BeBest > Home > Gardening & Outdoors

How to Start a Generator: The Starter’s Guide

By Leonard Evans
I am a senior editor at Bebest, where I can share valuable content about convenience in life based on issues related to household devices.

In the case of a power outage, a generator is an absolute necessity. Knowing How to Start a Generator is a useful skill to have whether you’re roughing it in the vast outdoors or dealing with an unforeseen power outage. If you follow the instructions in this manual, you’ll be ready to start your generator whenever you need it. In that case, let’s jump right in and find out how to get your generator functioning in no time at all!

How to Start a Generator: 10 Steps

Start a generator quickly and safely is important if you want to have a steady source of power when you need it. No matter if you’re using a backup power source for your house or a portable generator for outdoor activities, it’s important to know how to start it. In this guide, we’ll show you how to start your generator in 10 easy steps to ensure that your generator starts up smoothly and makes it last longer by using it the right way.

How to Start a Generator in 10 Steps
How to Start a Generator in 10 Steps

Step 1: The Generator’s Instructions Assembly

Before you embark on the journey of start a generator, it’s crucial to familiarize yourself with its components. The generator’s handbook becomes your guiding light here, offering a detailed roadmap for piecing together the various parts. Take the time to comprehend how each element fits into the grand puzzle. A generator that’s methodically assembled not only functions smoothly but also enhances safety by mitigating the risk of mishaps arising from haphazard assembly.

Step 2: Check for Leaks and Damage

Safety should always take center stage, and that’s precisely why a comprehensive inspection of your generator is a non-negotiable initial step. You should look closely at your fuel lines, oil tubes, and any other places that could be weak. Before you try to turn on the generator, you should fix any problems you find. It’s like making sure the foundation of a house is strong before you start building it.

Step 3: Put the Generator Outside

The stage is set, but the location matters. Generators emit a concoction of potentially harmful gases, with carbon monoxide taking the lead role. For your safety and that of others, the spotlight should always be on outdoor placement. Choose a well-ventilated area that allows these noxious gases to dissipate harmlessly into the atmosphere. 

Put the Generator Outside
Put the Generator Outside

Step 4: Check Gas and Oil Levels

Before launching into the startup sequence, ensure that the gas and oil levels are harmoniously attuned to the manufacturer’s specifications. Straying too far from these levels might result in a cacophony of issues, ranging from poor performance to potential damage.

Step 5: Disconnect Generator Cords

In this step, make sure you’ve taken all necessary safety precautions before turning on the generator. Disconnect all the lines that go to your gadgets and tools. This careful step stops rapid bursts of power that could shake your devices and throw them off balance. 

Step 6: Open the Gasoline Valve

If your generator is equipped with this vital feature, take a moment to make sure the valve is in the open position. With a simple twist or lever adjustment, you initiate the journey of fuel from its reservoir to the heart of the engine. This seemingly small action sets the stage for a harmonious ignition, ensuring that the engine is infused with the essential elixir of energy required for a smooth and successful startup. Just as a conductor’s gesture sets the tempo and mood of a symphony, opening the gasoline valve sets the tempo for your generator’s performance, propelling it from stillness to vibrant activity.

Open the Gasoline Valve
Open the Gasoline Valve

Step 7: Turn on the Choke

The choke helps get the right amount of air and fuel into the engine, kind of like adding the right spices to a dish. To start this process, gently move the choke, which is similar to moving the knob on an instrument. This makes sure that the engine starts up without any hesitation, which can happen when engines are cold.

Step 8: Ignite the Engine

For those generators that still use the tried-and-true pull cord, muster all your inner resolve and give the cord a good, solid yank. Alternatively, if your generator is up to date and has a switch, you can use it to control the output. Turning the dial to “On” is like pulling back the curtains on a riveting performance. This is the point at which the engine goes from latent to manifest when it comes to life and begins to work

Step 9: Start the Generator

You now have two choices to choose from in order to give life to the generator and bring it to life. Remember that a pull cord is not a tug-of-war rope, and use a smooth, rhythmic action to ensure a problem-free start. If, on the other hand, your generator has a switch, turning it on is as easy as flipping the switch:

Start the Generator
Start the Generator
  • With Pull Cord: Don’t use too much force, because that could tangle the cord or hurt your arm. Find the way that fits your style and gives you a steady, determined pull.
  • Without a Pull Cord (with Switch): For generators embracing the simplicity of a switch, usher the engine into existence by toggling the switch to the esteemed “On” position. This method often demands less physical exertion and is a smooth route to enlivening the generator.

Step 10: Switch the Choke to RUN

Lastly, move the choke lever carefully to the “Run” position. Think of it like changing the gears in a car to make it work properly. The engine works best when the right amount of air and fuel are mixed together. Changing this is like changing the volume. This last step gets the generator ready to do what it does best, which is to give you a steady stream of power when you need it.

Mastering the skill of starting a backup power supply for your home or a portable generator for outdoor adventures is essential. Here, in detail, are the 10 simple actions that will have your generator up and running in no time. By carefully following these steps, you will not only be able to start your generator with pinpoint accuracy, but you will also be able to keep it running for a longer period of time. 

The Do’s and Don’ts of Starting a Generator

The Do's and Don'ts of Starting a Generator
The Do’s and Don’ts of Starting a Generator

You can avoid common mistakes by following the advice in The Dos and Don’ts of Star a Generator. Dose planning, fuel stockpiling, and careful refilling are all things that should be adhered to. It’s also important to check the power cords frequently and to have the user guide handy. In contrast, the “don’ts” stress the significance of not using the device indoors, not exposing it to water, and not plugging in the power connection at the outset. By following the steps in this manual, you may start your generator with full confidence, protecting yourself and your investment.

The Do’s

  • Plan for Power: Before firing up your generator, take a moment to calculate your power needs. It’s wise to plan for slightly more power than you think you’ll require. Opting for a generator that can produce around 1.5 times the power you actually need ensures that you won’t be pushing it to its limits each time you add a new electrical load. This buffer capacity not only prevents overworking the generator but also extends its lifespan by reducing wear and tear.
  • Stock Up on Fuel: Unexpected events like storms can lead to prolonged power outages. Always have a reserve of fuel on hand to keep your generator running smoothly. You never know when the lights will come back on, and having extra fuel ensures you’ll be prepared for extended periods without electricity.
  • Exercise Caution: Safety should be your top priority when using a generator. Never rush through refueling. Allow the generator to cool down completely and turn it off before adding fuel. Moreover, choose a refueling spot well away from open flames or potential ignition sources to prevent accidents.
  • Maintain Power Cords: Power cords are the lifelines connecting your generator to your devices. Regularly check the power ratings of your cords to make sure they can handle the load you’re putting on them. Proper insulation and grounding are crucial to minimize the risk of electrical shocks. Protect your cords from harsh weather conditions and sunlight, both of which can degrade their quality over time. Always inspect the cables for signs of wear and tear before each use to ensure safe operation.
  • Keep the Manual Handy: Many generator-related problems can be resolved with a quick look at the user manual. Instead of treating it as an afterthought, keep the manual accessible at all times. It’s a helpful tool that can prevent wasted time and money on repairs when dealing with unexpected problems.
The Do's
The Do’s

The Don’ts

  • No Indoor Operation: Never, under any circumstances, operate your generator indoors. The exhaust fumes from a generator contain carbon monoxide, a deadly gas that can accumulate quickly in enclosed spaces. To avoid the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning, position your generator at least 15 feet away from any structures, including your home. If you’re using a covering or enclosure for the generator, ensure it maintains a minimum clearance of 4 feet to allow for proper ventilation.
  • Stay Dry: Electricity and water don’t mix well. Never use your generator in wet or damp environments. Wet conditions increase the risk of electrical shock and damage to both your generator and connected devices. To keep your generator safe and operational, always store it in a dry, covered area and elevate it off the ground to prevent moisture from seeping in.
  • Disconnect Power Cord: When starting your generator, ensure that no power cords are connected to your home’s electrical system. The abrupt surge of power during startup could lead to damage to sensitive electronic devices. Instead, wait until the generator’s engine has stabilized before plugging in any power cords, ensuring a gradual and safe transition of power.
The Don'ts
The Don’ts

By adhering to these guidelines, you’re not only safeguarding yourself and your surroundings but also optimizing the performance and longevity of your generator. Whether you’re facing an unexpected outage or utilizing your generator for recreational purposes, these do’s and don’ts are your trusty companions for ensuring safe, efficient, and reliable generator operation.

Bottom Line

The process of learning How To Start a Generator may sound daunting at first, but with the right information and some experience we have noticed for you in this post, it quickly becomes easier for you – a beginner. Knowing how to start and stop a generator is a valuable skill that will serve you well in any situation, whether you’re braving the vast outdoors or dealing with an unexpected power loss.

Related Articles