Running appliances during a Power Outage

by Allan   Last Updated July 12, 2018 00:21 AM

My parents are elderly and live in an older house, late 50's. Their house is a ranch style about 1,250 square feet with a full basement.

They have a sump pump in their house and when it storms and power is lost they get water in their basement. When we were all younger we use to haul buckets of water up their basement stairs and dump outside. Carrying water up the stairs is no longer an option.

I know there is a sump pump that can be installed with a battery backup but my dad is wanting to power beyond the sump pump as last time when power was lost it was out for a few days. Therefore, he is wanting to generate power to run freezer, refrigerator, sump pump and a few lights. He is considering buying a gas generator and plugging it into an electric outlet in his house. I know nothing about electricity and concerned about their safety.

Can this be done? Is this safe? What must we know/do to help ensure this is safely handled.

How do we calculate how big of generator is necessary to operate these items AND we need to consider start up draw for these items because I understand that is higher than just normal running. Any suggestions on size of generator?

If this is possible, in the winter if power is lost due to an ice storm, could the furnace be connected to the generator for heat?

Thanks in advance for your time and information.



Answers 1


Installing equipment to provide residential backup electric power is a thriving industry in the US. An internal combustion engine/generator combination automatically takes over when the grid goes down. Some of the engines are diesel, some run on natural gas. Ain't cheap though!

Jim Stewart
Jim Stewart
July 11, 2018 23:52 PM

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