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Will a 12,000 Watt Generator Run a House?

A collage of generators at home.

Having a strong, whole-house generator may seem like overkill to some, but in these uncertain times, having a backup plan for electricity is necessary. Having a good generator can help you save money and be prepared for difficult and unexpected circumstances.

But how big should your generator be? Can a 12000-watt generator power a house effectively?

This article aims to answer this question and provide you with enough information so you can rest assured that you’re investing in the right generator when buying a new one.

Related: How Far Should a Generator be from the House How Many Watts Do I Need for a Generator | What Size Generator for a House | What is the Size of the Generator to Run a Refrigerator and Freezer?

First: Know Your Power

Before you start looking at a new and big generator for your home, it’s important that you know how much power your home is going to need. It goes without saying, but every home will have different electricity needs, so there’s no real one-size-fits-all approach.

Wattage is what measures how much power an appliance or device needs. You have to calculate the total wattages of everything you plan to run on your generator.

Once you have that total, divide it by 1000 to get the kilowatts you need. For example, to keep a refrigerator running, you’ll need a generator rated at 1kW at least.

Will a 12000 Watt Generator Run a House?

Yes, a 12000-watt generator will be able to run most of the essential appliances used in a home. However, you need to keep in mind that there are limits to what a generator of this size will be able to do. 

There is no way that a 12000-watt generator can fill in for all the electric needs of a home. You can’t use one to replace all the electrical outlets in your house. 

If you use a lot of electronics, a 12000-watt generator probably won’t be big enough. Additionally, and unfortunately, this kind of generator won’t be able to power all your kitchen appliances.

Typically, a 12000-watt generator will be able to run all the essentials you need for a reasonably comfortable life. Devices like microwaves, TVs, computers, and stereos will require a bigger generator, though.

Generators and Their Sizes

Generator sizes are based on the amount of power they’re able to produce and have nothing to do with their physical dimensions. That’s why it’s easy to be fooled to think that a big, bulky generator will be able to support a home when it actually won’t.

So how should you go about looking for the best generator for your home?

As mentioned before, you should have a good idea of the electrical needs of your appliances and devices.

A normal house uses about 15kW of electricity, and a 12000-watt generator offers 12kW. For that reason, it’s obvious that while this generator is big enough for most electrical needs, it can’t run the entire home.

You can use a generator of this size for all the necessary things that can keep your home comfortable, but it’s not sufficient to help you stay off the grid, sadly.

Types of Generator Systems

There are two different kinds of generator types to choose from, both good for their own reasons. Here’s a quick look at these systems:

Portable Generators

Champion Power Equipment 100813 9375/7500-Watt Portable Generator with Electric Start

These generators are relatively small in size and you can move them from one location to another with ease (though you may need a bit of elbow grease). You won’t need any special licenses or permits to use portable generators and they are fairly easy to maintain, use, and repair.

Standby Generators

Generac 70432 Home Standby Generator Guardian Series 22kW/19.5kW Air Cooled with Wi-Fi and Transfer Switch, Aluminum

These generators are more permanent and are connected to electrical grids. They have switches that ensure they turn on automatically when the electricity supply is suddenly interrupted. For these generators, users need to run cords directly to their homes or buildings and you’ll need a license or permit to use one.

Standby and portable generators are available in various sizes, starting from 1000 watts up to a whopping 100,000 watts.

Is A 12000-Watt Generator Safe?

Although generators are made to be safe, it is still important that you’re cautious when operating them. This is especially true when you’re using bigger generators, such as a 12000-watt generator.

Always make sure that you’re following safety precautions before you run a generator of any kind. Don’t ever operate a generator if its engine is running.

Ensure that your generator’s exhaust pipe is clear so no debris finds its way inside.

What Is The Cost Of A Generator?

The price of a generator will depend on the model, capacity, features, and brand. The running cost of a generator is affected by how big it is, how efficiently it operates, and the maintenance required to keep it running smoothly.

Although smaller generators are more affordable to buy, they will be less efficient because they can’t keep as many appliances running. Larger generators may cost more initially, but they’re more cost-effective.

For example, a 20 000-watt generator uses more gas than a 5000-watt generator, making it more expensive but better at running multiple appliances.

Generator Maintenance Tips

Using a generator isn’t complicated, but it’s important that you follow the right maintenance plans to ensure it lasts as long as possible. Proper maintenance will also ensure that your appliances are always protected.

If you want to avoid damaging your appliances, make sure you keep your generator away from flammable materials at all times.

Here are some other general maintenance tips to keep in mind:

  • Keep the generator clean
  • Store your generator indoors
  • Never leave an operating generator completely unattended
  • Don’t repair the generator yourself
  • Follow manufacturer’s instructions at all times
  • Ensure the generator is well-ventilated
  • Replace spark plugs once a year
  • Clean the generator’s filter often
  • Check the oil level often

Final Thoughts

Now you know all about (or should have a good idea about) how much electricity your home needs, and how good a 12000-watt generator will be at keeping your appliances running. Although a generator of this size won’t be able to keep an entire house running, it will be effective at ensuring the necessary appliances and lights remain on.