You can not run your entire home with a portable generator. A typical home supplied with 200-amp electric service can support approximately 45,000 watts (45kW) of electric demand.
By way of comparison, portable generators are marketed in sizes ranging from a few hundred watts to 15,000 watts (15kW). Generators smaller then 4,000 watts are, in most instances, ill-suited for powering a home during a power outage as they can not start motors on devices like well pumps and the air handler on a central heating system.
At the other end of the spectrum, 10,000 to 15,000 watt portable generators, are more expensive, difficult to move, noisy, and consume large quantities of fuel. In most instances, you can not run you home's central air conditioning system or electric heat pump even with a 15,000 watt portable generator.
GenerLink™ is designed for use with portable generators that are temporarily connected to a home and provide a maximum continuous power output of 7200 watts 30 amps. GenerLink™ will not work and can not be installed in homes with an electric service that are rated at more than 200 amps.
During a power outage, GenerLink™ allows you to select the combination of loads you want to operate by simply switching breakers in the household circuit panel. This flexibility makes generator sizing relatively straightforward. Purchase a generator that is powerful enough to run the largest appliances and motors you need during a power outage. You may run other loads in your house by simply turning off the breaker to large usage loads. If your using a hot water heater, for example, turn off this breaker once the water has been heated, and turn on breakers to other loads you want to operate.
To determine what loads you can support with a portable generator, you must look at both the "running watt" and the "starting watt" requirements of the appliances you want to operate. For example, when your furnace motor first starts up, it will require approximately three times more starting watts for a brief 1 to 2 second period than the running watts needs to operate it for extended periods. To assist you in determining what loads you can operate on your portable generator, appliance usage tables have been provided with information on running watts and starting watts for common household appliances. In most instances, you will want to purchase a generator with a continuous rating of 4400 watts to 7200 watts.
Selecting a Generator
There are a wide variety of portable generators that can currently be purchased. Some are more suitable than others for connecting to your house. Generally speaking, many of the lower priced generators are not suitable for connecting to your home. These engine generators do not have sufficient engine durability to power your house during an extended power outage and many have poor power quality output that can damage expensive electronics such as home office equipment, and furnace controls .
To use GenerLink™, you must have a generator that has a four-wire 120/240-Volt outlet with a maximum rating of up to 50 amps and a standard L1420 or L1430 locking or L1450P straight receptacle. These receptacles are most commonly found on portable generators.
When selecting a generator to connect to your house, ensure the generator you select:
will not damage sensitive electronic appliances
provides the capability to start a well pump or other large motor loads
has the necessary four wire 20-amp, 30-amp or 50-amp receptacle required to connect to GenerLink™
As a guide, look for the following characteristics when selecting a generator to connect to GenerLink™:
overhead valves, not side-mounted valves
continuous rating between 4400 and 7200 watts
a peak rating sufficient to start the largest motor you will be running
an automatic voltage regulator with voltage regulation of 5% or less
low oil shut down
strongly consider engine generators that have the capability of using natural gas or propane if these fuel options are available at your house
For a complete list of compatible generators, click here.