What to know about using my A/C with an inverter generator?
The idea of these small light weight generators is so appealing that they have surged in popularity over the last several years. Many companies are making them and they are not all equal in ability. These generators are rated for both continuous output and peak output but some are very under rated.
The Honda eu2000i and Yamaha EF2000iSv2 are the most popular and arguably the industry standard. These two generators can easily produce more than their rated power to start and run a rooftop AC unit with EasyStart™.
Yamaha’s earlier EF2000iS generator was not as robust though and would overload if pressed to run a 15 to 16 amp air conditioner. We recommend researching reviews, blogs, and RV websites before selecting a generator.
There are still more considerations to take into account. How you will use the generator is just as important. The above mentioned generators are working above their 13.3 amp rating to run an air conditioner. Don’t expect to add any other loads to a single generator while the air conditioner is running.
This means you may need to turn off any powered appliances including the battery charger and refrigerator. Easy solution is to buy a bigger generator but that means more cost and weight. Most people just make do with the limitations, it is camping after all!
Since air gets thinner the higher in elevation you go, altitude also affects the generator, and it will likely not have enough power at or above 4000' to keep your A/C running, even though EasyStart may have been able to start it. Above 4000', you may need to re-jet the carburetor to get the generator motor to produce enough power. Depending on all the altitude and air temperature (i.e. "density altitude"), re-jetting the carburetor may or may not adequately extend your altitude range.
Be aware that running at lower altitudes again will require the jet change again or you risk high combustion temperatures and burned engine components. Honda makes high altitude kits for its generator and some Yamaha dealers can also provide jets for those generators.