.
News Alert
Man with New Family Accused of Killing Old One in …

What is Your Home’s Essential Load?

Before you rush out to buy a generator, do a little math! Here's how to estimate your home's essential load for electric energy.

When your electric utility talks about load, they mean anything that is plugged in and drawing power.  All buildings have a base load, which is all the appliances that run no matter if the building occupant is awake or home or not. Peak load is the energy required to support that building when its appliances are busiest.

But with Sandy’s inflicting such massive and lengthy power outages throughout the lower Hudson Valley, let’s consider a third kind of load, the essential load.  Let’s define the essential load as those few appliances you really wanted to use during the depths of the outage. In other words, your essential load is a fraction of your base load which is a fraction of your peak load.

For most people, that is probably heat for the home, a refrigerator, some lamps, and a way to charge a cell phone or laptop.

If you want to buy a generator, you will need to figure out what size will cover your essential load.  Most portable generators are designed for construction sites to run power tools. These equate to running one room of your home, unless it’s the kitchen, in which case, let’s call it one-half of one room.

Permanent petroleum-based generators are bigger, much more expensive, and can run more stuff, but also use more fuel.

So how do I figure out my essential load? Make a list of your appliances. Multiply the watts each draw by the hours per day it runs to determine the watt-hours per day as the load that appliance represents. Add up all your essential appliances to find your home’s daily essential energy requirement.

Even for smaller homes, the resulting essential load may be close to 5,000 watt-hours (or 5 kilowatt-hours). Note: 1 kilowatt-hour is 1,000 watt-hours and is the energy required (load) when running ten 100 watt bulbs for one hour.

The list below may help you figure out the load size your home represents. This table is one Croton homeowner’s list of essentials for a family of four with two home offices.

Table 1 One family's essential load

 #

Category

AC Appliances

Watts

Hours/Day

Watt hrs/day

1

Refrigerators / Freezers

Refrig/Freezer 20cf 1.8Kwh per day (15 hours)

540

3.33

1798.2

1

Boilers

Oil fired Boiler, Circulation Pump, Ignition, Burner Motor for hot water radiators

 

 

1148.25

5

Lights

Compact Fluorescent 16W (Incandescent: 60 watt equivalent

16

5

400

1

TVs / Electronics

TV 25" Color

400

1

400

1

Other Appliances

Toaster 800-1500W

1500

0.25

375

4

TVs / Electronics

Electric Clock

3

 24

288

1

Computers

Computer Laptop 20-85W

85

3

255

1

Coffee Makers

Coffee Maker

800

0.25

200

1

Microwaves

Microwave 600-1500W

1500

0.08

125

3

Chargers

Cell phone charger

18

1

54

1

TVs / Electronics

VCR / Cable Box

40

1

40

1

Computers

Inkjet printer

25

0.05

1.25

1

Other Appliances

Shaver

15

0.05

0.75

 

 

 

 

Total

5085.45

 

Your essentials list may look different. If you have well-water, the water pump is probably on your essentials list!  The table below lists more appliances with average watt values.

Table 2 Other potential essentials

 #

Category

AC Appliances

Watts

Hours/Day

Watt hrs/day

 

Air Conditioners

Humidifier 13gal

175

 

0

 

Air Conditioners

Window air conditioner, small

660

6

0

 

Air Conditioners

Central AC 10,000 BTU

1500

 

0

 

Air Conditioners

Window air conditioner 21000BTU

3250

 

0

 

Air Conditioners

Central AC 24,000 BTU

3800

 

0

 

Blowers / Pumps

Water Pump 250-500

500

3

0

 

Blowers / Pumps

Furnace Fan Blower- 1/3 hp

700

4

0

 

Blowers / Pumps

well pump, 120vAC, 100 gal/day

1000

0.33

0

 

Coffee Makers

Coffee Pot

200

0.25

0

 

Computers

laser printer

90

0.25

0

 

Computers

Computer Desktop

150

4

0

 

Heaters

Space Heater

1800

 

0

 

Heaters

Heat Pump

4700

 

0

 

Lights

Compact Fluorescent 11W (Incandescent: 40 watt equivalent)

11

 

0

 

Lights

Compact Fluorescent 20W (Incandescent: 75 watt equivalent)

20

 

0

 

Lights

Lights: 100W Incandescent

100

 

0

 

Other Appliances

Vacuum Cleaner Hand

100

 

0

 

Other Appliances

Sewing Machine

100

 

0

 

Other Appliances

food blender or processor

200

0.05

0

 

Other Appliances

Electric Blanket

200

 

0

 

Other Appliances

Vacuum Cleaner Upright 200-700

700

 

0

 

Other Appliances

Iron

1000

 

0

 

Other Appliances

Blow Dryer

1000

 

0

 

Refrigerators / Freezers

DC 4 cu. ft. frig

0

 

0

 

Refrigerators / Freezers

freezer, 10 cu. ft., standard

0

 

0

 

Refrigerators / Freezers

freezer, 7.5 cu. ft, efficient

0

 

0

 

Refrigerators / Freezers

frig, 4 cu. ft

0

 

0

 

Refrigerators / Freezers

Sunfrost 12cf DC (7 hours)

70

 

0

 

Refrigerators / Freezers

Sunfrost 16cf DC (7 hours)

112

 

0

 

Refrigerators / Freezers

Sunfrost Freezer 19cf (10 hours)

112

 

0

 

Refrigerators / Freezers

electric blanket

180

4

0

 

Refrigerators / Freezers

Freezer 14cf (14 hours)

350

 

0

 

Refrigerators / Freezers

Freezer 14cf (15 hours)

440

 

0

 

Refrigerators / Freezers

Refrig/Freezer 16cf 1.6Kwh per day (13 hours)

475

3.33

0

 

Refrigerators / Freezers

frig/freezer, standard (for an emergency)

1200

1.6

0

 

Room Fans

ceiling fan, DC

15

6

0

 

Room Fans

Table Fan 10-25W

25

 

0

 

Room Fans

Ceiling Fan 10-50W

50

 

0

0

Room Fans

ceiling fan, AC

60

6

0

 

Stoves / Ovens

Hot Plate

1200

 

0

0

Stoves / Ovens

Electric Stove per 8" element

2100

0.25

0

 

Tools

1/4" Drill

250

 

0

 

Tools

1/2" Drill

750

 

0

 

Tools

7-1/4" Circular Saw

900

 

0

 

Tools

1" Drill

1000

 

0

 

Tools

3" Belt Sander

1000

 

0

 

Tools

12" Chain Saw

1100

 

0

 

Tools

14" Band Saw

1100

 

0

 

Tools

9" Disc Sander

1200

 

0

 

Tools

8-1/4" Circular Saw

1400

 

0

 

TVs / Electronics

Clock Radio

1

 

0

TVs / Electronics

CB Radio

5

 

0

 

TVs / Electronics

satellite TV receiver (on switched outlet)

20

3

0

 

TVs / Electronics

1TV 2" B&W

20

 

0

 

TVs / Electronics

Stereo 10-30W

30

 

0

 

TVs / Electronics

Satellite Dish

30

 

0

 

TVs / Electronics

CD Player

35

 

0

 

TVs / Electronics

stereo system

40

 

0

 

TVs / Electronics

TV 19" Color

70

 

0

 

TVs / Electronics

TV, 19", color

85

 

0

 

Washers / Dryers

clothes washer, Staber

200

0.75

0

 

Washers / Dryers

Washing Machine Manual

300

1

0

 

Washers / Dryers

Cloths Dryer Electric

400

1

0

 

Washers / Dryers

Cloths Dryer Gas heated 300-400W

400

1

0

 

Washers / Dryers

Washing Machine Automatic

500

1

0

 

Washers / Dryers

clothes washer, standard

700

0.75

0

Before you rush out to buy a generator, do a little math! 

 

Note: The values for watts per appliance in table are averages, and therefore estimates. For example, refrigerators can and do vary widely in their energy loads. Double check these average watts against your appliance manuals and consult with your electrician! 

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Area Man November 20, 2012 at 05:16 PM
Bob, I have been looking into the smaller (7kw) diesel generators. There is some debate whether they can be run on heating oil due to the lubricating properties and the presence of kerosene. I have also been advised that these units, being air cooled single cylinder, should not be run continuously. Only 5-6 hours at a stretch. And the ones that are touted as "quiet" really aren't.
Bob Rohr November 20, 2012 at 05:58 PM
Area, there is no difference in either fuel. They have a different coloring so that 18 wheeler drivers can have their tanks examined on the road and fined for using home heatng oil. Since Diesel fuel is taxed. 5-6 hours is pretty good, and if you have a cold day it will cool down fast. The noise would not bother me, freezing in the dark and spoiled food does.
creator November 20, 2012 at 07:16 PM
10 years ago all generators were requiring high delivery pressure. As of now there is a generators that works on regular pressure. Check your model.
Leo Wiegman November 23, 2012 at 02:22 PM
@Bob Rohr: I agree that using the fuel that is already delivered to your home or business is wise. I strongly recommend NOT siphoning heating oil (#2 oil) from your home's tank to use in your diesel generator. Yes, the fuels are compatible, siphoning under emergency conditions is a recipe for inducing an oil spill. Consider the following when shopping for a fossil-fuel generator: -Maintenance: What are the weekly or monthly run times required? Is lubricant required? Air filters? -Fuel: What is my personal capacity or tolerance for storing this fuel (for gasoline, propane, or diesel) or regulating its pressure and volume (for natural gas)? -Emissions: What is my personal tolerance for the resulting air pollution? (At minimum, this involves staging your generator the appropriate distance from your building (Hint: 5 feet is NOT enough!)? -Noise: What is my personal tolerance for the resulting noise? (At minimum, compare the projected decibel levels from the generators specifications with the noise ordinance levels in your town.) The biggest, most expensive natural gas generators are quieter than the lower priced portables. The most common portable gasoline generators can be deafening. There's more to consider. I'll make this week's upcoming column about this topic to keep the conversation going.
Leo Wiegman December 01, 2012 at 11:55 PM
Here is information about a back up generator alternative that never needs fuel and has no moving parts .http://ossining.patch.com/blog_posts/what-if-your-generator-never-needed-fuel

Boards

More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something
See more »