top of page

Choosing the Best Home Generator to Power Your Air Conditioner During Outages

by: Alternate Power Solutions

When the power goes out during the sweltering summer months, having a reliable generator that can keep your air conditioner running is crucial for maintaining comfort and safety in your home. However, not all generators are created equal, and selecting the right one to power your air conditioner requires careful consideration of various factors. In this blog, we’ll guide you through the process of choosing the best home generator to ensure your air conditioner continues to keep you cool during outages.


1. Understanding Generator Types:

There are primarily two types of generators suitable for home use: portable generators and standby generators.

Portable Generators:

  • These are versatile and can be moved around as needed.

  • They are generally less expensive than standby generators.

  • They require manual setup and connection during an outage.

  • Portable generators can power smaller air conditioning units or essential circuits.

Standby Generators:

  • These are permanently installed and automatically start during a power outage.

  • They provide higher power output and can support larger air conditioning systems.

  • Standby generators are more expensive but offer convenience and reliability.

  • They are ideal for homes needing to power central air conditioning units.


2. Determining Your Air Conditioner's Power Requirements:

Before choosing a generator, you need to know your air conditioner's power requirements. This information can usually be found on the unit’s nameplate or in the user manual.

Look for:

  • The initial power needed to start the air conditioner.

  • The continuous power required to keep the air conditioner running.

Central air conditioners typically require more power than window or portable units. A typical central air conditioner might need 3,000 to 6,000 starting watts and 2,000 to 4,000 running watts. In contrast, a window unit might require around 1,500 starting watts and 1,000 running watts.


3. Choosing the Right Generator Size:

Select a generator that can handle the starting and running wattage of your air conditioner, along with any other essential appliances you plan to power. Here’s a rough guide to generator capacities:

Small Portable Generators (2,000 to 3,500 watts):

  • Suitable for smaller window units or portable air conditioners.

  • Can also power lights, fans, and small appliances.

Medium Portable Generators (4,000 to 8,000 watts):

  • Can handle larger window units or multiple smaller air conditioners.

  • Can also power refrigerators, sump pumps, and additional household appliances.

Large Portable Generators (8,000 to 12,000 watts):

  • Suitable for central air conditioning units and multiple household appliances.

  • Offer flexibility but require careful manual setup and connection.

Standby Generators (10,000 to 20,000+ watts):

  • Ideal for whole-house backup, including central air conditioning systems.

  • Provide automatic power restoration and can support all essential home circuits.


4. Fuel Type Considerations:

Generators run on various fuels, each with its advantages:

  • Gasoline: Common for portable generators; readily available but has a limited shelf life.

  • Propane: Clean-burning and can be stored indefinitely; used by both portable and standby generators.

  • Natural Gas: Convenient for standby generators; provides a continuous fuel supply without the need for refueling.

  • Diesel: Efficient and powerful; typically used for larger, commercial-grade generators.


5. Additional Features to Look For:

When choosing a generator, consider these additional features:

Automatic Transfer Switch (ATS): For standby generators, an ATS automatically switches power from the grid to the generator during an outage, ensuring seamless operation.

Electric Start: Makes starting the generator easier compared to pull-start mechanisms.

Inverter Technology: Provides cleaner power, suitable for sensitive electronics, and operates more quietly.

Noise Level: Consider the generator's noise level, especially if it will be close to living areas


6. Professional Installation and Maintenance:

For standby generators, professional installation is essential to ensure proper connection to your home's electrical system and compliance with local codes. Regular maintenance, including oil changes, filter replacements, and system checks, will keep your generator in optimal condition.



Choosing the right home generator to power your air conditioner involves understanding your unit’s power requirements, selecting an appropriately sized generator, and considering fuel type and additional features. While portable generators offer flexibility and affordability, standby generators provide seamless, high-capacity power suitable for central air conditioning systems. Investing in a reliable generator will ensure your home remains cool and comfortable during summer power outages, safeguarding your family’s comfort and well-being.

By carefully evaluating your needs and options, you can make an informed decision and enjoy peace of mind knowing that you’re prepared for any power disruptions. At Alternate Power Solutionswe offer a wide range of generators to fit every need and budget. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you prepare for the next power outage.

Click the link below for a quote!


Contact us today to learn more!

request free quote


bottom of page