Power outages can come up at any moment, so it's best to ensure necessities continue running, including your heat pump. Generators are a popular power alternative during outages, but you might be wondering, can they run a heat pump? And if so, what size do you need for it? After looking up these concerns, we gathered the answers and summed them up in this post.
Generators come in two primary types, portable and home standby generators. Likewise, heat pumps come in various sizes, meaning the amps required also differ, but they usually use between 800 to 5,100 watts. For this, it's okay to use either type of generator, given that either can handle the capacity.
Your generator should be capable of providing sufficient power to different appliances, especially when there are no other power sources. Keep reading if you want to know more about finding the right generator and size for a heat pump.
How Big Should My Generator Be For A Heat Pump?
The generator you use for a heat pump varies on its size. Typically, a heat pump uses 800 to 5,100 watts, which both a portable and whole-home generator can hold.
Take note that portable generators produce less power. Although they can run the device, they often aren't enough to support larger heat pumps.
And so, if you want to be sure a generator can run your heat pump, look into how many watts your appliance specifically requires and match it up with the power production of the generator you choose.
The two main types are the portable generator and the home standby generator. Below is a brief synopsis of each type:
Portable generators usually produce less than 10,000 watts, with a few models capable of producing higher output. These are suitable for individuals who don't use many appliances at once, such as homeowners who live alone.
Unlike larger generators, they are cheaper and require less installation. These generators are good enough for powering a few things, but not simultaneously.
Home Standby Generator
Whole-house or home standby generators are specifically designed to power an entire household in an outage. When the power goes out, these will automatically get to work.
Because they cater to larger power capacities, reaching over 10,000 to 20,000 watts, they can run for a lengthier period without requiring refueling. When choosing this generator, keep in mind that these cost a lot, going from a few thousand dollars upwards.
However, consider that purchasing this type of generator gives you a fully worry-free experience!
Portable and home standby generators fall under the larger available options. In case you're looking for a generator with a smaller capacity, you can consider these inverters:
A recreational inverter is the lightest generator, often weighing about 60 pounds. And so, they are quieter and easy to store and transport.
These generators can produce up to 2,000 watts, making them enough to power only small appliances. They also cannot be connected to a circuit breaker and cannot power devices without standard plugs.
Another lightweight model, weighing less than 150 pounds, is the midsized inverter that produces around 3,500 watts. It comes with similar features to a recreational inverter but runs appliances for a longer time while consuming less gas.
A midsized inverter can run 110-volt appliances with standard plugs and heating or cooling equipment that use fewer amounts of power.
If you want to know what generator to use for an air conditioner, read this post: "What Size Generator Can Run A 5,000 BTU Air Conditioner?"
How Many Watts Do Heat Pumps Use?
When identifying the wattage of a heat pump, there are three factors to consider: size and capacity, energy efficiency, and type of heat pump. The type of heat pump you choose also depends on how much power your household requires.
If you have a 3-ton heat pump, it uses about 800 watts. A 5-ton unit will consume around 5,100 watts, and if you have bigger models, it uses even higher wattage according to the machine's capacity.
The number of watts a heat pump will need is lower when it offers higher efficiency. At the same time, the type of unit influences the wattage, wherein ground-source heat pumps use less power than air-source units.
Read more about heat pump sizes in this post: "How Big Is A Heat Pump (And What Size Do I Need)?"
Why Should I Get The Proper Generator Size?
The wrong generator size can lead to complications with your appliances. It goes for when you get a generator that's oversized or undersized for the needs of your household.
Listed below are a couple of reasons why it's necessary to get the right and accurate size:
Sufficient Supply Of Power
If a generator is too small or does not meet your electrical demands, it leads to voltage drops and slows down your appliance. When this happens, your unit may experience operational issues and fails to function at its best.
A generator may be overworked when it cannot provide enough power to run your appliances. The problems following this, such as overheating and clogging, lower the generator's durability and reduce lifespan.
It could also require more repairs and maintenance due to its parts breaking down.
Saves On Costs
A generator that's too big can run your appliances with even space for more. However, it costs a lot to have, especially when you don't use the additional power output.
Larger generators will burn more fuel than needed and require more maintenance. As a result, it lowers efficiency and adds to the overall expense.
Protection From Potential Damage
Other than durability issues, physical damage occurs when a generator holds more than it can handle. The right generator size protects you and your devices from overload, unit failure, malfunctions, and electrical harm.
A Guide To Finding The Right Generator Size
Generators cost a lot regardless of their size. So, it's essential to find the right size to ensure it powers your appliances and helps you save on costs.
Here are a few tips to help you find the appropriate generator size you need:
1. Calculate Total Load
First, list which appliances the generator will power and add up their total wattage. The final calculation will determine how much power your equipment requires.
If possible, also consider when you will be using the generator. Is it for emergency purposes or to use in a different area of your home? That way, you can evaluate which size will be the most fitting.
2. Determine Running Requirements
Generators function differently when used as a backup source or a primary power supply. They come at different capacities, determining how long they can operate without getting damaged.
If you're looking to use it as your primary power source, get a generator that covers about 70% to 80% capacity. Leaving about 20% to 30% capacity allows room for additional power requirements in the future without putting too much energy to waste.
3. Compare Generator Performance
Some generators come with different features, which you might find suitable for your needs. Take your time in comparing available options until you find the perfect fit!
A few things you might want to take note of are the price and maintenance, operation, power phase, and fuel source. As much as possible, go for the unit that is the most space-, cost-, and energy-efficient.
4. Consider Your Location
Another factor that affects generator sizing will be your location. Your generator should be big enough to fit your space.
Generators with higher power capacity are often larger in size and can be hard to transport. So, it's vital to carefully consider your power requirements while considering accessibility and available room in your home.
Heat pumps come in a variety of sizes, each requiring a different level of power consumption. Although you can use any generator that handles their capacity to run them, the common options include a portable generator or a home standby generator.
It's essential to ensure your generator is just the right size to prevent damage and power waste.
The usual wattage of a heat pump ranges from 800 to 5,100 watts, which both generators can provide depending on the size. You can also consider smaller generator types if you're looking to run a smaller heat pump or a backup power source for an individual appliance.