This is where many have purchased a portable generator to accommodate this requirement, but are often confused or uncertain on how to use it properly. If you have recently purchased a portable generator and, even after reading the manufacturer’s instructions you are not sure how to use it, then by following these simple instructions you will have power to you home, camper or other location operating in a reasonable amount of time with minimal effort.
First is to note, a portable generator will not power an entire house. For this amount of power, a permanent whole house generator would be a necessary purchase. But having a portable generator to replace power that is down due to unforeseen circumstances will help alleviate the frustration, save your perishable items, and may be life saving if medical equipment needs to have a continuous source of electricity.
—–Read all manufactures instructions and warnings thoroughly—–
Set your generator in a proper out door location where it is sheltered from the elements, but will have proper intake and exhaust for the motor. Remember that the burning of fuel in the engine produces toxic carbon monoxide gas that is deadly to both humans and animals. Keep all items at least three feet away from the motor, as it will heat up during normal operation posing a potential fire hazard.
Check your fuel and oil levels before starting the machine. If possible fill the fuel tank up to avoid having to make a return trip to do this sooner than is necessary. Many tanks on a generator will operate for at least four to five hours on one full tank of gas so filling this from the beginning of operation saves you a trip out to refuel in inclement weather.
Check your oil levels as stated in the manufacturer’s instructions. Often this requires removing the fill cap which may hold a dip stick on the other end. This stick is marked to show the level of oil in the motor and needs to be check before starting the engine as a running motor will give a false reading. If oil is needed, add slowly checking it several times until the maximum level has been reached. Note: use only the oil type recommended by the manufacturer of the motor.
If you are starting this generator after an extended time in storage, or after a time of prolonged use, then you need to check the air filter as well. The motor takes in air as part of the combustion process and the filter is needed to filter out dust and debris to insure the air taken into the generator is pure. If this filter is dirty refer to the owners manual for proper cleaning or replacement instructions. If in an emergency you find you have a dirty filter, you can often clean it with a stiff brush, or if it is truly a matter of life and death, you can run your motor without one, but this procedure may void and warranty and coverage on your motor.
Next you will want to turn you circuit breaker on the generator off. This will prevent potential electrocution and will decrease initial drag on the engine as it warms up to it’s running speed. On some older models there may not be a switch for this purpose, if that is the case, simply unplug all of the extension cords that have been inserted into the generator.
Turn on the fuel . Many times this is often an area of user frustration where they pull and pull but the motor will not start. But remember to not turn on the fuel until you are ready to start the motor as this can cause potentially hazardous fumes to develop.
Turn on the power switch. On many larger models this switch will also serve as the key to power the starter to start the engine. On many smaller models you will need to pull start your engine. To accomplish this task you will need to press in the ball plunger to force fuel into the motor then turn on the carburetor choke. Pull your starting cord forcefully to start your motor. This may take several attempts if your motor is cold or an older model.
After the generator has started, let it warm up for a couple of minutes until it runs at an even throttle. After this has occurred turn your circuit breaker or power switch to the on position or plug the extension cords back in to their appropriate locations.
Now your generator is running and supplying power to the area where you need it. But if you are going to need to keep it in operation for an extended amount of time, then refueling will become necessary. If you need to do this then first you need to let the motor on the generator cool down for several minutes.
Adding fuel to a hot generator can be dangerous if any spilled fuel comes in contact with the hot motor. This could result in the fuel igniting creating a potentially dangerous situation. Another note: DO NOT STORE YOUR GASOLINE NEXT TO A RUNNING GENERATOR.
When you are done using your generator unplug all cords and store them in their proper locations. Turn the power circuit off and the fuel valve into the closed position to avoid any fuel leakage during storage.
A few words of caution when operating a portable generator:
- NEVER USE A PORTABLE GENERATOR INDOORS
- NEVER OPERATE YOUR GENERATOR IN RAINY OR WET LOCATIONS
- NEVER PLUG A PORTABLE GENERATOR DIRECTLY INTO A WALL OUTLET
Following these simple precautions will allow you to operate your generator safely and easily. By taking the time before an emergency to go over your generator will save you much frustration in the future.