How To Turn on Your Generator – Quick Guide

When a storm hits and your electricity goes out, everybody faces the need of using a generator to power their house.

You may have purchased your generator a few years ago and have forgotten how to start it. When a blackout strikes the area, you just want your electricity restored as fast as possible.

Keep these instructions handy as a reference guide so you know the basic details of starting a generator when you need it the most.

What is an Electric Start Generator and are They Worth Buying?

Many people overcomplicate electric start generators, although they, like many other generator components, are frequently far simpler than you may believe. An electric start generator is one that does not have a pull cord.

You may power the generator simply by flipping a switch or, in some circumstances, turning a key, and it can be found on a variety of items, including cars and other vehicles. When you do this, a little battery is charged, which then operates your generator. Seems really straightforward, doesn’t it? But do you really need this extra function, or can you get by with a basic pull cord instead?

Read It: Can a Generator Run in the Rain?

What is an Electric Start Generator and are They Worth Buying

Manufacturers, on the other hand, appear to believe that the electric start is a feature worth emphasizing. Many generators, particularly portable types, label themselves as electric start generators, which has caused some misunderstanding, with consumers mistaking them for a whole different type of equipment.

How Does An Electric Start Generator Work?

An electric generator is a device that generates electric energy that may be stored in batteries or immediately delivered to homes, stores, and workplaces, among other places. Electric generators operate on the electromagnetic induction concept. A conductor coil (a tightly wrapped copper coil on a metal core) is quickly rotated between the poles of a horseshoe magnet. The conductor coil and its core are referred to as an armature.

The armature is rotated by connecting it to the shaft of a mechanical energy source such as a motor. Mechanical energy can be supplied by engines that run on fuels such as gasoline, diesel, natural gas, and so on, or by renewable energy sources such as wind turbines, water turbines, solar-powered turbines, and so on.

When the coil rotates, it cuts the magnetic field that exists between the magnet’s two poles. The magnetic field will interact with the electrons in the conductor, causing an electric current to flow through it.

Check This Guide: How Does a Generator Work


TIP: Replace any gas that has been in the unit for more than six months. After each usage, run the generator until the old gas is depleted, or add a fuel stabilizer.

  1. Inspect the fuel tank for the proper amount of gasoline. Allow 1 1/2-inch between the top of the tank and the gasoline line to prevent spills or excessive pressure. Check the machine’s manufacturer’s specifications.
  2. Remove the oil cover and dipstick, then wipe away the old oil. Dip the cap in again, this time all the way, and draw it out. The oil level on the dipstick will be visible. If your machine lacks a dipstick, fill the oil level to the point where you can touch the oil with your finger.
  3. Move the generator to a well-ventilated location, with the exhaust pipe pointing away from the house. This keeps carbon monoxide poisoning at bay. Maintain a safe distance between the exhaust and the windows and doors.
  4. Set the fuel valve to the “On” position, which is normally vertical.
  5. Pull the choke all the way to the “On” position. Extend it all the way.
  6. Turn on the generator by pressing the control switch to the “On” position, or pull the cable to start it if it has an electric start. Once the generator has started, insert the choke.

How To Turn On Your Generator

  • Turn the fuel valve on – Turn on the gasoline valve. When the fuel valve is opened, fuel flows to the carburetor to assist the generator in starting.
  • Turn to choke on – Shift the choke rod to the left. This makes it simpler for the engine to start.
  • Turn ignition (or engine switch) on – To start the engine on many generators, you must flip a switch. This is effectively an engine switch that will activate prior to pulling the recoil cord. If your generator has an electric start button, you can utilize that instead of the recoil cord technique described below. If the electric starter does not operate, it is possible that your battery is dead. To address this issue, use a trickle charger to charge the battery.
  • Pull recoil cord – When you pull the recoil cord, the engine begins to run. Pull the recoil cord until you feel some resistance, then let it go. If the engine does not start, pull the starter cord again.
  • After the engine starts, move the engine choke to “run” – You can return the choke to the “run” position after the engine has been running for a few seconds.

Pro Tip: If the engine does not start, adjust the choke to “half-run” and re-pull the recoil cord.

Read This: How to Connect Generator to House without Transfer Switch

Connecting Your Generator to Your Home

Allow the generator to operate for a few minutes before connecting any cables. Also, make certain that your circuit breakers are switched on. You may begin connecting it to the home after it has run for 3-5 minutes. There are a few options for regaining power:

Connecting Your Generator to Your Home

1. Extension cords

When using an extension cord, it’s critical that it’s the correct gauge. The larger gauge extension cables are designed for light-duty appliances, while the lower gauge extension cords are designed for heavy-duty appliances.

A light-duty, 16-gauge extension cord would do if you’re powering anything like Christmas lights or a lamp. However, most items that would be plugged into a generator would be a fire danger with these low-duty connections.

Most goods require a heavy-duty, 12-gauge extension chord or an extra heavy-duty 10-gauge extension cord. A 10-gauge extension cord, for example, would be excellent for your refrigerator.

Read This Article: How to Make a Generator Quiet

2. Convenience cords

A basic convenience cord, which allows you to plug in many objects at once, is another alternative. Instead of connecting individual appliances to the generator, you connect this cord, stretch it to where the majority of your appliances are located, and connect several appliances from there.

3. Through-the-wall kit

You can power your indoor appliances without having to run wires outdoors with a through-the-wall kit for your portable generator.

To connect an indoor power panel to an outside power input box, just drill a hole through the wall. Then, using a power cord, connect your generator to the outside power input box. Finally, connect your inside appliances to the indoor power panel, and the generator will power them.

Through-the-wall kit

4. Power Cord & Transfer Switch

Finally, a manual transfer switch with a generator power connection might be used. This alternative may take a little longer to set up and may cost extra upfront. In the long term, though, it makes operating your generator a lot easier and faster.

Instead of requiring extension cables to power individual appliances, a transfer switch lets you power key loads in your home’s circuit panel.

As a consequence, you may utilize generator electricity to power hard-wired products in your home, such as a ceiling fan. As a result, a generator power cable is a convenient and long-term option.

Power cables are available in a variety of amperage ratings, including 20-Amp, 30-Amp, and 50-Amp. Choose a generator power cable that corresponds to the most powerful outlet on your generator.

So, if your outlet is 50 amps, you’ll need a 50 amp wire. When you look at the cord, you’ll see that the two ends are different. The “male” end has a protruding straight-blade plug. That end of the wire will be plugged into the generator. The “female” end is a connection that will slot into your home’s power input box.

Tips To Run The Generator Smoothly

After learning how to start your generator, you’ll want to know how to maintain it operating smoothly and what precautions you should take before starting it to protect the engine and its performance.

  • Check the generator’s fuel level
  • Check the generator’s oil level
  • Inspect the air filter for clean and smooth running
  • Turn off the circuit breaker before starting the generator
  • Turn on the fuel valve right before starting the generator

Read More: How to Hook Up a Generator to Your House?

How to Start A Generator

You’ve now successfully broken in the engine and double-checked all of the safety precautions. TURN ON YOUR GENERATOR BY TURNING THE KEY. Allow it to warm up for a few minutes before turning on the power supply by flicking the circuit breaker. Connect your gadgets or home appliances as well.

How to Start A Generator

The Best Place To Keep Your Generator

Following on from our discussion on How to Start a Generator, the location of your generator is equally critical. This safeguards the safety of your family and work team while also determining the generator’s lifespan.

A generator should never be housed indoors under any circumstances. This is due to the emission of harmful gas from the generator’s engine’s exhaust. The buildup of gas within the house might cause asphyxia and, eventually, death.


  • Keep the generator at least 20 feet away from your house
  • Do not store it in the basement, especially not in a room with closed doors and windows.
  • Installing a carbon dioxide monitor can save your life.
  • Consider the safety of your neighbors’ homes as well.

Check It: How To Build a Portable Generator Enclosure

It is critical to keep the generator away from the house, RV, trailer, and other structures. It is best to keep it on your lawn, backyard, or in other well-ventilated settings. This is done to avoid the potential of gas entering the house along with the powerful winds of storms and hurricanes.

How To Run on Your Generator – FAQs

Why does my generator not start?
If the carburetor is blocked, the fuel valve is probably jammed as well. Check that the fuel and vacuum relief valves located above the generator’s gas tank are both open. If your generator still won’t start, unhook the fuel line and see if gasoline can flow through it.
What is the common problem of generator?
Neglected maintenance is the most prevalent generator issue. Consider the engine on an industrial generator to be the same as the engine in your automobile. It is commonly understood that there will be issues if the engine’s components are not checked for wear and tear in addition to preventative maintenance.
How long can you leave gas in a generator?
Depending on a variety of conditions, untreated gasoline can survive anywhere from one to six months in a generator’s fuel tank. Gas can normally be stored in a gas tank for six months or more, but generator gas tanks are not as airtight, so the gasoline oxidizes and degrades faster.
How Much Power a Generator Can Deliver?
Once you understand how to start a generator, you must also understand how much load a generator can withstand. This is determined by the amount of electrical power that a generator can produce, which is measured in Watts. If you have a modest generator, it can produce between 3,000 and 4,000 Watts of power. This amount is sufficient to power a refrigerator, TV, light, and fans. If you want additional power, a medium-sized generator is preferable. It has a capacity of 5,000 to 6,000 Watts and can run two air conditioners in addition to the tiny generator. A bigger generator produces around 7,000 to 10,000 Watts, which is sufficient to power everything in a modest house.
How Long Can a Generator Run?
A generator may typically operate for up to 8 hours on a full tank, however, this varies depending on the condition, use, and size of the generator. To acquire an exact understanding, get information about How to Start a Generator and How Long Can It Last from an expert or the company’s customer care.


To Sum Up

To guarantee that your electricity generator runs efficiently, make sure you follow the proper protocol while turning it on. This article describes how to start a generator.

Use these instructions as a general starting guide for your generator.

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