When the power goes out, you have to start up a gas-powered portable generator and plug it into your appliances or a subpanel. Portable generators cost $500 to $1,500 depending on power output.
These generators are powered by natural gas or propane and start automatically during power outages. Prices start at $5,000 for a 7,000-watt unit, including installation.
How to determine what size generator you need
Add up your power needs
Estimate your power needs before you shop for a generator. Look for a label on each appliance that you want to power during an electrical outage. Add up the watts to determine the generator size you need. You can also get an idea of wattage requirements here.
Microwave: 600 to 1,200 watts
Refrigerator: 700 to 1,200 watts
Freezer: 500 to 1,200 watts
Washing machine: 1,200 watts
1/3-hp sump pump: 800 watts
Television: 300 watts
Laptop computer: 250 watts
10,000-Btu air conditioner: 1,500 watts
Your first step in adding backup power is deciding what you need (or want) to keep running when the electricity goes out. This determines the size (wattage) of the generator you’ll need.
Walk through the house and make a list of everything you want to power during an outage. Look for a label on each appliance (they have to have one) that contains information such as wattage, model number and the year it was made (photo). Some labels are right inside the door on appliances; others are on the back, so you have to pull the appliance away from the wall. Write down the item and how much wattage it uses. Be sure to include essential items, like refrigerators, freezers, a well pump if you have one, and a sump pump if your basement could flood. You can go a few hours or even days without an oven (use the microwave instead) and an air conditioner—they use a lot of power and would require you to buy a much bigger generator.
Add together the items’ wattages, then multiply that number by 1.5 (appliances need the extra power to start up). That’s the minimum wattage needed for your generator.
For more information, contact South Shore Generator.