You must be aware of how powerful a generator you need. So often, people buy what’s available and affordable, hoping that it will do the job. This is a recipe for disaster. You should be aware of the thing that you are buying.
Good for us, calculating the power of a generator is not very difficult. In this article, we are going to help you learn this simple process. Afterward, you can compare it to the appliances you want to run on it. If a generator does not fulfill your need, you will skip it for the right one.
So, without further ado, let’s get to it.
Identify The Appliances You Want to Power
Not everyone wants to power all the appliances in their homes. Some want to power the one or two that are very essential. For example, an Ice selling business would only want to power their freezers. While for a cryptocurrency mining business, their processors need 24/7 charging.
While it is a good practice to power only the essentials, some can’t afford to stay within that kind of limitation. Take, for example, a luxury hotel. Its customers pay for the higher-end services and cannot be wooed by such excuses. They want the ACs, the TVs, and everything else to work just as they should. There are many other situations like these, such as offices, airports, etc.
Generators come in all sizes and capacities, but it’s your budget that decides. If you have a higher budget, good for you. If not, you will have to reduce your appliances. No matter what your need is, identify those appliances and list them down.
Find Out Your Required Wattage
Every appliance has its watts written either on its label or somewhere on its body. Don’t worry if it’s not because we are going to list them all down for you. But before we do, we want to define running and startup wattages.
Running wattage is the power of energy used when an appliance is working. Startup wattage is also or otherwise known as Surge wattage. It means the peak power that an apparatus extracts when it starts. The startup wattage remains for a few minutes or seconds in some cases. Still, it is crucial when discussing the need for some appliances. (How Big of a Generator Do I Need to Run My Whole House? 2018)
One example of startup wattage is the turning on of a refrigerator. When a refrigerator turns on, it extracts more power for the first 10-15 minutes. Notice the sound your refrigerator makes for the first few minutes of its starting. After those few starting minutes, it reduces its power consumption. It then runs on the same wattage until turned off. The same could be noticed for air conditioners.
Now with that confusion out of the way, let’s see the wattage of some of our household appliances.
|Appliance||Running Wattage||Startup Wattage|
|Room Air Conditioner||1312||0|
|Central Air Conditioner||5400||7200|
|Laptop Computer (Home/RV/Camping/Tailgate)||75||0|
|Cell phone battery charger||10||0|
|Food Processor/Blender (RV/ Camping/Tailgate)||350||500|
These are the appliances usually used in homes and offices on generators. If you didn’t find the wattage of the devices on your list, you could easily do so with a quick Google search.
- After finding the wattage of your listed appliances, write it down in front of them.
- Out of the two values for each device, select whichever is greater.
- You will probably have more than one of a particular appliance. Multiply the wattage by the number of that appliance that you have.
- Then add them all, and you will have a total number.
Compare Your Total Wattage To The Generators Available In The Market
Once you have the total wattage, you need your generator to provide it. The next step is easy. Find a generator that has a bit more wattage than you need. It’s better to have a bigger one to compensate for future needs.
You will find generators of all sizes, some big enough to power factories. Yet, you need to keep your budget in mind. The bigger the generator, the more that it costs. This includes installation costs, fuel costs, and maintenance costs. All these will increase if you buy a more powerful AC generator.
If the term KW mentioned on some generators and appliances confuses you, don’t be. KW means one thousand watts. Add that while you are doing your calculations.
If You Already Own An AC Generator
If you already own an AC generator, your process isn’t going to be very different. You will need to list the appliances in the similar order that we’ve mentioned above. After doing the summation discussed above, you will compare the resulting value to your generator’s wattage.
The only difference, in this case, would be that you are limited to the wattage of your AC generator. So, if your total value exceeds that of your generator, you will have to remove some appliances. You can start with the least required ones.
After subtracting your least desired appliances on the list, you have to redo the summation of all the wattages. Once that is done, compare it to your generator’s value. If it is within that limit, good. If not, then you will have to further reduce some appliances. Keep doing this until your appliances’ wattage is within the boundary of your generators.
Things To Keep In Mind While Selecting And Using An AC Generator
- Do not exceed the mentioned capacity of the generator. You might feel compelled to load more appliances but don’t. Otherwise, along with your generator malfunctioning, your devices might also wear out.
- Grounding or earthing your generator is good prevention against accidental shocks.
- It’s considered an excellent standard procedure to plug more significant devices first. This ensures that the power capacity is not exceeded at once. With small devices being connected gradually, you can notice how much capacity remains.
- Keep your extension cords connected to the generator in mind. The farther the machine and generator, the longer and thicker line you are going to need.
- Keep your generator in a dry and everyday environment. Moisture is damaging to the capacity and life of a generator. If you are keeping it outdoors, make sure it has a cover above it. (Choosing a Generator: Which Size Is Right? 2019)
- Don’t even think about running all your appliances on a generator by connecting it to a wall socket. This practice is called “back feeding,” a hazardous action. It can cause excessive power to pass through the circuit protection devices. Resultantly damaging your appliances.
- While the idea of a portable generator seems interesting, it’s not so pleasing in reality. Stationary generators are always better than portable generators. The only time you should go with a portable generator is when you are camping or working offsite.
That’s all we had to say about the appliances that you can run on your AC generator. Remember, a generator’s physical dimension does not matter unless the capacity changes with it. Some brands increase the size of their generators to make them seem bigger. Thus, you should only keep their abilities in mind when comparing them.
If you are a guy who doesn’t like maths, even these simple calculations mentioned might seem too tedious for you. But remember, doing this simple exercise will save you a lot of trouble moving ahead.