I finally bought a propane generator in 2002 after my power was out for 10 days.
Although most people opt for a 10,000 watt generator, I run my two story home on a 6600 watt propane generator... with power to spare!
While it might seem counterintuitive, you don’t need big and bulky generators with lots of watts — especially if you already have propane appliances in your home.
When selecting a generator, think about how many watts you need your home to run and choose a generator accordingly.
What is a watt?
Watts measure the electrical output of equipment, devices and appliances. They are used for calculating energy usage. The bigger the watt number, the more energy consumed.
Think of a propane generator like your car. If you're driving in the city, you don't need a V8 engine to get around. On the other hand, if you're on the open road and need to accelerate quickly – or if you need to tow a heavy load – you'll want more horsepower under the hood.
Propane generators work in much the same way. If you're using a power source that requires a lot of electricity, then you'll want to make sure your generator is capable of meeting that demand.
When it comes to measurement, it can either be in watts or kilowatts. 1,000 watts is one kilowatt. So my 6600 watt propane generator is 6.6 kilowatts.
How Do I Find My Average Watt Consumption?
If you have a billing statement from your electric company, look at the kilowatt-hour (kWh) rate listed on your bill; this is the amount of electricity you pay for each month. If not, try looking at your past electric bills for clues about how much electricity you consume and how much it costs per unit. Also, many devices have their own labels that will tell you their watt usage. Look for information on watts or voltage if it isn't clearly labeled.
Understand how much power you're using
Our energy usage tends to go up when the power goes out because we're usually at home, trying to stay warm and entertained.
There are three important questions to consider:
How many appliances will be running at once?
What type of appliances will they be?
How long will they be running?
To properly size your propane generator, you need to know how much power you are using in your home.
The good news is that if you are already using propane for appliances like your stove, oven, water heater, or home heating system, your electricity usage is probably lower than most people's.
How I use a 6600 watt propane generator
Here in rural Oregon, we do things a little differently. I use a smaller generator because my stovetop, oven, water heater, and even my dryer all run on propane. I have a pellet stove that heats my main rooms. So all I really need electricity for is the lights, the fridge, and my TV. Lights take hardly any power at all, and so does the TV.
I'm a propane provider, so maybe I'm a little biased, but I see more and more people switching to propane appliances. This is just another benefit we get for running our home on propane!