Can I use a portable generator to power my HVAC?

Power outages can happen at any time. Whether they are caused by a strained power grid or a disgruntled computer hacker, blackouts can leave your family in an uncomfortable situation.

If you’ve thought about whether or not it’s possible to power your HVAC with a portable generator, you’re not alone. As one of the leading HVAC companies in Charlotte NC, we get this question a lot. We’re glad to inform you that you can power your HVAC with a portable generator. Here are some things that you need to consider for this type of Charlotte heating and air conditioning (AC) setup.

How Portable Generators Power HVAC Systems

Running your HVAC system isn’t just a matter of comfort. Your HVAC unit helps to keep humidity levels in your home in check. It also contributes to adequate indoor air quality. To get uninterrupted HVAC service during a power outage, you’ll need to rewire your system, install an extra outlet at your circuit breaker, and install an automatic transfer switch. Plug in your generator, which can reside indoors or outside. These activities are best done by a Charlotte heating and air technician.

Power Requirements for Your Generator

If you’ve decided to get a portable generator to mitigate the risk of power outages, the chances are high that you need your generator to operate multiple appliances in addition to your furnace or AC unit. You’ll need to find out how many watts of energy that your furnace or AC unit uses to keep your home comfortable for a predetermined amount of time. Add up the amount of watts that your other critical appliances need. Find a generator that can produce the amount of power that you need. According to industry analysts at New Day Practical Energy, the average central AC unit uses 5,000 watts to cool a home for 9 hours.

Consider the Fuel Source

Today’s portable generators run on a variety of fuels. You’ll want to choose a generator that uses a fuel source that’s readily available in your area. Most generators that produce enough power to run HVAC units use fuel sources such as propane, natural gas, and gasoline.

While the prospect of using a portable solar-powered generator to run your HVAC unit may be exciting, reliable HVAC companies in Charlotte NC will tell you that most portable solar-powered generators aren’t powerful enough yet to run an AC unit.


Technology has transformed every industry, and ours is no exception. Many of today’s generators come with features that allow for smart power control. They use AC power control modules that monitor your home’s circuits and turn off lower priority circuits in favor of powering your HVAC system during power outages.

When considering a portable generator to power your HVAC unit, you don’t need to guess about the size, type, and connection protocols that you need for your home. Call us to get started. Our team of expert electricians and HVAC technicians will point you in the right direction for portable power generation as well as AC repair in Charlotte NC.

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