You want to be prepared for emergencies, but how do you if you have prepared enough? It can be hard to know how big of a generator you need to take care of your family in a short or long-term emergency when it comes to generators. If this is you, you may be wondering, what appliances can a 7000 watt generator run? Is it going to be enough?
A 7,000-watt generator can provide enough electricity to power your most essential home appliances. For example, you could use it to run your refrigerator, microwave, coffee maker, space heater, television, and lights. You can simultaneously run most of your smaller appliances, but you need to know how many devices you can power up together.
In this article, we’ll take a close look at what specific appliances a 7000-watt generator could run. And to help you understand how many devices you can run together, we’ll take a look at the difference between starting watts and running watts and what that means for your generator. But first, let’s look at some items a 7,000-watt generator can run.
What can a 7,000-watt generator run?
Before you run and plug in your 7,000-watt generator, you need to know what it can run. If you overload your generator, it could cause damage to your equipment, the generator, or even overheat and start a fire. But you should be in good shape if you have a generator this size.
Look at the chart below to get a general idea of how many watts of electricity each one requires. However, every type and brand of appliance is a little bit different, so you will need to look at your equipment’s user manuals to find out the specific details of the appliances you want to run.
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 and Running Watts of a 7000 Watt Generator
From the chart, you can see that every appliance has different watt requirements. Smaller items without motors generally require much less electricity to run than larger appliances or appliances with motors. Some of the items above have a steady requirement the entire time they are running, such as a lightbulb or a crockpot. However, other appliances need extra watts to get their motors started and then fewer watts to keep running. This is the difference between starting and running watts.
Running Watts or Continuous Watts of a 7000 Watt Generator
Your generator can run at a steady state for hours at a time. The amount of watts that it can put out for this extended period is called running watts or continuous watts. Simply put, your 7000-watt generator can supply a continuous 7000 watts for an extended period.
Your crockpot will require a steady 250 watts for the duration that it is turned on. Other appliances, though, need an extra surge of watts to get them up and running.
Starting Watts or Surge Watts of a 7000 Watt Generator
Now that we understand running watts, it’s a little bit easier to understand starting watts. Starting watts are just an extra boost of power that some appliances need to get running when they are first turned on. For example, a small window air conditioner will need roughly 3600 watts to get up and running. However, once it has started cooling, it won’t require as many watts so that the running watts may drop down to about 1200.
Your refrigerator is another example of an appliance that needs surge watts. A refrigerator will cycle on and off throughout the day. It will require that extra power when it cycles on, but when it cycles off, it will only need fewer running watts.
Most generators can supply at least several minutes of extra power to assist bigger appliances. However, every generator is different, and the number of surge watts available will differ from generator to generator. Make sure you know what your generator can supply by checking the user manual carefully. Try to only run your generator at about 90% capacity, so there is room for error without doing any damage to your equipment.
What Can a 7000 Watt Generator Run Simultaneously?
It’s easy to look at the chart above and see what individual appliances a 7000-watt generator can run. But to understand how many or which appliances you can run simultaneously, you’ll need to do a little bit of math. We’ll walk you through the process so you’ll know how to do it for the specific appliances you want to run. You’ll probably want to figure this out ahead of time before the power is out. You may want to get a piece of paper and a pencil handy, too.
- First, you need to know how many watts your generator can supply. Check your owner’s manual to find out both the starting or surge watts and the running or continuous watts that it can provide. If you don’t have the owner’s manual, you might be able to find it online.
- Next, you’ll want to think about what appliances you’ll need and want when there is a short-term or long-term power outage. For example, will you need to run a well pump, a sump pump, or just your refrigerator and a few light bulbs? Next to each item you want to run, write down the starting watts and the running watts.
- Add up the starting watts of each item you want to run.
- Add up the running watts of each item you want to run.
- Now check to make sure that the starting and running watts are less than what your specific generator can provide.
- If the amounts are too high, you’ll need to remove some appliances from your list or run fewer items at a time.
How to Run Multiple Appliances on a 7000 Watt Generator
Let’s take a look at a practical example. Let’s pretend the power will be out for a week, and you’ll need to make your family comfortable and entertain them. As a family, you decide you’ll need to run the following:
- Four cell phone charges
- Two window air conditioners
- Coffee maker
- 3 75 watt light bulbs
Can your generator actually handle this load?
First of all, only run your generator outside of your home. Doing so will prevent carbon monoxide from building up inside your home or garage and making you very sick. Use extension cords rated for outdoor use to plug your appliances into the generator. Just make sure you don’t overload them.
Now, figure out your starting and running watts for the appliances you want to run.
- Four cell phone charges @ 25 watts each
- Two window air conditioners @ 3600 starting watts and 1200 running watts
- Coffee maker @ 1000 watts
- Refrigerator @2200 starting watts and 700 running watts
- 3 75 watt light bulbs @ 75 watts each
First we add up all the running watts of each item: (4×25) + (2×1200) + 1000 + 700 +225= 4,425 watts
Second, we look at the surge watts (2×3600) +2200 = 9400 watts plus the running watts of the other items.
The total running watts needed are 4,425, and the total surge watts need would be 10,725. So the running watts wouldn’t be a problem, but the startup watts might be too much, depending on your generator.
All is not lost, though. You can still give your family what they need. You might just need to adjust the frequency of the items you run. For example, you could get up early in the morning and make your coffee and charge your cell phones before the heat of the day. Then, after those items have finished their work, you can turn on your fridge. Then you can alternate running the air conditioners throughout the day, which will significantly reduce the load on your generator.
What Can’t a 7000 Watt Generator Run?
Your 7000-watt generator can run almost all of your household appliances, including most window air conditioners and oven ranges. However, any heavy-duty appliances, such as a central air conditioner, probably won’t work on your generator. It simply cannot provide enough surge watts to power up.
What happens if I try to run too many appliances at once?
Running too many appliances on your generator at a time can be dangerous. You could damage delicate electronics, cause a brownout, overheat your generator, and even cause a fire. When in doubt, always run fewer appliances.