How to Start a Generator By Following The Right Steps

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Are you going to set up your new generator for the very first time? Do consider the fact that it needs a good break-in time. You have to allow your new portable generator or you can face any serious damage. The question here is, do you know how to start a generator for the first time? 

It’s important that you know how to operate it in the right manner so that you can avoid running into mishaps.

This step by step guide will help you know exactly how to start your generator and what other things you need to keep in mind.

Your Generator Needs A Break-in Period:

In order to give a longer life to your generator, you have to follow some guidelines for a better new start.

Give some more value to your purchase by letting it run or afterward changing the oil. it will help the oil to circulate all over the moving parts that will result in a smooth run and decrease the chances of any damage. 

A new engine can cause a break off of its tiny metal pieces that can give wear to your new engine.

So, have a careful read of the step by step details of Breaking In your Generator.

A Step By Step Guide On How To Start Your Generator For The First Time

It does take a few hours of your time but the process for properly breaking in a generator is quite easy, even if you don’t know much about engines. Follow these steps and your generator should be working well for years to come.

1. Arrange Essential Supplies:

It’s always a good idea to keep all essentials with you before going to break in your generator.

Most importantly you may need

  • Oil
  • Gas
  • Oil conditioner

The high-octane gasoline is the best as a gas fuel.

Oil plays a significant role in the longevity of the engine so you must buy the oil recommended in the generator’s manual.

An oil conditioner can help a new engine to start smoothly. A dry start can cause wear to the engine so it’s recommended to use an oil conditioner with oil.

This combination can even help your generator remain safe while it’s not in use for a long time. Conditioners will help the oil to stick to the walls that will prevent it from harsh weather conditions.

2. Lubricate the Engine:

For the lubrication process, remove the spark plug. Start pouring oil conditioner into the spark plug by using a funnel. 

Lubrication will ensure a safe operation so, avoid pulling the cord without lubrication. Now start pulling the cord nearly 8 to 10 times so that the piston can move up and down in the lubricated cylinder.

3. Pour in the oil:

See the manual for pouring the right amount of the oil. First, add some oil conditioner into the crankcase. Use a funnel to pour in the oil in the generator.

4. Fill the fuel:

Next, the step is to fill the tank with gas. You should use the highest-grade gasoline.

5. Set to start

Set the vent by switching it to the on position. Push the choke now. Start pulling the cord.

It may take some extra pulls for its first operation.

5. Break-in time:

The first attempt: Let your generator run for one hour at a low speed. After this, you need to pour in motor oil before going to run for another 60 minutes.

In order to clarify the generator from small breakouts, drain the oil.

Second attempt: Before going to start it up again fill the oil and let it run for another 60 minutes at no load. Repeat the step of changing the oil.

Always remember to add an oil conditioner with each oil change process.

The final attempt: Repeat all the process once again for the third time. Adding some load to it this time is a good practice. You should allow a load of around 500W.

Good break-in time is over and you can use it safely at any time. 

Tips To Run The Generator Smoothly:

  • After getting familiar with how to start your generator we need to know how to keep it running smoothly and what precautionary measures we have to take before starting it to save the engine and its performance.
  • Check the generators fuel level
  • Check the generators oil level
  • Check the air filter for clean and smooth operation
  • Keep the circuit breaker off before starting
  • Flip on the fuel valve just before starting the generator

How to Start A Generator:

Now you have successfully broken in the engine and checked all the safety measures START your generator by switching on the key. Let it run for a few warm-up minutes and then power on the supply by flipping on the circuit breaker. And connect your devices or home appliances.

The Best Place To Keep Your Generator

After reading about How to start a generator, the placement of your generator is also very important. This ensures the safety of your family and work crew and also determines the life of the generator.

Never under any circumstances should a generator be kept indoors. This is because of the production of a hazardous gas produced by the exhaust of the generator’s engine. The gas accumulation inside the house can lead to suffocation and ultimately death.


  • Keep the generator at least 20 feet away from your house. 
  • Do not keep the generator in the basement and especially in a room with closed doors and windows.
  • The installation of a carbon dioxide detector can be a lifesaver.
  • Keep in mind the safety of your neighbors’ house as well.

It is important to keep the generator far away from the house, RV, trailer, etc. It is preferable to keep it in your lawn, back yard or other well-ventilated areas. This is so that the possibility of the gas entering the house accompanied by the strong winds of the storms and hurricanes can be eliminated. 

Furthermore, keeping it anywhere near the window or door is also not a good option as the indoor temperature is different from the outdoor. This may inevitably result in the suction of the exhaust fumes inside the house.

The generator comes along with a user’s manual with important instructions. After reading the portion of How to start a generator, make sure to read the text under the heading precautions.

Keep yourself informed of the possible symptoms if you inhale carbon monoxide. You may feel dizzy, weak, nauseated, etc. In such conditions evacuate to a place with fresh air.

Keep Away From Moisture

Make sure the area around which the generator is placed does not have any electrical equipment nearby and is away from moisture. A short circuit can lead to a big explosion. Do not keep the fuel container near the generator in case any incident takes place.

If you want the generator to work a long time and save your cost for a replacement then make sure you follow a few precautions. Keep your generator in a cool and dry area so that the metal body of the generator does not rust. It is better to buy a generator cover and store it in your garage when you think it will not come in use for a long time.

How To Give Out Connections?

It is best to do research on How to start a generator and How to give out connections before buying a generator. The internet, manual guides, and customer support can be a great source of help. 

To connect your new generator to your home, a transfer switch is the best means to do so. It connects the generator to the main electrical panel instead of connecting the generator with each appliance and device you want to use in case of a power disruption.

The installation of a transfer switch will simply and directly connect the generator to your home. It will not only relieve you of the hassle but also keep your generator safe from the damage done by the back feed.

An alternate method is by connecting the appliances with an extension cord. However, not every item can be connected in this way such as a furnace and pumps. Therefore, a transfer switch is a better option.

Moreover, you can easily manage the power by controlling it however you want.

Transfer switches are automatic. Manual controls switches are also available. They are cheaper as they have lower installation charges.

How Much Power a Generator Can Deliver

Once you know How to start a generator, it is also important to know how much load a generator can take. This depends on the electrical power a generator can deliver which is measured in Watts.

If you own a small generator then it can produce about 3,000 to 4,000 Watts of electricity. This amount is reasonable for a refrigerator, TV, light, and fans to work.

If you need more power then a medium-sized generator is more considerable. It can produce about 5,000 to 6,000 Watts and can power two Air conditioners in addition to what the small generator could power.

A larger sized generator produces about 7,000 to 10,000 Watts which can easily manage the power of everything in a small-sized house.

How Long Can a Generator Run? 

Generally, a generator can run up to 8 hours on a full tank, but it varies according to the condition, use and size of the generator. 

It is better to seek information about How to start a generator and long can it last from an expert or the company’s customer service itself to get a precise idea.

Lastly, if you don’t have a generator and are wanting to buy one then read this detailed generator guide.