General Information on Generators
Not promoting Honda Generators or products but found this article quite informative and thought it may help others.
How much power do I need?Determining the power required by an appliance
To determine your basic home power needs, start with these three questions:
Electric furnaces and heat pumps typically need 15,000 watts or more to run and cannot be powered by a portable generator.
Electric heaters often require at least 4500 watts.
Homeowners can often power most household appliances using between 3000 and 6500 watts.
If your home has a smaller furnace and city water, you can generally expect that 3000-5000 watts will cover your needs. If you have a larger furnace and/or a well pump, you will likely need a 5000 to 6500 watt generator.
The primary factor you need to consider is the size of your AC unit(s).
Industrial power needs range widely, based on what kind of tools you are using. To determine your power needs, start with our wattage estimation guide can help you to build a quick estimate. Simply choose the tools you will be using and add up the wattage.
Keep in mind that wattage required for starting a tool or appliance with a motor will be much higher than the watts required to run the device. See more about starting vs running wattage below.
If you need the wattage on a specific tool, see our section on determining the power needed by an appliance below.
See our section on power management to learn how to use a smaller generator to power more.
Determining the power required by an appliance
Most appliances and electric motors list their power requirements in amps. Typical locations include:
Our Wattage Estimation Guide also provides average wattage for many applications.
How do I convert amps to watts?
Appliances frequently list their power requirements in amps. Most generators list their output in watts. Fortunately, it’s easy to convert from one to the other:
If you have two of the numbers (e.g. volts, amps) then you can find out the other (e.g. watts). This can help you to determine the rated power that you’ll need from your generator.
Starting vs. Running Wattage
Some appliances require extra power to start up, while others maintain the same power requirements constantly.
To calculate your power needs correctly, you need to know which kind of load you are dealing with. (A load is defined as the device that you are powering.) There are two kinds of loads:
Resistive loads are pretty simple: they require the same amount of power to both start and run the equipment. Many resistive loads are involved in heating or making heat of some kind. Examples of resistive loads include:
Reactive loads contain an electric motor, which requires additional power to start, but significantly less power to run once it gets going. Typically starting power is 3 times the amount of power to run the application. Examples of reactive loads include:
Reactive loads may also require additional power when the electric motor begins to work. For example, when a saw begins cutting wood, its power requirement will increase. This is not applicable for most household appliances.
My appliance is a 1000 watt model, but it takes 1600 watts to run it. Why?
Some devices are labeled or promoted with a power number. For example, a hair dryer might say "1000W." This means the hair dryer itself produces 1000 watts of heat energy. But the amount the hair dryer uses from a power outlet is always more than it produces in heat. This is because the device’s energy use is not 100% efficient.
Another example is a microwave oven. It may be marketed as "1100 watt oven" and indeed produce 1100 watts of cooking power, but it will require more than that from a generator.
Translating the data tag:
For some appliances, you can determine the power needed by looking at the data tag supplied by the electric motor manufacturer.
All electrical motors should have a data tag attached to their bodies that give volts, amps, phase, cycles, hp, and sometimes a code.
Maximum vs. Rated Power
Generators are often advertised at the maximum wattage they can produce. But you’ll also see the “rated power” listed.
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