It’s that of the year when you have to get ready for the harsh weather. You just bought your first generator, and you’re about to give it its first run. Where do you start?
A generator will arrive empty – no fuel, oil, and some parts might be missing too. If you try to crank it right away, it won’t start. You have to get it ready before you can attempt to start it. What do you need to do?
- Assemble (if needed)
- Add Oil
- Add Fuel (Gasoline or Diesel)
- Crack the Engine to Start
- If it uses an electric starter, ensure the battery is connected.
These steps have to be done right if you want your generator to start with the first trial. I have summarized the process to give you a glimpse of how easy it is to start the generator the first time. Read along to know what you’ve to do at every stage.
How Do You Start a Generator for the First Time? – Simple Steps
When you buy a generator, it will arrive at you empty – no fuel and no oil. And even though it will be empty, the fuel tank might leak some gasoline smell when you open it, and the oil plug or the dipstick might have some oil on it. That’s because the manufacturer has to test the generator before releasing it to you, the consumer.
When the generator package arrives, you have to unbox it and start getting it ready for the first spin. You have to check the user manual before attempting anything and making sure there are no missing parts. Now that you have confirmed everything is available, you can the process of starting your generator.
Safety Tips to Remember Before You Can Start Your Generator for the First Time
Place your generator outdoors and at least 10-feet away from any doors and windows. Why? Generators burn fuel and produce CO fumes. They are dangerous and can kill you in minutes. Placing the generator a distance from your house will ensure they don’t find their way inside your home. You MUST NEVER use the generator in an enclosed room.
Do not connect any appliance to the generator whatsoever until the generator starts. Connecting the load before starting the generator risks your appliances from getting damaged by the voltage fluctuation. It can also prevent the generator from starting or even cause damage to the generator alternator.
Determine the type of fuel your generator uses. Most portable generators use either gasoline, propane, or both. There are, however, some that use diesel, just like standby generators. Understanding this will prevent
Use the correct type of oil as recommended in the generator manual. Do not substitute with another type as doing so can lead to engine damages, and also, you can void your warranty.
Don’t refuel or refill the generator when still running or when the engine is hot. Gasoline is high flammable. If you refuel or refill when hot, the gasoline fumes might catch fire and lead to injuries and damages, or even death.
Best Way to Start a Generator for the First Time
Assemble the Necessary Parts, If Any
There is a chance you won’t even need to assemble your generator, especially if it’s a smaller model with no extra parts. It’d be best to be sure that there are no missing parts by consulting your user manual.
Sometimes, the generator might come with the plug not connected but provided in the package. You will need to use the generator manual to locate the spark plug spot. Using the provided spark plug wrench fits it to position and connect the plug wire to it.
If your generator had a portability kit in its description, it’d be provided separately, and you’ll need to assemble it.
Use the generator manual to locate the fuel drain for your generator. Mostly, it’s a small yellowish or orange oil plug or dipstick located on the generator engine.
For an inverter generator, you have to open a side panel to access it. But, with the conventional generators, it’s openly accessible.
Before adding the oil, make sure you have the correct type of oil. Check the user manual for the type of oil recommended for your generator. Most of the portable generators use the 10W-30.
Also, don’t forget to check the amount of oil to use -you will want to avoid overfilling the engine with oil as it could chock it.
Open the tank and use a funnel to pour the oil into the engine. Do it in phases to prevent spilling and overfilling. Use the oil dipstick to check its level.
For the Honda EU2000s, you will want to spray some lighter fluid or brake cleaner directly to the hole under the air filter before closing the side panel. The fluid facilitates faster starting.
You’ll need clean, fresh gasoline that’s high on octane levels (over 85%) and low on ethanol contents (less than 10%). Please do not mix it with oil unless it’s mentioned in the user manual.
Wipe out the fuel tank cap area and open it. Slowly add the gasoline and don’t overfill it – you can leave a quarter-inch space to act as an expansion allowance.
Close the fuel tank and wipe any spilled fuel away while setting the fuel vent on the fuel tank cap to open.
Set the Fuel Valve to Open
Move the fuel valve to the ON mark to allow the gasoline to flow into the engine. You can use the user manual to locate it if you don’t know what it looks like.
Set the Choke to the ON position
Move the chock to the ON position as well. It ensures enough gasoline is passing through to the engine. However, you will need to set it back to the OFF position after the motor starts to stabilize the engine speed.
Turn ON the Ignition or Engine Switch and Pull the Recoil Cord
Most generators will require you to turn on the ignition switch before you can pull the recoil cord. Once it’s in the ON position, you can crank it.
The generator might take more than one pull to start. You can try setting the Choke to ‘half run’ and try pulling the cord again.
If your generator uses an electric start, you can use it to start it instead of the recoil cord. If you press the ignition button or turn on the ignition key and nothing is happening, the battery might be disconnected or dead. If the battery is connected, you will need to use a trickle charger to charge it.
Once the Engine Starts, Set the Choke to ‘RUN’ or ‘Off’
As I mentioned earlier, when the generator starts, move the Choke to the ‘off’ or ‘Run’ position to allow more air and less fuel into the engine. Once you start the generator, you can hook up the load or hook it up to your home.
Use the right cords, and make sure you don’t back-feed your home utility. You can install a generator transfer switch to prevent this problem.
My Generator Turns on But No Power – What’s the Problem?
If it’s a new generator, the circuit breakers might be popped out. You will want to make sure they are depressed. And if your generator has GFCI-protected outlets, make sure they are in reset position and not test mode.
Can I Use Any Cord With My Generator?
Not really! It would be best if you had a generator cord that matches the outlet amperage. You will also need to consider the length from the generator to the generator inlet box.
Start Your Generator Right the First Time
Starting a generator isn’t rocket science; all you need is to get it ready before you can pull the recoil cord or press the ignition key. Start by adding fuel, gasoline and ensuring the spark plug is connected right. If it uses an electric starter, make sure the battery is charged and connected correctly. Set the Choke and fuel valve to ‘ON’ and try starting the generator. Good Luck!