Undersizing your generator can be avoided by calculating all of the loads that will be connected to the generator at any one time and by allowing for starting requirements (motor start) of electric motor-operated devices.
Make sure the generator you select is large enough to handle the calculated load and always allow a 10-15% buffer to protect from overloading. To calculate the correct size generator, add up the total watts of all lights, appliances, tools, or other equipment to be connected to the generator.
Check the nameplates to determine wattage. If wattage is not shown, but amps and volts are given, the following formula can be used: Amps x Volts = Watts (Ex. 12.5 amps x 240 volts = 3,000 watts)
To determine kilowatts (kW), use the following formula: 1,000 Watts = 1 Kilowatt (Ex. 3,000 Watts / 1,000 = 3.0 kW)
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