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OT - portable generator?

Sooner EggSooner Egg Posts: 578
edited 12:34PM in Off Topic
with our impending ice storm coming I went out and bought a 5500 watt portable generator....does it seem that it will be overloaded if I run my 40" lcd tv, refrigerator, deep freezer and a lamp or two....i looked on both the refrigerator and freezer and couldn't find wattage ratings anywhere, I know the Sony specs say it uses 220 watts.....just curious if 5500 watts is enough for the other items I mentioned.....thanks in advance for any and all comments


  • If you add up the wattage of all the things you want to run, and the total is less than 5500 watts, you may still have too big of a load for your generator. There is starting watts and running watts. A 75 watt light bulb only pulls 75 watts at both start up and then later on. A freezer, fridge, window unit, etc. pulls between 2 times to 4 times as much when starting up. Also, once you figure out how much your generator can handle, when putting a load on it, plug in the big stuff first, and lastly the items that have the same starting and running wattage. Also, never let the generator run out of gas while a load is on it, supposedly that can cause damage. For around $500 you can convert those type generators from gasoline to natural gas. They run better, and no running out of gas in the middle of the night. Also, no hunting for a gas station that has electricity so they can pump gasoline out of the ground.
  • the box says it is 5500 watts and has starting wattage of 8250 or something........does that make any difference when calculating my wattage use?
  • fishlessmanfishlessman Posts: 23,002
    if thats all your running i think your good to go, look up watt charts. electric furnaces clothes dryers,and water heaters eat up the wattage. fridges and freezers are pretty low, lower than even a coffee maker. what make did you get, i should have bought one last spring and thats about the size the honda dealer was pointing too, at the time i didnt know what my septic lift pump took for wattage
  • it's a Briggs & Stratton, don't know if its any good but I did get the last one, this store and all surrounding stores were sold I feel lucky
  • Yes. You have two numbers to figure. You need to know the starting wattage of everything you plan to run, and how much everything will be pulling after startup. That is the hard part. Most appliances will have a tag with how many amps and volts.
    Volts X amps = watts. But that simply tells you the running watts. Starting watts can be double or quadruple that. A few user's manuals tell you starting watts, but not many do.
    Having said all that, if you add the startup watts for everything you want to run, and it exceeds your generator's startup wattage, that doesn't mean you can't run everything. You won't be plugging everything in at once. You plug one appliance in, it draws the startup load for a few seconds, then it drops down to the running watt level.
    My fridge has a running wattage of about 800, standup freezer about 700. Assuming yours is close to that, if you ran your tv, fridge, freezer, and 2 75 watt lamps you would be pulling a running wattage of about 1850, and a startup wattage of about 6350. Now that 6350 number is not realistic. That is the total startup watts number. And again, you will be starting them up one at a time.
  • Many generators have a sensor that will not let them start if the oil level is not full. The oil level can be just a hair low, still well in the OK range, and they will not start.
  • Grandpas GrubGrandpas Grub Posts: 14,226
    It is important to consider amperage also. When a an appliance starts there is an amperage surge pulled. If the power source is unable to supply that amperage requirement some motors can have problems.

    Compressors on air conditioners are a good example.

    The more you have of cold items in your fridge/freezer the less energy it will take. If a freezer is somewhat empty get some ice in there.

    When power goes out I run the computers/fridge/a light or two on 1000w Honda generator. I do put surge supressors on everything though.

  • Little StevenLittle Steven Posts: 28,817

    I'm not gonna go all technical on you here but you are fine. B)



    Caledon, ON


  • icemncmthicemncmth Posts: 1,160
    in 2007 in OKC...I had a 6500 watt gen..

    I ran the heating systems on 3 houses.. My fridge and freezer and some lights. My neighbors would sometimes plug in their freezers fridges ...I never had a problem.

    It is a honda and ran for a day on 10 gals of gas. Make sure to have plenty of gas on hand but one thing you need to have is a large gauge extension cord. If you use something too small you could burn up a few tings..!
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