How Much Juice Do You Need to Produce?

The chart below shows how many watts of electricity it takes to run various household appliances. Also listed are the number of watts needed to start up appliances that have motors. When using any generator for emergency power, be sure that the total running watts and starting watts of all the appliances being used at one time doesn't exceed the design maximum.

However, the total number of watts (running and starting) hooked up to the transfer switch can exceed this limit; you just won't be able to use all the appliances at the same time. For example, powering a 3,000W electric water heater with a 5,000W generator leaves you barely enough juice to run your coffeemaker. And remember, an 800W refrigerator will require an additional 2,300 watts each time the compressor kicks on.

Coffeemaker: 1,750 running watts, add 0 watts for starting
Freezer: 500 running watts, add 750 watts for starting
Furnace (1/4-hp fan): 600 running watts, add 1,000 watts for starting
Furnace (1/2-hp fan): 875 running watts, add 2,350 watts for starting
Lights: running watts are printed on bulb, add 0 watts for starting
Microwave Oven: 600-1,500 running watts, add 0 watts for starting
Refrigerator: 800 running watts, add 2,300 watts for starting
Room Air Conditioner: 2,000 running watts, add 6,000 watts for starting
Security System: 100-500 running watts, add 0 watts for starting
Space Heater: 1,100-1,500 running watts, add 0 watts for starting
Sump Pump: 800-1,050 running watts, add 1,300-2,500 watts for starting
TV/VCR: 400 running watts, add 0 watts for starting
Water Heater (electric): 3,000 running watts, add 3,000 watts for starting
Water Heater (gas): 500 running watts, add 1,500 watts for starting
Well Pump (1/2 hp): 1,000 running watts, add 2,100 watts for starting

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