Can My Backup Generator Power My Ductless HVAC System?

If your power goes out, so does your ductless heating and cooling system. And when it’s really hot or cold outside, this can be a big problem. A backup generator may provide a solution, but only if it has enough wattage to power your ductless HVAC system. Here’s what to know about installing a backup generator for your home or business so you can have reliable comfort even if the electricity goes out.

Calculating The Amount Of Power Your Ductless System Uses

Even though a ductless mini split uses less electricity than central HVAC, it’s still an incredibly high-powered system. The backup generator you have installed needs to be able to accommodate that much electricity if you plan to use it to keep your heating and cooling system on in the event of a power outage. Plus, you need to keep in mind what else is going to draw from the backup generator if your electricity goes out, like your lights, refrigerator, electronics, and other appliances.

Your ductless unit should have a label with the number of BTUs it has. Most systems with one outdoor compressor and one indoor unit will have at least 13,500 BTUs, if not more. The smallest mini split comes from Mitsubishi Electric and is just 6,000 BTUs. The larger your system, the more energy it draws and systems with 2+ indoor units could exceed 30,000 BTUs or more.

Choosing The Right Backup Generator

To choose the right backup generator to run your ductless system, you’ll need to know how many watts you need to operate your mini split. On average, a 13,500 BTU mini split will require 2,900 watts of electricity to start and 1,300 watts to continue running. Just to compare, central HVAC systems use about 24,000 BTUs per hour to cool 1,500 square feet of space, which can result in astronomically high electric bills over time.

Small portable generators can usually only produce a few hundred to 1,000 watts, which isn’t enough to start or operate your system. A whole house generator, on the other hand, can produce between 5,000 and 7,500 watts of power, which is plenty to run your mini split and the rest of your electrical appliances too.

Will I Need A Transfer Switch?

A transfer switch is like a mini circuit breaker that connects your generator to your home’s electrical panel. While it’s possible to run a generator without one, it’s not a good idea – power can back-feed electricity into the grid, which is not only dangerous for people in the home, but also utility workers. If this happens, workers can be seriously injured or even killed.

A transfer switch also allows you to decide which circuits you’re going to power with your backup generator when the electric goes out. For example, you may not want to run your washer and dryer or all your lights, but you might want to have access to your water and internet. You’ll be able to set your transfer switch ahead of time so that when there’s an outage, the systems you’ve selected automatically power on using your generator.    

Get Experienced Electrical & HVAC Help You Can Count On With N.E.T.R., Inc.

Electrical and HVAC problems can be a headache, so preparing for a power outage by investing in a backup generator is a great idea. When you have a whole-house generator, you don’t have to worry about keeping your critical systems running while your electricity is down.

You can keep your house warm or cool in a storm or in the event someone cuts a power line, which is especially important for babies and the elderly. If you have pets or use home medical equipment like a CPAP machine or oxygen, making sure you always have access to power in your house is imperative.

At N.E.T.R., we can help you with all of your home electrical and HVAC needs, so you can rest assured that you’ll have access to everything you need if you have to go without power for any length of time. Our team of veteran Mitsubishi Electric Diamond Elite contractors can provide you with reliable, trustworthy electrical and HVAC services, repair, and installation.

Contact us today to schedule a home visit at (781) 933-6387 and our technicians will come to your home to give you a customized quote. Or, fill out our short online form and we’ll get back in touch with you right away.