Can A Portable Generator Run A Boiler: What You Need To Know

Last Updated on August 2, 2020 by Matt

how many watts does a boiler use

The last thing you want to deal with in the winter is a black out that could render your boiler useless.

Without a functioning boiler, you will be stuck without a heating source, and in the middle of winter, this could be devastating to your and your family.

Having a backup power source, such as a portable generator, can get your furnace powered back up quickly.

How many watts does a boiler use?

Before running out and buying the first generator that you see, it is important to figure out how many watts your boiler needs to run.

This will allow you to find a generator that can power the boiler easily and if needed, power other accessories safely.

Now that you know just how many watts you need, you can start doing your research on the perfect generator.

Most standard household boilers operate at 1500-2000 watts depending on the size of the boiler.

Some larger homes may have multiple boilers.
I know how this can be a little confusing, so I am going to break it down for you to help you better understand exactly how to figure out your wattage needs.

If your boiler operates at 1500 watts, you will need a generator that is rated at 1500 running watts or more.

I suggest getting one that has a little more running watts than what you need, just in case you need it.

In most cases, I have seen homeowners go with 500-1000 watts over what they need to help power smaller appliances while keeping their boiler running at all times.

Starting Watts VS Running Watts

While researching generators, you are going to notice that there are two different ratings, starting watts and running watts.

Although the terms basically define them, I am going to go into a little bit of detail on each to give you a better understanding of how important it is to know what you are buying.

Running watts, also known as rated watts, are the most popular metric used to measure a generator’s output.

This is the maximum number of watts that the generator can produce to keep your appliance running.

For example, if you have a 2000 watt boiler, you are going to need at least a 2000 watt rated generator to keep it running.

Starting watts, a wattage that is always greater than the rated watts, is the number of watts that a generator can produce for the few seconds to start appliances.

Wattage demands go up when starting motor-driven products such as a refrigerator or large tools.

This is the largest amount of wattage a generator can produce, but it cannot constantly run at this wattage.

Average Boiler Wattage?

electric water boiler in a garage

Due to the various size boilers on the market, it is hard to know exactly which generator is best for you without looking at your exact boiler specs.

As discussed earlier, most homes with a small sized single boiler system operate in the 1500-2000 watt area.

To find out exactly what you need, check your boiler for a manufacturer tag or look up your model number online to get the exact wattage demands.

Spend a little extra time researching if you need to as incorrect guesses could be a costly mistake.

Two Portable Generators For Small Boilers

To adequately power your boiler through your next power outage, you are going to need a portable generator that can keep up with the demand.

Here are two good options:

1. Honda EU2200i Inverter (Starting watts 2200, Running 1800)

With the average boiler needing about 1500-2000 watts, this Honda EU2200i delivers just that plus more!

This is crucial when trying to power more than just your boiler.

Since you will most likely be having to grab this generator and go in a hurry, the integrated handle and lightweight construction are great features to consider on this Honda generator.

Honda EU2200i 2200-Watt 120-Volt Super Quiet Portable Inverter Generator
  • This popular model can operate a wide variety of appliances, making it perfect for portable use at home, camping, on the job site, or much more. Reliable Power is now at your fingertips with Honda's Inverted Generators.
  • So quiet, your neighbors will thank you. The EU2200i operates at 48 to 57 dBA, which is less noise than a normal conversation. This makes it ideal for camping, supplemental RV power and any other activity that requires quiet operation.
  • Add a second EU2200i for additional power. Two identical models can be paralleled with an optional cable or cord for up to 4400 watts of power, or time-consuming applications.

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The easy to use control panel also makes for a quick and easy setup.

One of the biggest factors when looking for a portable generator is noise level.

Due to the boiler location, you will most likely be having to take into account the noise of the generator for both you and your neighbors.

At only 48-57 dBa, you can rest assure that this will be one of the quietest you can get.

2. Westinghouse iGen2200

In the same power range as the Honda EU2200i, Westinghouse provides a generator that is also great for powering a boiler with their iGen2200 inverter generator.

With 2200 starting watts and 1800 running watts, you should have more than enough power output for boilers in the 1500 watt range.

This leaves you with the capabilities of powering other appliances at the same time.

Westinghouse iGen2200 Portable Inverter Generator 1800 Rated & 2200 Peak Watts, Gas Powered, CARB Compliant
  • Great Choice for Home Use as an Emergency Backup in a Power Outage – Strong Enough to Run Most Home Essentials
  • Product dimensions – 19.8" L x 11.4” W x 17.9" H | Engine displacement – 80 cc | Voltage – 120V | Start type – Recoil | Noise level – 52 dBA | Run time @ 25% - 12 hrs. | Oil capacity – 11.8 oz.
  • 1800 Rated Watts and 2200 Peak Watts at Less Than 3% THD - Weighs Only 46 Lbs. - Gas Powered - Two 120V 20 Amp Outlets, Two USB Outlets

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igen 2200 generator from westinghouse powered up

Needing to use this generator near other homes? No problem!

The 52 dBa noise level is a customer favorite feature as it is very neighborhood friendly.

With a large 1.2 gallon tank, the iGen2200 is capable of running for up to 12 hours at 25% load.

Of course, with a boiler, you will be using more than likely about 80% load where running time will decrease.

This generator does come equipped with an efficiency mode that can be turned on for maximum fuel efficiency.

Many Boilers Require More Watts
Depending on the type and size of your boiler, you might need more power. It is not uncommon for electric water heaters to un in the 5,000 or even 10,000 watts range. You can find a selection of generators around 5,000 watts here and 10,000 watts here


Keeping you and your family safe and warm is priority number one during a blackout or natural disaster.

Having the right equipment to do so ahead of time is key.
A boiler can easily be powered by a portable generator as long as you take the proper precautions on getting the correct size generator and getting is safely hooked up.

Always remember to check the wattage demands of your boiler and the wattage specifications of the generator you are wanting to use to avoid any potential injury.

Let me know in the comments if you have any questions about powering a boiler with a portable generator!

Last update on 2020-10-19 Affiliate links & images from Amazon Product Advertising API

One comment

  1. I have a 2000w inverter generator I calculate my oil fired hot water furnace draws about 1400 watts, 12a times 115v can this generator run this furnace

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