Can A Generator Damage A Refrigerator? (What You Need To Know)

Generators can be real life savers in the event of harsh weather conditions, or a power outage in your area.

If you live in a location where there may be hurricanes, high winds, lightning, or even a lot of snow and ice, then you can be at risk of power lines becoming damaged or breaking.

Can A Generator Damage A Refrigerator? (What You Need To Know)

As a result, there may be power outages that can last hours, or even days.

To avoid this, you can use a generator as a sort of backup that will run all of your appliances, power tools and essential household items such as refrigerators and freezers. 

This will ensure that all of your food is stored properly and freshly until the power eventually turns back on. 

But, is it safe to use a refrigerator on a generator, and can a generator damage a refrigerator? Let’s find out! 

Is It Safe To Run A Refrigerator On A Generator?

If you have purchased a generator, then you will want to be sure that you can use it to power your appliance and devices safely, without the risk of damaging or overwhelming them.

So, what about refrigerators? These appliances tend to need a lot more power than others, so you may be concerned about using them with a generator. 

However, it is perfectly fine, and safe to power a refrigerator with a generator, as long as the generator has the wattage capacity to do so.

You will have to be aware of the starting wattage consumption of the refrigerator, and the running wattage consumption, to see whether your generator is capable of powering it. 

You have to calculate the starting watts of the refrigerator, rather than the running watts, as starting the appliance drains far more power from the generator, and if the generator does not have enough wattage, then it could overwhelm the generator or even overload it and destroy it. 

Can A Generator Damage A Refrigerator? 

Unfortunately, yes a generator can damage a refrigerator if it is not one with the correct wattage.

For example, if your generator has a watt allowance that is higher than the refrigerator’s starting wattage, then it will be sufficient. If the wattage allowance is not sufficient, then it can damage the refrigerator. 

To break this down a little bit, most refrigerators will have a starting wattage of about 800-1200 on average, so they will need to be run with generators of at least 2000 watts capacity.

You also have to think about if other appliances are attached to the generator at the time, as it may not have a wattage high enough to run the refrigerator too. 

If your generator becomes overloaded, then it can damage the refrigerator and any devices that it is connected to. Plus, you risk damaging the generator itself, too. 

This is because the refrigerator has a built-in thermostat that regulates the temperature. To do this, it will switch on and off by itself to maintain the perfect temperature to keep the contents fresh. 

This means that a refrigerator needs enough power to switch on and off over a long period of time to run efficiently and properly.

If there is not enough power to run it, then the generator may damage the refrigerator when it attempts to take power. 

You will want to use a generator with a minimum wattage of about 2000 watts, as you need a lot of power for starting watts and running watts when powering a refrigerator or freezer.

That being said, every appliance is different, and you should consult the manufacturer’s guidelines for wattage requirements when you purchase the refrigerator to find out what the starting and running watts are.

We do recommend that you always pick a larger generator if possible, as this will also work well to power other appliances such as the lighting, other household appliances or even a TV during a power outage.  

How Long Should I Run My Refrigerator On A Generator?

If you are suffering from a power outage, and want to ensure that the contents of your refrigerator stay cold and fresh during a storm or other weather extremities that can affect your power, then you can use your generator. 

You will only need to run the generator for about an hour to keep your refrigerator cool for up to four hours. However, this can be altered by various factors and depends on the refrigerator model itself. 

Can A 1000 Watt Generator Run A Refrigerator? 

Technically, yes a 1000 watt generator is able to run a refrigerator, but only some small ones.

For the most part, 1000 watt generators are designed to run several small appliances such as lamps, computers, coffee machines, TVs, and dishwashers or other smaller appliances.

Therefore, we do recommend a 2000 watt generator for your refrigerator as this will have the most efficient results if you are dealing with a power outage in your home.

For instance, a 2000 watt generator will make it possible to keep the essential appliances in your home running during an outage, such as your refrigerator and freezer to keep your food supplies fresh. 


To summarize, yes a generator can damage a refrigerator, but only if you do not plan ahead and consider the wattage that the refrigerator needs to run on a generator.

A refrigerator will use between 800 and 1200 watts, so you should have at least a 2000 watt generator to run it, or you could overload and damage both. 

However, this is only if the refrigerator is the only appliance being run by the generator. If you need to power more appliances, then you will need a much larger, more powerful generator. 

I'm an environment and energy blogger who teaches outdoor and energy enthusiasts how to be better informed when it comes to purchasing or maintaining a generator, solar panel system, or anything else related to your energy needs.