OT??? What size generator for fridge etc.

looony2nzFebruary 21, 2006

Hi, sorry I couldn't find any better area to post this.

We live in S. florida, home of the ever increasing threat of hurricanes , hence, power outages. I can't afford a big generator run my a/c, but would settle for one that would run my fridge and maybe the stove at the most. Fridge mainly and maybe a fan.

What size generator would run a fridge.

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Since a refrigerator/freezer does not have to be run continuously, it would be possible to use a generator with only enough capacity to operate the fridge. However, if you do this, you will have to unplug the fridge for an hour or so when you choose to operate any other appliance.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2006 at 10:08AM
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Generators are rated by their output wattage.

The best way to determine the minimum size of generator you would need would be to begin by computing the total wattage load for all the lights and appliances you would like to operate. The problem here is that many appliances do not give you a specific wattage load value.

If the specific wattage load is not listed, you can mathematically compute it by checking the appliance data plate and finding both the voltage and amperage rating for the device. To determine Wattage you multiply the volts x Amps.

By example, Let us assume for the moment that you checked an appliance data plate and found the following information:

120V 3Amps

Multiplying 120V x 3A equals 360watts.

Keep in mind that an electric motor draws a momentary starting current that is approximately 3 times its run current.

Most generators will tolerate operating at full load for a short time and some will even handle a momentary draw in excess of the rated load but they cannot sustain it for any appreciable length of time. When selecting a generator it is best to begin by determining your anticipated load, then select a generator that will provide enough output that the anticipated load is approximately 60% to 70% of the generators Maximum rating.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2006 at 11:11AM
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An average refrigerator will surge at around 1440 watts (12 amps on 120v) and then ebb to around 960 watts (8 amps on 120v) Some refrig. use more, some use less. Defrost heaters and fans help determine this.

Let me make a suggestion preceded by a story. During the hurricane season when Fla. was hit hard, I loaded up generators (3 4,000 watt gasoline, 4 12,000 watt propane) water, gasoline, diesel fuel, Propane, front end loaders, chain saws and manpower. We were offering FREE help to people who needed it. FEMA would not refer us to individuals who needed help and a very large egoed Sherrif in one town police station where we stopped to offer help pretty much told us they don't need our help and the best thing for us was to leave. Now mind you, we were staying with a Mayor of one of the towns (who was not hit hard and was in an upscale area), who asked me for help. We went to one of the radio stations (the Mayor was with us) and asked them to let folks know we were there and would help them for free, no cost, bla bla. The radio station said they would run it 5 times a day for 3 days for a cost of $1,500.00 a day. Luckily, we did find people who needed help and we gave it to them and went back later and retrieved our generators. One of the things I notice was that gas stations weren't working (no power). Propane refill stations were closed (no power). I was very discouraged yet really felt for the folks. I have an all electric home with a well and know what it's like when the power goes out. I do have a whole house generator and it comes on maybe once every 2 or 3 years. Not very cost effective eh? So, I gave it some thought for something temporary but effective for folks to have a few lights at night, run medical equipment if needed and keep refrigerators running. The concept I'll explain below is not new, computer rooms have used them for a long time...Uninterruptable Power Supplys (UPS)

You can purchase these as a unit for several hundred dollars or you can build your own for much less. When I say build, it's not what you may think.

You can purchase a practical power inverter up to 4,000 watts (surge) 2500 watts continuous. I purchased 4 of these at COSTCO for 50 bucks each (after taxes). You merely connect these to a battery. Marine batteries or Golf Cart batteries are best but in an emergency, you can use a car or tractor battery. As the battery runs down, you can run the car or tractor and charge the battery back up. (These units let you know when the voltage is running low). The 4 I purchased were for customers who needed sump pumps to work during power outages. I used marine batteries with solar panels which keep the batteries charged. The solar panels ran 10 bucks each at Harbor Freight. One customer built a box to hold the battery, inverter and solar panel and takes it camping with him (defeats the purpose eh?)

Anyhow, a refrigerator if kept closed as much as possible, can run for days on one of these (much longer if you know how to turn off the defrost cycle). One 100 watt bulb can run continuously for around 24-28 hours. You can run a microwave, tv, sump pump, pellet stove...etc. on one of these. Cost....$50 for inverter, $75 for battery, $10 for solar panel. Not bad....no engines to maintain either!!!!

    Bookmark   February 22, 2006 at 12:14PM
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Sorry I am ignorant about all this stuff... but is there different sizes of marine batteries? If so what size should I get to hook up to the inverter to run a refrigerator?

    Bookmark   June 3, 2011 at 9:37PM
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