Powering appliances 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 - 5 watts to 45 watts
  • Light - 40 watts to 100 watts depending on the wattage is marked on the globe
  • Stereo system - 65 watts
  • Garage door opener - up to 1,400 starting watts
  • Electric frypan - 1,300 watts
  • Coffee maker- 1,750 watts to 2,400 watts
  • Microwave oven - 625 watts to 2,000 watts
  • Television - 40 watts for a 20 inch up to 180 watts for an 80 inch screen
  • Air conditioner - 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 by noting 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. Keep in mind:

  • Appliances with motors like fridges and freezers can use up to ten times their listed wattage when starting up.
  • Your generator should not run continuously at more than 80 per cent of its rated capacity.
  • Extension cords should be used sparingly and only with correct current rating. An ordinary extension cord on a large appliance can cause overheating, leading to damage or fire.