First, determine what you want to be powered by the generator. If you’re looking for a generator to power your major home appliances, make a list of essential appliances along with their peak watts usage you want to power in case of an emergency. Many people use a generator to power their essential appliances such as refrigerator, sump pump, furnace and lighting and electronics.
Next, to determine what wattage you’ll need your generator to power, calculate the appliances’ start run and peak wattage. Use an energy usage meter
to measure consumption of various household lights and appliances.
You should only run your generator at half of the rated wattage to get maximum run time. This improves fuel efficiency and leaves you the needed start-up wattage for the largest appliance. Warning: If you do not use the half-capacity rule of thumb or factor in startup wattage, you will likely trip the circuit breaker on the generator when your largest appliance turns on.
If you intend to run appliances and lighting to a home, it’s wise to have the generator wired to a transfer box next your home’s electrical panel. It is important to have an electrician install the box to be sure it is done safely. An improperly installed box could allow electricity to flow back into the power company’s grid and kill a worker trying to restore power to your house.