How to Power a Refrigerator by Generator?

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When there is an outage in your area that lasts for a long period of time, how will you cope? Is it okay if you stock up your freezer or refrigerator with a lot of food, probably anticipating visitors? Certainly, all these can disappear in a flash. Food that goes bad can ruin a party in no time! 

How can this unfortunate situation be salvaged? The obvious answer is a generator; it will keep you safe in case of an emergency. A generator is the only solution if your region suffers frequent power outages. But the question is how to power a refrigerator by the generator?

How to Power a Refrigerator by Generator

In this article, you will learn how to power a refrigerator by generator, and you will also receive valuable information so that no errors occur.

Here we go!

Is It Safe To Run A Refrigerator On A Generator? 

The refrigerator can be operated safely using a generator as long as its starting wattage is higher than the generator’s wattage. 

It is estimated that an average fridge starts with 800-1200 watts of power, so a generator with a capacity of 2000 watts will be sufficient. 

How To Power A Refrigerator By Generator

The following steps will help you power a refrigerator with the generator:

1. Determine The Wattage Of Refrigerator

The refrigerator’s nameplate will tell you how much wattage it needs. Watts can be determined by multiplying the voltage by the amperage on the nameplate. Similarly, refrigerators require an extra surge of electricity to start their compressors. 

To determine the starting wattage of a refrigerator, multiply its running wattage by 1.5. If your refrigerator uses 700 watts, multiply it by 1.5. You need a generator that can produce 1,050 watts to start the unit.

2. Determine the Generator Power

Make sure your generator can put out enough power to run your refrigerator by looking at its wattage output rating. If the refrigerator is powered by a 1,050-watt generator, for example, then this demand will be no problem for the generator. The overload created when the refrigerator tries to start can trip a breaker or blow a fuse on a generator that is only rated at 800 watts.

3. Placement of Generator

Place the portable generator near the refrigerator in a flat area of the yard. Generators should be kept away from structures, canopy, awnings, and other structures by at least 10 feet. In the power outlet on the generator, plug the prongs of the 14-gauge extension cord.

4. Arrangement of Cord

For a refrigerator, run a generator extension cord through a window or doorway into the structure.

5. Start the Generator

Starting the generator and allowing it to reach operating speed is the next step.

6. Plug the Cord into The Refrigerator

Plug the refrigerator into the extension cord’s receptacle after unplugging it from the wall outlet. Be sure it is powered on and operating properly.

7. Caution

Make sure not to use a thin extension cord for generators and refrigerators. There is a fire hazard associated with these cords overheating.

Is It Possible for a Generator to Damage a Refrigerator?

It is possible to damage both the refrigerator and the generator by overloading a generator with a refrigerator connected to it. We must first understand how refrigerators work in order to understand why this is the case.

Refrigerators have thermostats to regulate the temperature. In order to maintain the right temperature, the thermostat lets the compressor when turned on and off.

In the event that the thermostat or compressor does not have enough power to function properly, you will damage your refrigerator if this happens for an extended amount of time.

When a Refrigerator is not Powered, How Long Can Food Remain Cold?

Your refrigerator will not start warming up until approximately four hours have passed, so you will have plenty of time to check your generator.

It takes about two hours for a modern refrigerator to reach the proper temperature after being turned on. 

This is dependent on the type of food you have stored inside.

How to Prevent Food Spoilage During a Power Outage?

You might be worried that a power outage won’t let you keep your food cool, but there are some things you can do to prevent food spoilage.

1. Freeze Any Items You Don’t Need Right Now

When it comes to freezers, they need to be powered up much less often, which suggests freezing any extra meat, milk, or other food items that will not be consumed right away.

2. Store Food in the Right Location

Fridge doors and shelves will be the warmest sections of the refrigerator, so they will be vulnerable to temperature changes. On the back of the lower shelves, you’ll find the coolest part of the fridge, where you should store perishables that can breed bacteria, such as meat, fish, and seafood.

3. Use a Rotomolded Cooler

If there’s no generator available, you can use a rotomolded cooler filled with ice packs that you can freeze. Cooler boxes offer the benefit of being able to be stored in the coolest part of the house, unlike a large refrigerator, which is difficult to move.

4. Cook the Most Perishable Food First

By eating perishables first, you prevent them from spoiling. Additionally, fish, meat, and vegetables can be prepared as frozen meals at a later time.



There is no doubt that overloading your generator can result in damage to the machine, start a fire, or make you physically ill. If your generator or fridge has a wattage capacity, don’t guess it. Research the model number and wattage accurately by doing some research. 

If you found this article informative about how to power a refrigerator by generator, then share it with your friends, family, and especially those experiencing similar problems. Also, feel free to share your thoughts with us by commenting down below.

It's Carl Denis here, and I'm glad you found my site. As a generator enthusiast, I write on MyGeneratorLab. In spite of our trusty RV being used virtually every day on worksites, my wife and I go on road trips every weekend with our family in it. As part of my mission, I aim to provide information that will assist you in choosing the right generator.

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