Managing Power with Your Standby Generator

When you have a standby generator, there is a need for power management. For instance, a 3-ton central air conditioning unit is going to require around 3500 running watts. If you want to continue running your air conditioning in a power outage in addition to other household items, you need a generator that can handle that and then some.

The following is a rundown of the wattage used by large items that may be used during a power outage:

  • Well pump – 1000 watts
  • Water heater – 4500 watts
  • Refrigerator – 800 watts
  • Freezer – 700 watts
  • Sump pump – 900 watts

Power management allows you to use the items that you need to use. It may require some strategy, but your generator sales representative will listen to your requirements during a power outage and determine which generator will work for you.

What power management does for you is keep you from using too many high-current loads at the same time. This is usually done through an automatic transfer switch that is integrated into a smart controller. Relay modules may also be part of the equation.

The relay allows the controller to turn a load on and off by activating a simple switch. A signal is sent that allows the switch to close or open, which turns the load on or off. Through power monitoring from the generator, the controller is able to decide whether or not a large appliance, such as a dryer or washer, should run or not. This can be referred to as “priority loading.” If power is available, then the load that is the highest priority will operate. Loads with lower priorities will only be added if the power is available.

For example: operating the air conditioner as the main priority may keep the clothes dryer from operating. If air conditioning is not required, then the dryer will start if the power is available. Start delays may be implemented to prevent all of the loads from starting simultaneously, which could overload the generator.

All in all, power management makes generators more efficient when operating the essential circuits within a home.