A 6,000-watt generator sounds like a substantial piece of equipment, but is it big enough for all of your needs? Our modern homes have so many appliances and require large amounts of power. If you need to, how many of your appliances could you run on a 6,000-watt generator? What appliances can a 6000 watt generator run?
A 6,000-watt generator can easily run your essential home appliances. If you need to power up a coffee maker, microwave, refrigerator, television, lights, or even a space heater, your 6000-watt generator can handle it. It can even run many appliances simultaneously; you just need to know how much you can power up at once.
In this article, we will discuss what specific appliances a 6,000-watt generator can run. In addition, we’ll look at the difference between starting and running watts so that you can understand which devices you can run simultaneously, too.
What can a 6,000-watt generator run?
If you’ve got a 6,000-watt generator, then you’re in great shape for a power outage because it can run almost any household appliance. But it isn’t as simple as plugging in appliances to your generator and seeing what works. First, you need to know what appliances you will run and how many watts are required to run them.
Just imagine you need to do laundry when the power is out – will you be able to do it with your generator? The answer is, well, it depends. You need to think about all of the appliances that you need to do laundry. For example, you might need:
- Well Pump
- Hot water heater
- Washing machine
To figure out if your generator can handle all of that, you need to know the starting watts of each device and the running watts of each device and compare it to the starting watts and running watts that your specific generator can provide. You can find this information in the owner’s manuals and on the box when you purchase your appliances and generator.
In the chart below, we’ll give you a general idea of how many watts each one requires, but you’ll need to look up your specific devices individually to make sure you do the math correctly.
Starting and Running Watts of Typical Household Appliances
|Appliance||Starting Watts||Running Watts|
|Cell Phone Charger||N/A||25|
|String of Outdoor Lights||N/A||40|
|75 Watt Light Bulb||N/A||75|
|Powered Cordless Drill||N/A||100|
|50 Inch LCD TV||N/A||150|
|Sump Pump ½ Horse Power||2150||1050|
|Window Air Conditioner (10,000 BTUs)||3600||1200|
|Hot Water Heater||N/A||3000|
|Central Air Conditioner||Up to 11,400||3,800|
Starting Watts and Running Watts of a 6000 Watt Generator
As you can see from the chart, every appliance has a general amount of running watts. Some appliances, especially those with motors, have an additional requirement for startup watts.
Running Watts or Continuous Watts of a 6000 Watt Generator
Running watts, or continuous watts, are the amount of watts a generator can make for an extended period of time. So a 6,000-watt generator can generator 6,000 watts of electricity continuously. However, it is always better to underuse the generator than overuse it. So give yourself a little extra leeway, so you don’t overtax your equipment.
As a simple example, a 75 watt light bulb will require 75 watts of output from your generator to keep it lit. If your generator couldn’t produce that much power, the light bulb wouldn’t light up correctly.
Starting Watts or Surge Watts
Starting watts, also called surge watts, are an extra boost of power that appliances need when they are first started. Usually, this is only required for appliances that have a motor. Your refrigerator is an example of an appliance that requires extra startup watts. However, because a refrigerator cycles on and off throughout the day, it will regularly need extra surge watts to keep cooling. Most generators will provide an extra boost of power, but the actual amount of surge watts available depends on the specific generator that you have.
Overextending Your 6,000-Watt Generator
It is essential to understand surge watts and continuous watts because if you overtax your generator, you may cause damage. For example, sensitive equipment can be damaged if it doesn’t get enough starting or running watts. Or, if your generator is overtaxed, it could break down, overheat, and even cause a fire.
The best practice would be to only ever run your generator at 90% of its total capacity. This practice gives you a little margin of error and ensures that your generator will run smoothly.
What Can a 6000 Watt Generator Run?
The chart above gives you an idea of what you can run with your 6000-Watt generator. It can run everything from window air conditioners to space heaters, refrigerators, and more. But to find out if you can run all of your appliances together, such as you would need to do laundry, you’ll need to do a little math.
How Many Appliances Can You Run Simultaneously with a 6000 Watt Generator?
Remember to always check your specific appliance details to know exactly how many starting and running watts it requires and how many your generator can supply. Once you know what each appliance needs, you can figure out which appliances you can run together.
Follow this simple guide to know if you can run your appliances at the same time:
- Look in your owner’s manual to find the starting and running watts that your generator can supply.
- Think about what appliances you want to run, and write down each one’s starting and running watts.
- In one column, add up just the start watts of each appliance.
- In another column, add up just the running watts of each appliance.
- Check to make sure the starting and running watts are less than what your generator can provide.
- If the starting and running watts are higher than your generator can provide, you’ll need to run few appliances together.
How to Run Multiple Appliances on a 6000 Watt Generator
When you run your generator, you’ll need to make sure that you only run it outside your home. Otherwise, carbon monoxide can build up and make you very sick. You’ll probably need to use extension cords to plug your home appliances into the generator, so make sure you use extension cords rated for outdoor use. Don’t overload your extension cords.
Before you plug in your appliances to your generator, remember to figure out the starting and running watts.
Doing Laundry with a 6,000-Watt Generator
For example, when the power is out and you need to do laundry, can your 6,000-watt generator handle the load?
First, add up all of the starting and running watts:
- Well-Pump 4000 starting watts and 2000 running watts
- Hot Water Heater 3000 running watts
- Washing Machine 2250 starting watts 1150 running watts
- Clothes Dryer 6750 starting watts 5400 running watts
First we add up all the running watts of each item: 2000 + 3000 + 1150 + 5400 = 11,550 watts
Second, we look at the surge watts, which are 4000+2250+6750=13,000.
The total running watts needed are 11,550, and the total surge watts are 13,000. So we can see that a 6,000-watt generator simply can’t handle this big of a load, so we will have to use fewer appliances at a time.
Instead, you could wash your clothes in cold water only and dry them later. So you’ll need 6250 starting watts and 3150 running watts to wash your clothes. Your generator should be able to handle this without a problem, as long as it has enough starting watts.
You could choose to air dry your clothes, or you could probably dry them without any other appliances running because a clothes dryer needs 6750 starting watts and 5400 runnings watts. But, again, your generator will handle this as long as it has enough starting watts.
What Can’t a 6000 Watt Generator Run?
While your 6000-watt generator can handle most household appliances, there are a few things it probably cannot run. For example, although it can run a window air conditioner with 3600 startup watts and 1200 running watts, it won’t be able to handle your central air system, which requires a large number of surge watts.
What happens if I try to run too many appliances at once?
If you run too many appliances on your generator at a time, you could start a fire. The generator could overheat. You could also damage your appliances and your generator, so always be sure of how many watts you are actually using.
Can I use a 6000-watt generator to take a shower?
You probably can use your 600-watt generator to take a shower, but it depends on your specific appliances and generator. For example, if your well-pump requires 4000 startup watts and 2000 running watts, and your hot water heater requires 3000 running watts, you’ll probably need around 4000 startup watts and 5000 running watts. Your generator can do this if it has enough starting watts. On the other hand, if you take a cold shower or if you have city water and don’t need a well pump, you should be good to go.