Calculate your Watt Requirements Before you Buy

If you are buying a generator, inverter, or UPS, make sure to calculate your Watt requirements before you purchase or you could be wasting money!






If there is one thing that confuses many consumers who are looking at purchasing a generator, inverter, or UPS, it is how small or large the unit needs to be to meet their needs. After all, homes run on 240V and that's about as far as our knowledge extends when it comes to the electricity in our homes. But when you need to invest in a generator, inverter, or UPS, you need to know the wattage of your appliances to calculate the total wattage and the size of the unit you need to buy.



If you want to run appliances small or large or devices on an alternative power source, calculating how many watts each appliance uses is important in that it allows you to add up the total watts needed for all the appliances and devices you want to power. Knowing the wattage of appliances or devices also helps you to buy ones that use fewer watts. For example, a pedestal fan can operate on anything from 40 watts to 80 watts and if you need to run the fan on alternative power during load shedding, while the 40 watts model may not be as powerful as an 80 watts version, but it uses fewer watts and will reduce the overall total of wattage output from the alternative power source.




What are Watts in Layman's Terms?

Most of us think in volts, or as in 240 volts current that serves our daily needs to run appliances and so on. Electricity is measured in watts, a single unit being one watt of power. Generally speaking, the more powerful the appliance the more watts are required for operation. A good example of this is to look at a microwave. There are all different models, some are 600 watt and others can be 950 watts. The latter cooks food faster but the 600 watts microwave uses fewer watts and will be cheaper. However, if you want to be able to run the microwave during load shedding or power outage and it needs to operate on an alternative power source, the lower wattage microwave will be the better option. 







When you go shopping for a generator, inverter, or UPS, you will notice that the indicated output of the unit is stated in kW or kilowatt. Each kilowatt (kW) indicates 1,000 watts of output and this then tells you that you can run appliances up to a total of 1,000 watts. As the kW increases, so does the number of appliances you can power. That is why it is important to calculate your needs before you rush out to purchase an alternative power supply.





     1,000 watts = 1 kilowatt (1 kW)

1,000 kilowatts = 1 megawatts (mV)







Check the Wattage of Appliances or Devices

To ensure that you purchase the correct power supply to power your appliances or devices, you will need to make a list of everything you want to run on the power supply and make a note of the wattage / watts of each appliance. Once you have a complete list of appliances or devices, you total this up and calculate the total wattage or kW (kilowatts).





Energy efficient appliances are designed to provide the same or more power using less wattage, hence the reason why it makes sense to replace old appliances for energy efficient models.



Some appliances, particularly those with motors or compressors will indicate two wattage ratings. This is due to the fact that an initial surge of watt power is required to start the appliance, and this reduces once the unit is operational. In this instance, the higher rating should be listed.








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