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How to Use Washing Machines With a Generator

Billy Ray

When the power goes out, you can still wash your clothes by powering your electric washing machine with a portable home generator. The generator supplies the power needed for most household appliances as it converts the power from its motor into an electrical charge ready for use. The amount of power it is capable of producing is determined in watts. A standard clothes washing machine is powered by this current in the same way as any other appliance. Use a heavy-duty extension cord that's rated for outdoor use and can carry the watts or amps required by the washing machine.

Most electric washing machines are easily powered by a generator.
  1. Place the generator outdoors, away from windows or doors, under an open canopy or another protective cover that is well-ventilated. Fuel the unit according to the directions in the owner's manual.

  2. Start the generator according to the manufacturer's instructions. Let the generator run a few minutes. Verify it is running correctly, according to the instructions.

  3. Unplug any other appliance that may be attached to the generator. Attach the extension cord to the generator according to the manufacturer's instructions. Run it to the washing machine. Attach the washing machine power cord to the extension cord.

  4. Check the generator to ensure it is still operating correctly. Turn on the washing machine to verify that it is pulling sufficient power to operate correctly.

  5. Let the washing machine run a moment to bring its motor up to power. Don't run any other other appliances on the generator while you let the machine bring its motor up to power.