If you want to keep your window A/C unit running when an electrical outage occurs, powering it with a generator is a viable option, as long as you choose the correct size. It all comes down to wattage, so if you plan to power your A/C and other items, understanding some basics can help you make a smart purchasing decision. Generators can provide electricity to spaces and devices during blackout periods, power surges, or in some areas where electrical service isn’t an option. Generators can range anywhere from 800 watts to over 500,000 watts and there are different types of generators for every need.
Do I Need A Generator?
Do you need a home generator? If so, what size and type? There’s a lot to consider when it comes to getting a generator for your home. Generators are a good option to have in the case of an extended power outage in your neighborhood. Think of all of the things in your home you would have to do without in the event of an extended power outage. The most critical appliance for most homeowners are refrigerators and freezers; having a generator on-hand can prevent you from losing your food due to spoilage if your home loses power. This may be the least of your worries though if you have someone in your household that relies on electronically powered medical devices such as oxygen or dialysis. Having a home generator on hand is never a bad option, especially if you live in an area prone to extreme weather.
How Generators Are Sized
Generators can come in many different sizes. There are solar generators and battery generators, but most people prefer to use propane, natural gas and diesel fuels. Generators are rated according to the amount of electrical power (kW), or wattage, they can handle. Portable generators rated from 5,000 to 8,000 watts (W) can generally provide enough power for a window A/C and other necessities.
The easiest and safest way to connect your emergency power source is to have your electrician install a manual transfer switch that controls specific circuits in your main electrical panel. When the grid goes down, you can simply flip the switch and start up the generator.
Why is it important to buy the right size generator?
Having the right size generator means having sufficient wattage to power all your desired devices and appliances in the event of a power outage. But choosing the right size generator can also help you:
- Hit the sweet spot between big enough for your needs and small enough to avoid overpaying for the unit and operating costs.
- Avoid random system failures and downtime caused by overloading the system.
- Decrease wear-and-tear and get the longest lifespan out of your generator.
- Obtain excellent performance at all times.
- Ensure everyone’s safety by preventing overloads, overheating, or short circuits.
Why Wattage Ratings Matter
In order to pick the correct size generator to power your window A/C unit, you need to know its electricity requirement. Window air conditioner units, like every other electrical appliance, have two wattage ratings, starting and running, which tell you how much electricity the equipment consumes.
Starting an HVAC system up takes more electrical current, but only for a few seconds. Once the air conditioner is running, the current requirement drops, so the ratings for running wattage are always lower than for the starting wattage.
How to Choose the Right Generator
Begin by deciding what you want to power during an outage, in addition to your window A/C unit. Make a note of the running rating of each item and add them together. Then, take the highest starting rating of all the appliances, and add that to the total of the running ratings. Now, you know the wattage rating to look for when you’re considering different generators.
For expert help choosing a generator for your Northwest Arkansas home, contact Paschal Air, Plumbing, & Electric today.
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