Can You Run A Washing Machine With A Generator?

A power outage may ruin your plans to get your laundry done. And you don’t want to deal with such desperate situations when you can run your washing machine with a generator. If you are indecisive about running your washing machine with a generator, this article is for you.

You can run your washing machine with a generator, provided the generator can handle the machine’s wattage requirements. Get a 2000-watt generator if your washing machine needs 1,150 watts to run. Use a 12 gauge extension cord to connect the washing machine to the generator.

This article will help you understand the importance of choosing the right generator for running your washing machine. It will also provide the safety precautions you need to take while installing the generator at the end of the article. So, keep reading.

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Can you plug a washing machine into a generator?

You can run a washing machine with a generator, provided you install a generator capable of handling the high-duty appliance like a washing machine. 

A washing machine needs around 1600 watts while starting and 800 watts while running. 

The wattage requirement of the washing machine will not remain constant.

It changes according to a load of clothes. 

To run a washing machine, you need a high-wattage generator. 

Also, remember it is important to use a heavy-duty extension cord to connect the washing machine and the generator.

How to use a washing machine with a generator?

Avoid installing the generators indoors and keep them away from your living space.

  • Install the generator under a cover or a wall in a ventilated place. If it is a gas-powered generator, fill it with gas. If it needs fuel power, fill the tank with the fuel mentioned in the user manual.
  • After filling it with gas or fuel according to your generator, verify its efficiency by turning it on. Check if the generator is running properly.
  • Before connecting the washing machine to your generator, ensure that any other heavy-duty appliances are not connected.
  • Connect the power code of the generator to the male end of an extension cord. Take the other end to the washing machine connecting the female end of an extension to the machine.
  • Switch on the washing machine, and wait until the motor starts.
  • Disconnect all the appliances from the generator while you are trying to power up the motor. 

What size generator do I need to run my washing machine?

The generator size you need to install is based on the washing machine’s wattage requirement and depends on the wattage requirement of the other appliance you plan to connect with the generator.

If you decide to install the generator only to power the washing machine, calculate the wattage requirement of the washing machine.

You can calculate your washing machine’s wattage by multiplying its voltage and amperes. 

Wattage = Voltage multiplied by amperage.

Let’s assume the wattage requirement of your washing machine is 1500 watts.

Then, you need a generator with around 2000 wattage. 

You must understand certain factors while choosing the generator’s size.

Starting wattage

Starting wattage refers to the power surge when the washing machine starts.

The wattage requirement when the appliance starts is four times higher than the wattage required while it is in the running stage.

A heavy-duty appliance like a washing machine, dryer, and heater needs to consume higher wattage when it starts. 

If you connect many appliances with a generator, it must be capable of handling all the power surge that occurs while the heavy-duty appliances are starting.

Running wattage

Running wattage refers to the appliance’s power consumption when running.

A running wattage is also called the rated wattage in technical terms. 

You can determine the running wattage of your device by looking at its label, or you can refer to the manual. 

You have to consider the running wattage of your washing machine while calculating the wattage requirement a generator needs to handle.

Surge wattage

The maximum amount of wattage a generator can handle is called surge wattage.

It would help not to connect appliances that consume more than this surge wattage. 

In such a case, you can add an extra 1000 to 1500 wattage to a generator to make it capable of handling the initial power consumption from the washing machine and all other appliances.

Is it safe to use a washing machine with a generator?

You can run a washing machine with a generator, and it is safe if you install a generator that matches the wattage requirement of your washing machine.

Using a stabilizer along with it will ensure protection from hazards. 

As a washing machine is a heavy-duty appliance, it is vital to use a high-end generator with sine technology.

Here are some of the safety measures you have to take before running a washing machine with a generator:

Power supply

A washing machine uses power equal to the AC, so you have to install a generator that is enough to run the AC.

Sine wave supply

Nowadays, washing machines use advanced technology, which requires a stable power supply. 

If you are using old-model washing machines without advanced technology, your machine won’t need this sine wave supply. 

But, if you use the latest technology washing machine, you must install a generator with a sine wave supply.

Compared to old generators, new sine wave supply generators can provide a constant power supply and protect your washing machine from damage.


Unlike other appliances, the wattage requirement of the washing machine doesn’t remain the same throughout the cycle. 

The start and spin cycles require more wattage than the rinse cycles. 

In this case, you should install a generator capable of withstanding the surge power requirement of the washing machine. 

An appliance like a refrigerator requires more wattage when it starts, and the wattage requirement will become constant as it starts running, referred to as the running wattage.

But washing machines don’t have the constant requirement of wattage that varies according to the cycle. 

You have to consider all these three safety precautions before installing a generator. 

All three factors are crucial for preventing the appliances and you from hazards.

Can a 3500-watt generator run a washing machine?

As I mentioned earlier, you must calculate the wattage requirements of your washing machine to know precisely how much wattage of the generator would suit your appliance. 

Generally, a 3500-wattage generator will be great to run your washing machine.

If your washing machine can run with 2000 wattage, you can run other low-energy consumption applications with this 3500-wattage generator.

Tips for using a Washing Machine with a generator

While connecting your washing machine with a generator, ensure you follow these tips, which I found useful.

Switch on the eco-cycle option

Eco-cycle option is the beneficial feature that comes with the new washing machines.

This feature lets the washing machines use less wattage and reduces the water consumption of the washing machine. 

Ensure to switch on the eco-cycle option before connecting it to the generator.

Cut down the hot water supply.

In the case of the old machines, disconnect the hot water lines supplying hot water to the washing machines.

In contrast with the new machines, connect only the cold water pipelines. 

The washing machine consumes less wattage when connected to the generator.

Inspect your drains

When your washer drain is clogged, it will take extra time to expel and supply the water.

In such a case, it will have longer cycles and will require extra wattage overloading a generator. 

Fix if your drains are damaged before connecting them to the generator.

Don’t overload the washing machine.

When running a washing machine with a generator, avoid overloading the machine, resulting in longer cycles.

It will let the washing machine consume more power and wattage.

Can the washing machine run on an inverter?

You can run your washing machine with the inverter but make sure the inverter you install should handle the wattage requirement of your washing machine.

You should consider that the inverter must have 30% extra wattage than the washing machine’s running wattage to withstand the watts requirement during the surge power.

Let’s assume that you have a small washing machine that requires 650 wattages.

Then you must purchase the inverter with 800 to 1200 watts. 

Inverters power up washing machines during the power outage with the help of batteries.

Like the factors needed to consider while installing the generator, you must consider the following factors when installing the inverter.

The two important factors are wattage and a load of appliances you plan to connect with the inverter.

Make sure the inverter meets the wattage requirement of your washing machine. 

For example, if the wattage requirement of your washing machine is 1000 watts, then you need to install an inverter of 1500 watts, as discussed earlier. 

Worry not if you are confused about using inverter washing machines with the inverter during a power outage.

You can also use the inverter washer with the inverter.

Checklist of safety precautions while using a generator with the washing machine

Generators are essential appliances that you should handle safely.

Here are some safety precautions you must ensure while using it. 

  • Keep your generators in a ventilated area. When you install the generators in closed areas like the basement, carbon monoxide glasses fill up the area and start spreading across.
  • Keep your generators 10 feet away from your home, and point the exhaust pipe towards the non-residential area. 
  • If your generator is portable, keep them secured with hold when not in use. Because sometimes it might move automatically, resulting in an accident. Avoid installing these on bumpy surfaces to prevent them from accidental slips.
  • Secure the power cord of the generator. Sometimes people slip off the power cord, damaging the power outlet. To avoid this, you can attach a warning label to alert people about the generator path.
  • Safe your generator from moisture. It will damage your appliance. Avoid installing your generator near stagnant water, leading to an electric shock hazard.
  • If the water creeps into the generator, it will put your generator in a faulty condition.
  • Don’t make the mistake of overloading your generator with many appliances. If you overload the generator, it will heat the generator. It will result in short circuits, damaged diodes, and blown fuses.
  • If you attach your generator directly to the mains, it will lead to damage and electricity hazards.
  • Instead of attaching the generator directly to the mains, connect the transfer switch. It would be best if you considered seeking the help of a professional while connecting the transfer switch.
  • Inspect the electric cord of your generator regularly. If you see any damages consider replacing it with a new one. Use a quality power cord instead of a poor-quality cable. As far as I heard, OEM-manufactured cables are performing well. 
  • Install the proper grounding connection for your generator. 
  • Install ground fault circuit interrupters to prevent electric shock.
  • Sometimes your generator will heat up. During those times, don’t fill the fuel in the tank. If the fuel spills accidentally, it will lead to a fire. 
  • Keep the extra fuel far away from the generator. 
  • Be cautious not to keep flammable objects near the generator as it will lead to hazards. 

Final thoughts

While running the washing machine with a generator, ensure that it can handle the power surge of the washer. 

Before connecting the generator with a washing machine, consider referring to the three important factors you need to take care of, as I mentioned in the article.

Never attempt to overload your generator beyond its capacity. It will lead to an electric shortage, causing hazards. 

Follow the safety precautions I listed in the article to safeguard yourself from facing unexpected issues.

Also read:

Reference: Electricity Use Calculator, APPLIANCE STANDARDS AWARENESS PROJECT.

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Jeniffer Smith

Hi, I am Jeniffer Smith, a housemaker and blogger, and I grew up in Shrewsbury, Massachusetts. I have been researching and fixing appliances and other things around the home and kitchen from a young age to help my single mother. Every time something went wrong, I couldn't rest until I fixed it. And ever since, I have enjoyed fixing things around my home, and I am always ready to help my friends and family with advice and hands-on help. Since we were always looking for affordable ways of fixing things, we rarely hired experts and tried to fix most things ourselves. That interest brought me to write for this blog, as I realized my knowledge could help many people trying to fix things around their homes on their own without spending hundreds of dollars.

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