How Long To Run Generator For Refrigerator

A power outage is one of the worst things in the modern-day life. Now, if you find out that you’re not only going to be without electrical power for a few hours but for days. For example, in the case of a hurricane. That’s when a generator can save lives.

One of the main reasons why generators are important is due to refrigerators. They’ll be responsible for preventing the food from getting spoiled and you from starving to death.

Now, everyone who has ever run a generator to keep the refrigerator working in perfect conditions knows that you can’t run it all day long. You’ll waste all the fuel, and soon will find yourself without any electrical power.

So, you need a strategy that guarantees that you’re going to have the generator running for as long as you need it to. Then, the question becomes, how long to run a generator for a refrigerator? According to survivalist experts, you have to run 1 hour of the generator to keep the refrigerator working for 4 hours. This estimate may change depending on your model and even weather conditions.

Now, besides having a solid strategy about the time that you’re going to run the generator for, you should also take into consideration the kind of food that you’re storing. Also, if you have a separated freezer, it might be a good idea to use only one.

In the case of a freezer, the timing that you’re going to have to follow is completely different. Still, the important thing is that you find the best solution to conserve your food. After all, that’s the purpose of this whole thing.

So, to help you out with your strategy and everything else you need to know to run a generator for a refrigerator, the guide below goes into more detail about it. Follow every step and you’ll be more than fine.

Keep the 1:4 Ratio

Ok, the first thing that you have to worry about when running a generator to keep a refrigerator working and not spoiling all that food is to keep the 1:4 ratio. What this means is that you have to keep the generator for 1 hour for every 4 hours to keep the refrigerator in the best of conditions.

Now, it’s important to point out that you should do this interchangeably, and not try to run the generator for 2 hours thinking that it’ll keep the refrigerator for 8 hours. As much as it is inconvenient, you must keep the 1:4 ratio at all costs, risking spoiling the food if you don’t.

It’s also important to point out that this strategy is specific to refrigerators. If we’re talking about freezers, for instance, the strategy is another. Anyway, also take into consideration the kind of food that you’re storing.

When in doubt, the best you can do is check the refrigerator to make sure everything is okay. Now, do this sparingly because the refrigerator will last 4 hours if you don’t open the door all the time. If the door is opened constantly, the time may drop to half of it.

So, the best you can do is only open the fridge at the end of the 4-hour period. For items that you may need all the time like water, it may be a good idea to put it somewhere else.

Which Generator Do I Need?

According to Generac, Most refrigerators need about 800 watts of power for continuous use. However, you need to consider the amount of wattage needed to start up your frig. It usually takes about 1200 watts of surge wattage to start your device. So you would need at least a 2000 watt generator. To be sure, check your user guide or the label found somewhere on the door of the refrigerator If you purchase a generator with less then the amount required, your generator will trip its circuit breaker and will turn off. This could also damage any electrical appliance that might be connected during your powering of the refrigerator. 

If you need to find a great generator that will handle and power most refrigerator appropriately, I would highly recommend the Champion 3800-Watt Dual Fuel RV Ready Portable Generator with Electric Start. It can use either gasoline or propane (like the tank you use for your barbeque grill). Though it is a powerful unit, the noise level is nominal (the sound level of a lawnmower). One of the main reasons I like this generator is if the battery on the unit goes dead, you are able to still start the machine by yanking on its pull cord. CLICK HERE to get the latest pricing on Amazon.

Packed or Half-packed

Another important thing that you should take into consideration is the amount of food that you’re storing in your refrigerator. For example, if your refrigerator is half-packed, it’ll last longer than if it’s full. Obviously, you shouldn’t empty it just to get it to last longer, but it’s something that you should be aware of.

So, the 1:4 ratio is usually for a packed fridge and freezer. If your refrigerator is half-packed it may last longer. Now, to figure out what’s the best timing to keep the generator running and the refrigerator working, you’ll have to make some tests.

Also, depending on the kind of food the time may vary. For example, meat spoils fast if it’s not frozen. Now, if it’s frozen, it usually takes more time to unfreeze, which it’s good for you in this situation.

Now, if we’re talking about water and other liquids, the worst that it can happen is them getting hot. So, the best you can do is to evaluate the content of your refrigerator to make sure that you don’t get anything spoiled.

Also, remember to see if it’s packed or half-packed. You can also organize the food but more on that below. Just make sure that you pay attention to those things because they’re important.

Evaluate the Outside Temperature

Depending on where you live, the temperature may ruin your strategy to run the generator for the refrigerator. Opening the refrigerator door all the time is only half the problem if you live in a hot weather city. That’s why you factor that into your strategy.

If it’s a hot day, you will likely have to run the refrigerator for more than 1 hour. It’s hard to give a precise temperature because it varies on the refrigerator model as well. New models tend to be more resistant and perform better under such conditions.

Now, the location of the refrigerator inside your house also matters. If the refrigerator is in constant contact with the sunlight, you’ll have problems. The heat will force the refrigerator to work more to keep the temperature. This will consume more energy and in this particular case, forcing you to run the generator more than you have to.

Still, it’s important to point out that even if the refrigerator is not in direct contact with the sunlight but is in a hot-temperature room or just the day is quite hot, you will still have to run the generator more than you normally would do.

In this case, the best you can do is put the refrigerator in a room with a nice temperature if at all possible. Besides that, you have to check and see if it’s losing temperature inside faster than it has to.

What About Freezers

As mentioned above, if we’re talking about freezers and not a refrigerator, then the strategy is a little different. What changes it’s the time that you have to run the generator in this case. Pretty much the ratio changes.

In the case of freezers, you can run the generator for every 24 hours. This is a much better ratio, but the freezer has disadvantages. You can store things that you want to consume all the time or even immediately there. Anything that you don’t want to freeze and keep fresh should stay out of the freezer.

Also, if you store hot food or liquids inside the freezer, these numbers will change. It’s important that if you don’t have much fuel, you should use a freezer instead of a refrigerator because you’ll have to run for less time. Now, the disadvantage is that certain food loses its freshness by doing this.

In the case that you do store hot foods and liquids, or even if it’s hot outside, you may have to run the refrigerator every 8 hours. This, again, will depend on the model and those 2 other factors mentioned above.

So, the best you can do is run test before settling for one specific strategy. Never just assume certain number and think that you’re ready to go. You might end up with spoiled food for this.

Organize the Food

Those numbers are ballpark numbers and they work. Now, there are ways that you can try to get even more from your refrigerator and try to improve its performance. Or at least, try to ensure that it’ll run for as long as it has to. The answer for this is to organize the food inside.

Of course, it’s great to just put the food inside the refrigerator without any thought about the organization. Still, if you put certain food groups together, you may get a better overall performance from your refrigerator.

So, here’s what you can do. Store meat and chicken in your freezer. Don’t put anything that needs constant refrigeration like ice cream there. It robs the heat from the meat and unfreezes it faster. So, put things that aren’t for immediate consumption in the freezer compartment.

Fruits and vegetables should be consumed as fast as possible because they spoil fast. Liquids should go in the fridge compartment. The vegetables that won’t be consumed immediately can go in as well, especially during hot days.

If you spend 5 minutes to think about this, you can increase considerably the chances of not spoiling any food. It’s simple, doable, and important.

Final Thoughts

So, these are the steps to make sure that you have a solid strategy. To recap it, run the generator for 1 hour for every 4 hours. Try to open the door the least amount of times possible. Also, place the refrigerator in a cool temperature room, and organize the food inside.

If your refrigerator is packed or half-packed, remember that’s important as well for your strategy. As long as you do all this, there’s no reason why you won’t be successful at this.

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