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Generator Power Management - Get more power from a smaller generator

in Helpful Generator Tips on .

Power management is a great way to maximize the efficiency of your generator. Using power management can help you to use a smaller, less expensive generator to meet your needs, Use the generator more efficiently. Power management works because of one simple concept: it is not necessary to power everything at the same time. Switching from one appliance to another will help to minimize the amount of power needed.

Consider:

  • What is most important to power?
  • Does it have to be run continuously?
  • Don't try to run everything at once.

For instance, let's say you are using a generator to power your home. You want to run some lights, a refrigerator, a furnace, a television, and a microwave.


ApplianceStarting WattageRunning Wattage
Refrigerator1600200
Furnace (1/4hp fan)1600600
5 Lights300300
TV300300
Microwave15001500
Total53002900

If you only look at the total watts, you might think you need at 5300 watt generator to power your home. But that's not really the case.

  • Start appliances with high starting wattage requirements at different times.

In our example, if you start the refrigerator and the furnace at separate times, you don't need 3200 watts of power - only 1600.

  • If an appliance is only being used occasionally for short periods, run it by itself.

Turn off the fridge and furnace for a few minutes while you use the microwave - a small tradeoff like this saves you 1500 watts.

  • Consider how willing you are to turn less important appliances off.

If you don't mind turning off the lights and TV, you can use a smaller model. But if you don't want the hassle, opt for a larger generator.

Let's look at our example again.

Continuous Power Need

Running Fridge200
Running Furnace600
5 Lights300
TV300
Total

1400


Occasional Power Need

Starting Fridge1600
Starting Furnace1600
Microwave1500
Max1600
In this case, a 3000 watt generator would be able to run everything easily. And you don't need to sacrifice a thing.

Of course, you can get away with as little as 1600 watts - if you are willing to run the furnace and fridge at separate times, and turn off the TV and lights when you start up one or both of these larger appliances.

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