How to use Portable Home Generators

Tips to know when using portable home generators. How safely and efficiently to operate emergency generators for home use.

Portable generator for home use is a small emergency generator that is mainly used to power the home during the power outage and where power is not available, such as cabins in remote locations. A power outage in once home can result not only in spoiled food, but damages to the appliances.

This is why a small and portable generator is the perfect choice for home backup power. If you live in the area affected by the hurricanes, wind, snow and ice storms, portable home generator is a must. Be prepared for severe weather before it happens.

Buying a backup home generator is easy, but there are some facts and tips you should know and collect to have a worry-free and reliable operation. To save the time, here is a list of the best selling portable gas generators here.

The most typical generators you will find are those that use mainly gasoline and are designed with the 120 V or 240 V power outlets.

Providing enough gasoline and connecting properly back up generator to your home is a must. You should consider buying and installing a transfer switch to safely power the circuits in your home.

What is a transfer switch?

A transfer switch is an electrical device, designed to allow the wiring system from home to accept the power portable generator produces. It is installed next to the electric panel.

Installing generators for home use

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Installation is an important factor for proper use of portable home generators. Setup is easy and fast. Either you have a gasoline or propane generator, there will be exhaust gases. That is the reason why to keep the generator on a certain distance from home and point the exhaust port away from windows and doors.

Gasoline and propane portable home generators are made to run outside, not inside, as it produces poisonous gases such as carbon monoxide. Avoid locations that will expose your home generator to the excessive dust, moist and dirt.

Running a portable home generator

Once you have found the perfect outdoor location for the new small generator, fill the unit with the right fuel and start it. Starting a home generator can be as simple as pressing a switch or pulling the recoil cord, but, first consult the manufacturer' owner manual.

Note: Make sure the generator is on the level ground.

Plug appliances

Based on the power wattage the generator produces, you can run from a small electric appliance to the whole house. See what types of electric appliances you will be able to run based on the wattage guide. As the generator is running, plug the unit you want to use and once done turn the generator OFF.

Transfer switch

And don't forget to use a transfer switch to connect the generator to the electrical system of your home. Recommendation is to have it installed only by the licensed electrician (actually it is required by the code). The transfer switch works as the second electrical panel, and once properly installed, it prevents the overheating and damages to the generator and electrical home system.

Use the right electrical cord gauge so when it transfers the power from the generator to the home appliance, it can handle the load without overheating.

Maintaining a portable home generator

Maintaining portable home generators mainly refers to the motor. It can be performed by you, the owner, or qualified technician. Maintenance assumes filter, oil and spark plugs change. It is a good idea to run a generator once a month as the non-operating situation makes the gas line dirty and clogged.

Even the best home generator has to have the engine well lubricated, in order to provide a well-tuned operation and great working condition in a case of an emergency.

Safety tips

Safety should be the number one priority when running these emergency home generators.

  • Don't store fuel inside the generator when it is not in use. Drain the fuel from the tank when not using it.
  • Don't overfill the gasoline tank and use the fresh gasoline only.
  • Allow the engine to cool few minutes before refueling.
  • Use a transfer switch that complies with your model. Never connect your generator directly to a home wiring or electric outlet.
  • Always use the generator outside and away from windows, doors... Make sure to provide at least 5 feet of clearance.
  • Don't overload the generator. Check the output rating of the generator before using it.
  • It is not recommended to run the generator at the full capacity for more than 30 min.
  • Protect the unit from snow and rain.
  • Don't operate a generator near combustible materials.
  • Keep the battery charged if your generator is designed with the electric start; also be aware that coiled cords can get HOT.

And always read the owner's manual before operating your generator, found inside the box.


Running portable home generators is easy, but to allow smooth operation and long hours some maintenance and proper usage should take place. Nobody needs a surprise during the emergence situation. Follow the above guidelines for yours and family protection and safe and reliable power generator operation.

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