Will a 20kW Generator Run My House?

Power generators provide homeowners energy independence and peace of mind during an energy emergency. Power generators are categorized according to their features and the amount of power they produce, measured in kilowatts (kW).

Homeowners that live in areas with frequent inclement weather may be interested in energy independence to prevent the disruption of their daily life. 

Most homeowners opt for a 20kW generator because of its economical price. A 20kW generator produces more than enough power for the average home. 

The peace of mind that a backup power system can provide is a worthwhile investment for many homeowners.

Best 22kW Generator

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  • Up to whole house protection with the 200 Amp, NEMA 3R (aluminum outdoor enclosure) smart switch
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How Much Will a 20kW Generator Power?

A 20kW generator will power most homes that are 2500 square feet or less. A 20kW generator is capable of powering most common household appliances but may experience difficulties when powering multiple energy-demanding appliances at once.

A 20kW generator can simultaneously power house lights, a refrigerator and freezer, and a handful of other household appliances, like televisions or stereos.

Important Information for Homes With Electric Elements

With electric cooking or heating elements, homeowners can power their amenities with a 20kW generator. In power outage emergency cases, this means making sure that people don’t shower and cook simultaneously.

Homeowners with electric cooking or heating elements should expect to run fewer household appliances like TVs and kitchen appliances off of their 20kW generator.

Generac Generator In A Yard
Will A 20Kw Generator Run My House? 4

Will a 20kW Generator Run My House?

A 20kW generator can run most houses that are 2500 square feet or less. The average 2500 square foot household consumes approximately 12kW daily, which means that a 20kW generator can comfortably power most average-sized homes.

Homeowners considering purchasing a 20kW generator should know that generators experience a power drop as they run.

What Is a Power Drop?

A power drop is a reduction in a generator’s power output.

Generators rated at 20kW can produce 20kWs during a peak in energy demand but are designed to run at a lower wattage, somewhere between 10kW and 15kW.

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How To Determine if a 20kW Generator Will Power Your Home

Consult your last electric energy bill to determine if a 20kW generator can power your house.

Locate the number of kilowatts consumed on your energy bill. If your monthly energy consumption is below 15kW, a 20kW generator will run your home

If you consumed more than 20kWs last month, consider the purchase of a larger generator. Alternatively, homeowners may consider reducing energy consumption where possible.

Ways To Reduce Energy Consumption

  • Unplug appliances when not in use
  • Utilize natural light whenever possible
  • Weatherize your home
  • Purchase energy-efficient appliances

How Big of a House Will a 20kW Generator Power?

How much energy you consume determines whether or not a 20kW generator will power your home.

On average, a 20kW generator can power a 2,500 square foot house that consumes an average of 12,000kWs. For reference sake, the average-sized house in America is around 2,000 square feet.

Homeowners with particularly high power needs, such as homeowners who lack gas-powered appliances or that utilize life support equipment, may require more power generation than a 20kW generator can provide and should consider generators with higher wattage ratings.

How Many Amps Can a 20kW Generator Handle?

A 20kW generator can handle 90 amps on a 220-volt wired system and 83 amps on a 240-volt wired system. Although a 20kW generator can handle between 83 to 90 amps, it will run more efficiently at a reduced load. A reduced load will permit a longer run time between fuelings.

Note: Depending on where you live, the type of energy your home uses may be listed on your energy bill.

What Is a Reduced Load?

A reduced load refers to how hard your generator is working. A 20kW generator producing 10kW is said to be running at a 50% load. Most generators are designed to be run between a 50% and 75% load.

How Much Does It Cost To Install a Generac 22kW Generator?

The average cost to install a 22kW Generac generator is $5,000, although prices vary according to geographic location.

The price to install a Generac 22kW generator is high because the installation process requires electrical wiring to connect your home’s power system to the generator unit. 

Backup generator installation also requires an automatic throw switch, which increases installation costs. An automatic throw switch will automatically power on your generator in a power outage.

Is It Worth the Money?

Although it isn’t cheap, installing a standby generator is more convenient than hauling out a portable power generator in a power outage.

Standby generators are designed to kick on in a power outage automatically and are wired to your home’s power system, which means that all of your appliances will already be wired to run. 

Specific generators, such as Generac’s 20kW generator, also offer overload prevention features typically absent on portable generators.

How Big Is a 20kW Generator?

20kW generators are compact, typically no larger than 48 inches in any given dimension. 

For example, a 20kW Generac generator is twenty-nine inches tall, twenty-five inches wide, and forty-eight inches long. 20kW generator dimensions vary by brand but are similar to the dimensions of Generac generators.

Despite their compact dimensions, 20kW generators are heavy, especially standby units. The average standby 20kW generator weighs 480 pounds. Given the weight of 20kW generators, they are often installed in a secure, permanent location at the rear of a house.

How Much Horsepower Does It Take To Run a 20kW Generator?

On average, it takes 36 horsepower to run a 20kW generator—note that this is an estimation and refers to 20kW generators operating below their peak load capabilities.

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As a general rule of thumb, it takes two horsepower to produce one kilowatt of energy, but power efficiency varies by brand.

Note: Generators capable of producing and sustaining high peak wattage will require more horsepower to run.

How Many Amps Is a 20kW Generator?

A 20kW generator produces 83 amps on a 240-volt power system and 90 amps on a 220-volt system. Most residential homes have electrical wiring that is 220 or 240 volts.

Amps or amperes measure the amplitude of an electric current, and Amps multiplied by volts equals watts. In other words, amps determine the type of appliances you can run on a 20kW generator.

For example, an average refrigerator uses three to five amps, so a 20kW generator wired to a 220-volt power system could power 18 to 30 refrigerators.

How Much Does a 20kW Generac Generator Weigh?

A 20kW Generac generator weighs 466 pounds.

At 466 pounds, a Generac generator should be installed in a safe, secure location where the unit can remain undisturbed by visitors or native fauna. Generac generators are semi-permanent installations, often installed on the side or back of a house.

We recommend using a lift gate to transport a 20kW Generac generator. If you don’t have a lift gate, consider renting one or opting for a professional installation package.

What Comes With Professional Installation?

Most Generac generator retailers offer installation services for a moderate price, typically between $1,000 and $5,000. 

Most installation services include:

  • Transporting a generator.
  • Installing the unit and related accessories.
  • The peace of mind of a correctly completed job.

How Much Does a Cummins 20kW Generator Cost?

A Cummins 20kW generator costs between $4,700 and $4,900. In addition to the generator unit, a standby generator power system also requires an automatic transfer switch (to activate the generator during a power outage) and fuel storage.

Standby generators may also require professional installation depending on your comfortability with electrical wiring. Altogether the price of a Cummins 20kW generator is between $6,500 and $10,000.

Cummins Vs. Competitors

Cummins generators are moderately more expensive than other generator brands, such as Generac. 

In general, the installation and fuel storage costs associated with backup power systems are consistent across the various generator brands.

How Long Will a 20kW Generator Last?

20kW generators last 20 to 40 years.

 A 20kW generator’s life expectancy depends on how often it is used and how well it is maintained. A generator ran once a week and is regularly maintained will likely last for many years.

Which Is Better, Cummins or Generac?

Cummins is better than Generac—at least where durability and maintenance are concerned.

Generac generators have experienced a spike in popularity because of their economical price. Generac 20kW generators are priced more economically than Cummins 20kW generators and provide almost identical benefits. So why wouldn’t you purchase a Generac generator?

The Proof

Customer reviews and other social proofs show that Generac generators wear out more quickly than Cummins generators. 

Generac generators tend to require more maintenance over the lifetime of a unit which can increase the total cost of a backup power system over time.

That is not to say that Generac produces a bad 20kW generator. The opposite is true: Generac generators perform various desirable functions at a competitive price.

What It Comes Down To

Consider saving a few hundred dollars by purchasing a Generac generator if you live in an area where your 20kW generator won’t see much use. If you live in an area with an unreliable power system, consider the purchase of a durable Cummins generator.

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How Much Does It Cost To Run a 20kW Natural Gas Generator?

It costs $3/hour to run a 20kW natural gas generator.

On average, it costs between two to four dollars an hour to run a 20kW natural gas generator. 

As the name suggests, natural gas generators are subject to natural gas price fluctuations. If the price of natural gas goes up, so too will the cost of operating your natural gas generator.

If you are worried about fluctuations in fuel price, consider the purchase of a dual fuel generator capable of running on either diesel or natural gas. Dual fuel generators give owners the flexibility of filling their generators with their preferred fuel.

Best 22kW Generator

Generac 70432 Home Standby Generator Guardian Series 22Kw/19.5Kw Air Cooled With...
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Generac 70432 Home Standby Generator Guardian Series 22kW/19.5kW Air Cooled with...
  • Up to whole house protection with the 200 Amp, NEMA 3R (aluminum outdoor enclosure) smart switch
  • Smart, User-friendly controls; Generac evolution controller features a multilingual LCD display that allows you to Monitor Battery status and...
  • 240 volts supply

20kW Generator FAQs

Here are some quick answers to common questions about 20kW generators.

Will a 20kW generator power my home?

A 20kW generator will power a home that consumes 12kW or less per month.

Homeowners that consume more than 12kW per month may consider the purchase of a larger generator to meet their power generation needs.

How much can a 20kW generator power?

A 20kW generator can power a 2500 square foot home that consumes 12kW to 15kW. 

In terms of appliances, this means 20kW generators can power kitchen and home appliances such as lights, TVs, and refrigerators.

If your home has electric heating or cooling elements, your 20kW generator may struggle to run household appliances while the house is being heated or cooled or when people are cooking. 

In general, homes without gas power can expect to run fewer household appliances with their 20kW generator.

What are the best 20kW generators?

Two of the best 20kW generators available are the 20kW Generac Guardian 3 Phase 208V Automatic Standby Generator and the Cummins RS20A 20kW Quiet Connect Home Standby Generator.

Generac and Cummins are two trusted names in the generator industry. Their 20kW standby generators are durable and reliable, providing homeowners with peace of mind during energy emergencies.

The Generac and Cummins 20kW generators are comparable in size, energy output, and weight. 

Note: The Generac unit is cheaper than the Cummins unit but, on average, requires more maintenance.

What type of fuel do 20kW generators use?

20kW generators run on various fuels, including natural gas, propane, diesel, and gasoline.

Natural gas and propane are preferred fuels for standby generators, as they do not degrade as quickly as diesel and gasoline. Natural gas and propane also burn more cleanly, emitting fewer fumes and exhaust.

In general, diesel and gasoline 20kW generators produce higher peak watts for a longer amount of time than their natural gas and propane-powered counterparts.

Be sure to check the fuel requirements of a 20kW generator before committing to a purchase, as fuel availability may influence what generator you choose to purchase.

How much will a 20kW generator cost me?

A 20kW generator costs about $5,000. Installation prices for 20kW generators vary by region but are typically between $3000 and $5000. 20kW generators cost about $3/hour to run and require motor oil to run, which costs about $11 to $30.