Running refrigerator off generator questions


If a refrigerator requires a 15 or 20 amp power supply, then wouldn't a 13 amp, 14 gauge heavy duty power cord be insufficient to connect the refrigerator to a generator? Also, wouldn't using two heavy duty power cords be bad? I don't know anything about amps or gauges, but my father who does connected the refrigerator to a power strip (a defunct surge protector), then plugged the power strip into the 14 gauge, 13 amp power cord. He then plugged that power cord into another power cord of unknown gauge and amps, and that plugged into the generator. I thought the refrigerator sounded odd during the time it was running off the generator, but it was hard to tell.
I suspect my power will go out again from this snow storm that's coming so I would at least like to be using the correct power cords this time.
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On 2/9/2010 5:20 PM, Mike S. wrote:

you'll probably be OK if it is a short run. However, if it is a long run, you'll have enough resistance in the 14 gauge cord to cause a serious voltage drop that might overheat the fridge motor, or damage the electronics inside. Maybe you could try to borrow a 12 gauge extension cord from a neighbor.
Actually, you might not have need for a fridge. If you have an attached garage, you might be able to use it as a fridge and put your frozen stuff out directly on the snow pack (assuming you have a private yard).
I'm in in DC metro area and we're keeping our fingers crossed re: power problems. We don't even have a generator, but so far, so good.
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Is the fridge on a 15 amp circuit or a 20 amp circuit right now? What does the spec tag on the refrigerator say? MOST refrigerators run just fine on a 15 amp household circuit, which is wired with #14 wire, so a #14 extention cord (ONLY ONE) of up to 50 feet WILL NOT be a problem..
The VAST majority of refrigerators on the market draw well under 7.5 amps on 115 volt supply . Startup may be over double running, but most run at aprox 450 watts My 25 year old woods upright freezer draws 285 watts steady, with a starting peak of 327, according to MY Killawatt. That's 2.81 amps, maximum starting draw.

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Most refrigerators have a name plate, in the refrigerator section, some where. Typically 4 to 5 amps while running. A 16 gage extension cord should work fine. The challenge is providing enough current to start the compressor.
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...and today's weather is saying "But wait! There's more!!" I hear.
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For no extra charge.... another 12 inches snow. And how much do you think you'd pay for all this? 39.99? 49.99? But, no! With Al gore's Cap and Trade, you can have all this for only $2,000,000,000,000,000 in new taxes!
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Well, if worse comes to worse, you can read these posts in a couple days.
Good advice to look at the cord on the fridge.
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The plate in the refrigerator says 6.5 amps under full load (or something like that). The generator is over 100 ft away, so the 14 gauge power cord is 100 ft long and the other power cord was probably between 25 to 50 ft long, possibly more. But I'm almost positive the refrigerator sounded strange while running it off the generator, which I believe is at least 20 years old, if that matters.
My power was out for nearly 3 days from the last storm. It went out on Friday the 5th at night and came back on Monday afternoon. I live in a rural area that uses wells and septic tanks, so when we don't have electricity, we also don't have running water. I hope the power doesn't go out again from this current storm. I don't mind shoveling tons of snow but I can't stand not having running water and a 42 degrees house.
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3600 rpm is 120v is 60hz on small generators, if volts or Hz was off it might sound different, 100ft is a long distance and there is voltage drop, I dont know how much so google it, I will guess its 2-3 volts. You need a volt meter, amp meter, Kill a watt, or techometer to be sure when the frige is running you have 3600- 120v -60hz. The govenor usualy has a set screw at a place designed to be easily found to adjust to 3600. Depending on the unit at no load idle 124-126 is a normal set point so when its loaded down it doesnt go to low, 115 is about as low as you should go at full load, its easy to check and adjust.
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The cord being adequate has more to do with it's length, then it's gauge. If it's a standard fridge, it probably draws about 7 amps and should run fine on a 14/3 X 50 foot cord
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I agree. Modern equipment needs nowhere near the power the old stuff did. Most homes are wired with a 20A dedicated plug and it pulls nowhere near 15A.
I only use a 12/3 x 50 for my air compressor and that is more than I really need.
Colbyt
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14 gage power cords should work fine. Of course, clean connections (plug and socket) are good. Use a little sand paper to clean the terminals. A dab of aluminum antioxidant is good, in the sockets. And fewer extension cords are good. One 50-footer is better than two 25-footers.
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You must have a giant frige, my newer 19.5 cu ft pulls about 1.2a running, near 4 on startup, my 20 yr old large side by side runs at 5-6a and 10 on startup. Your extension cord is fine, length like near 100ft might make a larger gauge needed. More important is check the voltage on the gen and keep it near 120v, they can be adjusted by controling rpm. Startup is when you will pull the most with a frige, do you have a kill a watt or clamp on amp meter, then you can check what it really pulls and plan generator loads
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Two outlet strips and a power cord serving for intermediate distribution? Get 100 feet of 14 gauge, put the appropriate connectors on it, and make sure Sta-bil is used in the gasoline. Even when people know what needs to be done, they tend to "make do" with liberal application of wishful thinking.

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