If you’ve ever been curious about whether a generator can power your entire home, wonder no more! In this post, we cover the question of what size generator you would need to power an entire house and how much it might cost you over a year. Typically, generators are purchased to run essential appliances in the event of a temporary power outage. In this context, a generator can power your house.
We also go into detail about what it would take to convert your current home to be totally run off of solar or wind. Let’s get started!
This question is, of course, vastly more complicated than simply looking at price comparisons between oil, gas and other fuels.
You can’t simply check the cost of fuel to power your home, and while that is certainly one factor, the “fuel cost” is not the only one to take into account. That being said, here are some rough estimates:
A standard size home, which includes 1 bedroom and 1 bathroom (including a washer/dryer), as well as a kitchen and living room area can use anywhere from 7-10 kilowatts on average. The average home in America uses about 9.3kW.
According to the EPA, the average American household uses 901 kWh of electricity per month. This means that the average home uses a little more than 10kW on average, although it can be much higher in some homes, and much lower in others. Keep in mind, however, that this is on average.
This number can be broken down into two other components: gross electric consumption, and net energy consumption. These numbers are the total amount of electricity used minus what is used for heating and cooling (which we will assume is the same as we use our house during the colder months). A standard size house in Texas will probably consume more than 1kWh per square foot of floor space.
Based on this article, the entire average home costs about $1,100 dollars per year to run. That’s if you use energy conservatively and have a high quality home. If you use the national average of 901 kWh per month, and electricity cost of 12 cents per kWh, your power bill costs about $102/month or $1,344/year.
So, at the very least, you’ll need to generate somewhere around $1,344 per year worth of electricity to power your entire house.
That being said, there are certainly ways to lower the amount of energy you use in your home and save money. One of the easiest ways, and usually most cost effective way to do this is to replace all of your lightbulbs with led bulbs. This will save you approximately $240 per year in electricity cost alone.
Other hardware that you may want to replace to save money on your electric bill include old or inefficient appliances, like your oven or fridge, and upgrading your heating and cooling systems.
How much energy does a house use, anyway?
All of this being said, depending on where you live and which appliances you use, it will probably cost a great deal more than $1,344 per year. If you have a lot of AC usage or other high energy usage appliances like a pool or hot tub and you come from Florida then the yearly cost will be significantly higher.
The average home in Florida consumes 11,427 kWh of electricity per year and costs about $1,436 per year to run. However, if you use solar for your power generation you could save a great deal of money.
Using standard panels and an inverter, you can get a 3kW solar system (which is about 7x the size of what we mentioned above) for around $5,000. This will generate 5,816 watts per hour or 182 kWh per day.
Based on the average energy usage of your home in Florida, however, this will only cover around 1/5th of your power needs. You would need to add three more panels using this calculator for a total of 9kW solar system. This is where it starts to take significantly more money and more time to have a fully solar-powered home.
In order to “go green,” you have to make a lot of changes in the way you live and it doesn’t happen overnight. However, it is well worth the effort, and you can reap the benefits of a more sustainable lifestyle in the end.
Whether you are interested in powering your entire house with solar power or another clean energy alternative, we know how much of an impact this will have on your wallet and just what it takes to get there. We also know that going green is not only important for the environment but for your wallet as well. Our team is happy to help you take a new look at technology that can save you money while keeping our planet clean.
What are the main types of generators?
The different types of generators fall under two main categories: portable and stationary. Portable generators are generally used where there is some electricity available to them (ex: appliances) but the need for power is not needed all the time.
Stationary generators are usually used in homes, businesses, mines and any other facility that requires power on a continuous basis. These types of generators are driven by fossil fuels (ex: gasoline, propane or diesel) and the electricity is generated as it is needed.
Portable generators rely on gasoline to power the engine that is used to generate electricity. These types of generators are generally very loud and must be placed outdoors. Some portable generators, however, use propane or diesel fuel which tend to be a bit quieter than gas-powered models.
Larger portable generators are often called “whole-house” generators and can provide power for most of your household appliances when there are interruptions in the utility supply from the power company.
What can I power with my generator?
The most common applications for portable generators are in construction sites, recreational vehicles like RVs and boats, and jobsites when you need to run things like saws, drills or welders. What you can power varies greatly depending on the model you choose.
Portable generators can be used to run refrigerators (40 to 60-gallon models), TVs, computers, stereos and other household appliances. They can also provide supplemental power for tools like chain saws, lawnmowers and weed wackers that are not rated for continuous use.
How much does it cost? Portable generator rentals average between $60-$85 per day depending on the size of your generator and length of rental period. There is also a $100-$200 delivery and pickup fee.
Generators used at residential homes to provide electricity during outages (blackouts) can provided between 1.5 and 10 kilowatts of power. Most small generators are rated to run loads of 1,500 watts or less, while larger generators can run loads up to 15,000 or more watts. To avoid overloading the generator, it’s important to understand how much power you will need in a blackout situation.
How much does it cost? Stationary generators are available for between $30 and $50 per day depending on the length of rental period and power output. Note that backup power systems are typically expensive to install.
What can I run with my generator?
Large stationary generators are used primarily in commercial facilities, such as hospitals, schools and office buildings. These types of generators can provide up to 25,000 watts of continuous power for critical loads during a blackout.
Portable generators, on the other hand, are mainly used for short-term backup power in residential locations. They are typically limited to providing one to two kilowatts (1,500 to 3,000 watts) of power. Most homeowners can run a refrigerator, TV and lights when the power is out by using a portable generator. But it’s important to look at your needs very carefully before renting a generator.
How much electricity do I really need?
A good rule of thumb is to assume the lights, TV and other typical household appliances will total up to about 1 kilowatt per hour. So if you want to run a basic refrigerator down from a 20-amp circuit, you’ll need approximately 0.058 kilowatts an hour (20 amps x 120 volts = 2.4 kilowatts, or 2,400 watts).
Will I be able to run everything that I need for an average day, every day?
If you are having trouble getting enough power to run your appliances, start by considering how much energy you use over a typical day. The Energy Information Administration (EIA) maintains a utility-scale data collection called the Residential Energy Consumption Survey (RECS). The RECS provides monthly data for individual-unit consumption patterns and estimates the cost of these patterns of consumption at individual-unit rates. Through the RECS, EIA has estimated the basic energy consumption patterns as follows:
Basic (residential) energy consumption patterns are estimated by adding the six building-related patterns to the single residential pattern.
Commercial and institutional energy consumption patterns are estimated using data from RECS to estimate three building-related patterns, and by adding these building-related patterns to the single commercial pattern.
The industrial energy consumption patterns are estimated using data from RECS to estimate five building-related energy consumption levels, which are added to the single industrial pattern.
What is the Difference between Watts, Amps, and Volts?
Amps (A) and watts (W) are essentially different units of measurement used for electricity. Watts measure power (the amount of energy flowing through one or more conductors) and a watt is equivalent to 946 watts. Amps measure the amount of current that flows through a circuit, and an amp is equivalent to 10 volts.
When it comes to your generator, you should make sure that the amount of amps in your circuit matches the number of amps on your portable generator’s side terminals.
To understand how much power you can run through a specific extension cord, you need to know the wattage and voltage of the appliance you want to power.
For example: If an appliance is rated at 1,500 watts (W), it means that for every 1 kilowatt hour of energy consumed there will be 1,500 watts expended. The equation looks like this: (1 kW x Hours) / 1000 = W.
If you want to know how much power is being consumed by an appliance, you can use the equation below: (Watts x Hours) / 1000 = Kilowatt (KW).
To calculate watts, multiply the voltage of the appliance by the amperage. For example if you have an appliance rated at 120 volts and 5 amps, then multiply 120 volts by 5 amps (watts). In this case, it would be 540 watts.
And to calculate amps, divide the voltage of the appliance by the wattage:
For example if you have an appliance rated at 120 volts and 5 amps, then divide 120 volts by 5 amps. In this case it’s 0.125 amps.
To calculate volts you divide the amperage by the voltage.
In other words to calculate watts (W) = (Volts x Amps). To calculate amps (A) = (Volts x Watts).