What all can you run to create a full load when exercising a generator? It’s 5 degrees out, so will running the AC create adequate load? —Kathleen, 2020 Coachmen Beyond
I would not run the roof air conditioners when it’s 5 degrees out as you could have some freezing if it’s a ducted system. Instead, I would get two of the ceramic floor heaters and plug them into two different outlet lines. Outlets by a water source will be connected to a GFCI with the test/reset button on one of the outlets either in the kitchen or bathroom. The others are connected but do not have the button.
Typically they have a GFCI sticker but they sometimes don’t stay on. All these outlets are ganged together and if you plug two of the ceramic heaters into the same line, it will typically overload the outlets. The other outlets in the bedroom and usually the living room are on a separate circuit. You can test it by hitting the test button on the GFCI outlet and using a tester to verify power to other outlets.
A typical 1500-watt ceramic heater can draw up to 12 amps, so running two will give you enough of a load to exercise the generator. Here are some other appliances and what they will draw.
- Television: 1.5-4.0
- Radio: 0.5-1.5
- Computer: 0.5-1.0
- Converter: 4.0-6.0
One way to exercise the generator
What several owners do in the winter to exercise the generator is plug in two ceramic heaters and turn on the TV to watch a prerecorded show or over-the-air program. The ceramic heaters will get to approximately 25 amps, the television could add a few more, and with the generator running and providing 120-volt power to the distribution center it also powers the converter which charges your batteries.
If the batteries are low, the charger will provide 13.6-volts DC power until the batteries are fully charged, at which time it will go to a float charge of 13.2-volts DC. That means the converter will draw enough to get a load.
To get specific amp draw numbers, you can find the data plate on the appliances which will give you watts and do the math.
Amps = Watts/Volts
Or you can use a Kill-A-Watt device and plug the appliance in to determine what it draws.
And, if you have a Surge Guard surge protector it will do all the math for you.
You might also enjoy this from Dave
I can’t exercise my generator as usual. What should I do?
We store our RV inside over the winter and do not have access to it for 4 months. We are wondering what problems we might expect from our generator. Normally, we try to start it every 30–60 days and put a load on it for 15–20 minutes. But with the new inside storage we do not have that option. Your suggestions? —Bradley
Dave Solberg is a leading expert in the RV industry and the author of the “RV Handbook.”
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