How to buy, operate and maintain portable generators!

Portable generators have become immensely popular power providers in special times of need. They are excellent temporary companions during sudden power outages as well as they are great to have during outdoor trips or activities.

Portable generators as a necessity

Back when generators were prominent, only a select few were capable of both buying and putting them into good use. They are quite noisy, exude toxic gas, and are extremely heavy for the normal person to transport. It wasn’t too much of a problem for companies and buildings to use them as they were capable of handling the equipment altogether, but it was for normal people.

  • Potential and portability

With the innovation of portable generators, a lot of homeowners are becoming more familiar with the equipment and the demand for such is steadily increasing due to its potential for the normal household. People who live in outage-vulnerable places are some of the target markets that portable generators have effectively serviced, providing temporary power in case of need.

Outdoor activities can also be powered up with portable generators, especially when the outlets are too far from where you’re working. The beauty of portability is that you can also bring the generator on outdoor trips if you opt to have extra power for your devices.

Buying the perfect portable generator


There’s a huge difference to just owning a portable generator compared to having a portable generator you researched beforehand. It’s vital to understand what something is and how it works especially if you’re going to use it during important circumstances. Fortunately, we’ve got a few tips to help you find that perfect portable generator.

Tips on buying a portable generator

  1. Does it fit your budget?

There is a wide range of prices for portable generators depending on its features and capabilities. Some portable generators can go as low as $400 while some as high as $2,000. If you think that you only need the basic components of a portable generator, then you could opt for the more affordable options that are just enough for where you’ll use it and your budget.

  1. Where do you live?

The place you’ll use the portable generator is also a good consideration as you may need a sturdier generator if you live near rocky areas where you might need to transport and move the portable generator constantly or if you’ll just be using the generator at a near and flat area.

  1. Where will you use it?

Also, consider where you’ll be using the portable generator. You might opt to just use it during emergencies so you may buy a normal portable generator, or you may need a sturdier or lighter one if you would be bringing it constantly during outdoor trips.

  1. Particular about its fuel?

Although normal portable generators work fine on normal fuel, there are certain generators that have a tri-fuel tank, allowing natural gas, propane, and gasoline to be used on them. This feature makes it more flexible and fitting for users who tend to buy different types of fuel at home.

  1. How much power do you need?

You must also check whether the generator wattage you’re eyeing for is ample enough for what you’ll be using it for later on. Do you need one that runs at 6,000 watts or one at 8,000? Again this depends on where you’ll use it and how much you’ll actually need for consumption.

  1. Is noise acceptable?

Some neighbors might find the noise from portable generators as too much and may complain whenever you use it. Fortunately, these portable generators have varying levels of noise depending on the product. With that, you still have options to choose from if that is the main consideration for you.

Operating your portable generator


  • How does a portable generator exactly run?

Portable generators all have the basic components needed for it to work properly. To note, there are about 5 primary parts:

  1. Starter

– Rotates the internal combustion engine to initiate its flow towards continuous use.

  1. Internal combustion engine

– It mainly generates power through the burning of fuel placed inside the fuel tank as the engine works.

  1. Alternator

 – Responsible for converting electricity current for safe use towards household items.

  1. Fuel Tank

– Where the fuel needed for the portable generator is placed.

  1. Outlets

– allow electronic devices to be connected to the generator.

To start the generator, the fuel tank must be filled with the specific fuel it needs unless it is a tri-fuel type. Afterward, the starter provides the initial kick for the generator to wake up and run. The internal combustion engine then gets the power it needs to work self-sufficiently from the tank’s fuel. The alternator then creates safe power for consumption by appliances through its multiple outlets.

  • Power and Wattage

Knowing how it works, isn’t enough though. You also have to take note of the power needed per device that you plan on attaching to it. Usually, it isn’t that big of a concern on small electronic devices, but larger appliances need to be checked as there are two types of power from the generator, starting watts and running watts.

Every portable generator has starting watts that surge to get appliances started. There are some appliances that need a large starting power to operate smoothly and this is its importance. Running watts, usually considerably lower than the starting wattage, is the continuous power provided to maintain the electricity.

Here are a few examples of appliances and their starting and running wattage:

Electronic applianceStarting Watts Running Watts
75-W Light bulb060
1/3 HP Sump pump1,300800
10,000 BTU Window AC3,6001,200
Washing Machine2,2501,150
Security System0500
AM/FM Radio0100

Safety and Maintenance


As it mainly relies on fuel and electricity, portable generators require a considerable amount of care for safety and maintenance. There are a few safety precautions you should take note of when using the equipment for it to function properly and avoid malfunctions.

Through all of its potentials, there are still dangers associated with portable generators. The exhaust from the generator produces deadly carbon monoxide, a recipe for poisoning. Electrocution is also probable especially if you left it outside and it rains heavily. Overloading also causes great harm on the generator’s engine.

With this, it is very important to make sure that you pay close attention to your portable generators to avoid potential problems where proper precaution could have avoided.

  • Dos

  1. Read everything about the specific product you have.
  2. Only use portable generators outside the house.
  3. Store it in a covered, well-ventilated environment to keep it safe from the outside environment.
  4. Have backup fuel especially in times where storms are forecasted to hit your area and in times where power outages are expected to occur.
  5. When outdoors, keep it reasonably placed away from where you will stay.
  6. When camping, keep it away from the tent and make sure it is shut off before sleeping.
  7. Attach the ground wire to ensure that it is properly grounded and safe from electrocuting nearby people.
  8. When refueling, shut the generator down and let it cool for 15 minutes before adding fuel again.
  • Don’ts

  1. Never run portable generators indoors, or even at garages. Gas may come in and cause poisoning.
  2. Don’t try to run it over an environment with severe weather conditions.
  3. Don’t refuel a running generator.
  4. Never connect a generator directly to the house socket.
  5. Don’t overload cords attached to a generator to avoid potential burning.
  6. Never use faulty, loose, or defective extension cords to avoid damage.
Philip Moffitt

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