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Powering appliances safely with generators

Appliance power needs

Appliances have different wattage or power needs.

For example:

  • Refrigerator or freezer around 1,800 starting watts, 180 watts normal running
  • Portable radio uses 5 watts to 45 watts
  • Light uses 40 watts to 100 watts depending on the wattage is marked on the globe
  • Stereo system uses 65 watts
  • Garage door opener uses up to 1,400 starting watts
  • Electric frypan uses 1,300 watts
  • Coffee maker uses 1,750 watts to 2,400 watts
  • Microwave oven uses 625 watts to 2,000 watts
  • Television uses 40 watts for a 20 inch up to 180 watts for an 80 inch screen
  • Air conditioner uses up to 8,000 starting watts for small window mount unit and 1200 watts normal running with up to 30,000 starting watts for a large split system and 6,000 watts normal running.

Electrical overload

Avoid electrical overload. Note the power loading of wattage rating marked on the nameplate of your appliances.

Add up all the wattage values of items you want to connect to the generator. The total will be the power load requirements your generator will need to supply.

Starting appliances

Appliances with motors like fridges and freezers can use up to ten times their listed wattage when starting up so factor that in.

Remember that your generator should not run continuously at more than 80 percent of its rated capacity.

Extension cords

Use extension cords sparingly and only with correct current rating. An ordinary extension cord on a large appliance can cause overheating, leading to damage or even fire.

Last updated
12 September 2019

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