Can A Generator Damage Appliances? Safety Tips & Recommendations

Last Updated on April 25, 2023 by Rod Olivares

A top priority in getting a reliable generator must be the security of your appliances in case of a power outage. After all, you’re getting a generator to power your house and not cause problems. But can generator damage appliances?

A generator can damage appliances when it is overloaded. To safely operate any appliance, use a 2000-watt inverter generator. Most appliances, especially refrigerators, require 800–1200 watts to start up, and 2000–5000 watts is generally enough to power them safely.  

This article will discuss how to properly use a generator while maintaining the functionality of your appliances. Read on to learn how a generator can damage your appliances and what you can do to prevent it.

How Can A Generator Damage Your Appliances

When the power goes out, many people use generators for powering sensitive electronics. But some people worry that using a generator to power appliances and sensitive electronics could hurt them. So, can generators damage appliances?

The generator and the appliances may get damaged if a generator is overloaded and linked to the appliances. There are many possible scenarios in which this may occur.

Here’s an example:

If you have additional appliances connected to the generator, the total power consumption may exceed what the generator can manage. This can damage both the generator and the appliances.

In other instances, an appliance—such as a refrigerator—might sustain damage due to its watt consumption exceeding that of the generator.

When an appliance is operating, the compressor often turns on and off to maintain the proper temperature; if the generator cannot handle these occurrences, a problem may arise.

There are a few essential things to remember when using a generator. First is always to read the instructions that came with it. Some electronics and appliances are more sensitive than others and may need extra care when using a generator.

Which Generator Damages Appliances?

There are two main types of generators: inverter generators and the non-inverting ones. Both generators can be movable or permanently put in your home.

“Clean energy” means electricity that is made and then changed to make it more reliable. The current is steady and does not go up and down.

There is a high likelihood that non-inverting generators may damage electrical equipment and appliances. Although only some generators of this kind will have difficulties, purchasing an inverter generator is the safest option. Not only for the benefit of your appliances but also in case your inverted generator runs out of fuel since the onboard battery is helpful.

When a generator makes electricity that isn’t steady, it’s more likely to cause a power surge. Your expensive electronics and appliances get broken when these power surges happen. Power surges can damage the microprocessors and microchips that make electronic devices work.

If you want to ensure your devices are safe, buy a generator that says it is an inverter generator.

Do Generators Ruin Electronics?

Do Generators Ruin Electronics

When it comes to keeping electronics safe, the quality of the current generator is just as crucial as its wattage or noise level.

A generator that puts out clean, stable power output will help keep sensitive electronic parts from getting fried. On the other hand, a lousy generator that puts out harmful currents could mess up the parts inside your electronics.

Now, do generators damage electronics? How do you protect electronics when using a generator?

To make sure your expensive electronics are safe, get a reliable generator and use a surge protector.

Surge protectors will protect your devices by taking in extra electricity and sending it away to your electronics. They can help you avoid the frustration of having all of your expensive devices destroyed by a sudden power surge. We’ll talk more about them later.

You can also ensure your device is safe by getting a UPS, which stands for “Uninterruptible Power Supply.” UPS devices store electricity that you can use to protect your device when the power goes out unexpectedly because of a power surge, noise, instability, or sudden power outage.

Safer Generator Options For Your Appliances

Several technologies exist to provide cleaner, more dependable generator power for different home electrical devices and appliances, including Automatic Voltage Regulators and Inverter Generators.

Automatic Voltage Regulators (AVR)

Automatic Voltage Regulators (AVR)

Automatic Voltage Regulators provide more constant power than a typical generator alternator without inverting to DC by smoothing out the load and RPM changes. In the 4000–8000w range, many manufacturers provide premium series portable generators with AVR power that are said to be similar to power from your neighborhood utility.

Inverters Generators

Inverters Generators

Inverter generators use electronic processors to purify the electricity and regulate generator speed as they switch from AC power to DC and back to an AC output. The generator can run at lower speeds with fewer loads thanks to inverters. They operate more quietly, as a result, using less fuel. But all of it is expensive.

Small (1000–2000w) inverter generators are available from many manufacturers and are ideal for camping or light loads.

Safety Tips For Running Appliances On A Generator

Maintaining your generator in excellent working order can help your power production steady. The best way is through scheduled generator maintenance, which involves servicing your generator every three months to keep it operating at its best all year.

How To Use A Generator Without Damaging Your Appliances

The delicate electronic controls in many modern household appliances and HVAC systems make them susceptible to the fluctuations and “dirty” electricity generated by conventional generators for HVAC. Some gadgets may work for a while before gradually losing their functionality. Others may flat-out object to working at all.

The good news is that in an emergency, there are safety tips that you can do to prevent generator or appliances damage:

  • A pump, an oil-fired boiler, a refrigerator, a coffee maker, a computer, and some lights should all have generator-fed circuits.
  • Buy a 2000-5000 watt generator (enough power to alternate between the various loads as required).
  • Keep enough gasoline on hand to last at least 72 hours.
  • Always check the wattage of the generator and the appliances before connecting them.
  • Provide just enough generator time to maintain a continuously cool refrigerator.
  • Before you start, read the generator’s owner’s handbook carefully.
  • Keep your refrigerator’s door closed at all times.
  • Make sure the generator is on a level surface.
  • Never fill up a running generator! Additionally, cool the generator down before refueling it.

How Can I Protect My Appliances During A Power Outage?

Lightning-induced power surges can harm the fuses on your appliances’ circuit boards and motors. After power outages, it’s also possible that your appliances may break when the electrical energy returns.

When the power comes back, the fridge often experiences low voltage, which may heat its wiring and damage its motor.

Avoid overloading your generator

Avoid overloading your generator.

When using your generator to power devices, you should always ensure it has enough wattage for the job. If you are going too far, it’s better to stay safe.

To determine your generator’s power requirements, see the list of wattage requirements for common appliances below. Just bear in mind that these are only ballpark figures, and you’ll need to check the info tag on your particular items to find out the exact numbers.

Household Appliances Rated (Running Watts) Additional Surge Watts
Central AC (10,000 BTU) 1,500 W 4,500 W
Ceiling Fan 60 W 70 W
Refrigerator / Freezer 700 W 2,200 W
LED Light Bulb 9 W 0 W
Electric Kettle 1,200 W 3,000 W
Fryer 1,000 W 0 W
Microwave 1,000 W 0 W
Dishwasher 1,500 W 1,500 W
Washing Machine 1,150 W 2,250 W
Vacuum 1,100 W 1,100 W
Rice Cooker 200 W 500 W
LED TV (42”) 85 W 0 W
Wall Fan 45 W 15 W
Laptop 50 W 0 W
2-Way Radio (12A) 360 W 0 W

Use shorter extension cords. 

Generators can be very loud, so many people put them as far away from their homes as they can. Even with a 12-gauge cord, the length of the cord should be at most 100 feet (ca. 30 m). The voltage drop can damage the generator and the appliances.

Run the generator on a flat platform

Run the generator on a flat platform.

Many generators use “dippers” to scoop up oil and splash it on the different moving parts to keep them from getting too dry.

But if the generator is on an incline, those dippers might not be able to get to the oil. If that happens, some parts of the engine may run dry, damaging the generator and the connected appliances.

Do You Require A Surge Protector When Using A Generator?

Do You Require A Surge Protector When Using A Generator

Unplugging your appliances is the safest approach to protecting them against power surges.

However, investing in a high-quality surge protector for your appliances, especially your fridge, is one practical choice. Make sure you choose one of the versions made mainly to protect refrigerators from power surges.

You may unhook your refrigerator from the electrical supply if the power goes out or if you are aware of an impending lightning storm in advance. In this manner, your food will stay cold while posing no harm to the refrigerator from a power spike.

In an RV, make sure you have enough electricity to run the appliances you want to use. Most RVs can provide 30 amps of power, but appliances like microwaves and hair dryers need more. If you require more power, you can upgrade your power source or use fewer appliances that require a lot of power.

A good power strip or surge protector will keep your appliances running smoothly and protect them from power fluctuations.


Fixing or replacing your home appliances is not only a pain but also costs a lot of money. So, you want to avoid damaging them by accident when you use a generator to power them.

The most crucial thing is to be cautious and vigilant whether you’re utilizing a generator to power your refrigerator or any other household equipment. A generator is handy, but it may be a risky piece of equipment if you’re irresponsible. Take the time to read instructions and put correct safety precautions into effect. is an independent review business. I am not affiliated with any manufacturers and do not accept paid reviews. When you buy through my links, I may earn a commission which helps me purchase more generators for testing. - Scott Krager

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