ based on the type of generator you purchase. Thoroughly read the operator’s manual and know how to shut off the generator quickly.

Source: Consumer Reports