Category: generators

Portable Generator Safety

The wind roars with anger. Lightning cracks across the sky. Thunder booms so loud you jump out of your seat.

Next thing you know you are in the dark, without power, and feeling like you were dropped in the middle of the Stone Age.

Before you head out to power on your trusty generator, be prepared with some safety tips so you don't harm yourself or others in the process of getting temporary relief.

When a Power Outage Strikes

Always keep a clear path to your generator to avoid running into obstacles due to low visibility with the power being out. The last thing you want to worry about is an injury before you even set up your generator.

Store your generator in a clean, dry area that is easy to get to. Never operate your generator while it is snowing or raining. Keep your generator out of rugged weather conditions by using an over-hang or a canopy to keep it dry. Touching electrical appliances or cords while you or they are wet could lead to shock or electrocution. Touching an electric fence while standing in wet grass isn't something you'd try, is it?

Make sure your generator is properly grounded by following the instructions in your owner's manual. The frame of a portable generator acts as the "ground", so you won't have to drive a grounding rod into the earth.

Carbon Monoxide: "The Silent Killer"

You can't see it. You can't taste it. You can't even smell it.

It creeps up on you before you know it and can be fatal within minutes.

Generators are culprits of producing an odorless, colorless, tasteless gas known as carbon monoxide. Breathing in too much of this gas can cause carbon monoxide poisoning that can lead to extreme, even fatal, symptoms. These symptoms include fatigue, shortness of breath, drowsiness, headache, nausea and in worst cases, death.

Some simple tips to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning include:

  • Always use your generator in a well-ventilated area outside, away from doors, windows and vent openings. OSHA recommends 3-4 feet of clear space on all sides and above for proper ventilation purposes.
  • Never run your generator in closed or even semi-closed spaces such as garages, sheds, carports or anywhere inside your home.
  • Be aware that opening doors, windows and using fans will not prevent carbon monoxide buildup.
  • Make sure you have a working carbon monoxide detector in your house at all times.
  • Don't let children play around your generator while it is running.
  • Watch for symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning. Receive medical attention immediately if poisoning is suspected.

The Dangers of Backfeeding

The storm hits, the lights go off, and panic sets in.

If you think you can attach your generator to your house through an electrical socket or directly to your household circuit, you're wrong. This is known as backfeeding.

Backfeeding is very dangerous, as well as illegal in most states. Power from your generator can back feed into utility lines. This can harm utility workers and/or overpower your generator when the electricity is turned back on, possibly injuring you and damaging your generator.

The proper way to connect the generator to your house wiring is by using a transfer switch. A transfer switch prevents utility power and generator power from running at the same time, allowing you to safely run your generator without risk of injury to you or utility workers. Always hire a licensed electrician to install a transfer switch for you.

Transfer Switch

Too Many Appliances, Too Little Power

Generators have set power ratings that include a starting wattage and a running wattage. Going over these set limits can cause overloading and damage to your generator and/or any household appliances hooked up to that generator. More power is needed to start an appliance than to keep it running over an extended amount of time. The starting wattage is higher than your running wattage. Make sure any appliance you hook up to your generator falls under the wattage amount your generator can handle.

Be prepared by knowing your generator's power rating and figure out how many appliances it can handle before the next power outage hits. Keep in mind that the starting power on an appliance could generate more power than running the appliance, this too can cause overload. Prioritize your needs and alternate appliance usage if necessary. Always start your generator first and allow it to run for a few minutes before hooking any appliances to it.


Power outages can leave you frustrated and helpless, but with the use of a generator you can be up and running again in no time. Following proper safety procedures can keep you and others safe from dangerous generator mishaps or mistakes.

Also, following a regular maintenance schedule can keep your generator running properly and safely so that you can be prepared for the next time a power outage wants to leave you in the Stone Age.

For guidelines specific to your generator always consult your owner's manual.

Jack's Safety Tips: Before servicing or repairing any power equipment, disconnect the spark plug and battery cables. Remember to wear appropriate safety glasses and gloves to protect against harmful chemicals and debris. View our Disclaimer.

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Using Your Generator During the Storm

Lighting lit up the sky, thunder rolled across the earth and the skies opened up to pouring rain.

Then, your power went off leaving you in the dark. Luckily you have a generator to save you from panicking too much.

By following simple guidelines and procedures you'll have your power back before you even knew it was off.

Is Your Generator Easy to Get to?

Store your generator in a cool, dry area that is easy to get to. Always keep a clear path to your generator to avoid running into objects due to low visibility. An injury is the last thing you want to worry about when the power goes out.

Never run your generator in a closed-in area such as a shed, garage, basement or your house. Generators produce a clear, odorless, tasteless gas called Carbon Monoxide that can be fatal within minutes. For safety measures OSHA recommends a 3-4 foot distance on all sides and above of the generator for ventilation purposes.

Do You Know Your Generator's Wattage Capacity?

The generator's wattage capacity is found on the generator or in your owner's manual.

Knowing your generators wattage capacity and the wattage of appliances you want to power can help avoid damaging your generator during use. An appliance has two wattage ratings, a starting wattage and a running wattage, that both have an impact when being plugged into your generator. Using more wattage than your generator can handle will lead to a current over-load and may damage your appliances, extension cords and your generator.

Starting Wattage: The amount of power used to start an appliance. This number is often 2X greater than running wattage.

Running Wattage: The amount of power an appliance uses after the initial start-up.

Running wattages of common appliances:

  • Lamp: 100 watts
  • Refrigerator/Freezer: 600-700 watts
  • Television: 300 watts
  • Desktop Computer: 600-800 watts
  • Laptop Computer: 200-250 watts
  • Hot Water Heater: 4500 watts
  • Sump Pump: 2100 watts at 1/2 horsepower
  • Electric Stove: 2100 watts
  • Microwave: 1000-1500 watts
  • Well Pump: 1000 watts

The numbers listed are running wattage numbers only. Starting Wattages often are 2X greater than the running wattages.

*The wattage numbers listed are a guideline for common appliances. To get the actual wattage numbers refer to your appliance owner's manual, the actual appliance or use an appliance load tester.

30 Day Fuel Supply

Make sure you replenish your fuel supply every 30 days.

You've heard it before and you'll hear it again, gasoline should not be stored for more than 30 days.

After 30 days, it runs the risk of becoming stale. If you fill your fuel tank at the beginning of the storm season, make sure to change the fuel every 30 days and add a fuel stabilizer to help battle the effects of ethanol.

How is Your Generator Hooked-Up?

Did you know that hooking up your generator directly to your electrical panel or your home is not only dangerous, it's illegal? The power from your generator can back-feed into the power lines around your house causing injury or death to you, your neighbors or even utility workers. You can avoid back-feeding using two different methods.

Direct Hook-Up

Direct hook-up allows you to plug appliances directly into your generator.

Direct Hookup refers to hooking the appliances directly to your generator with a generator cord or extension cord. A proper generator cord and heavy-duty extension cords should be used. Choose an extension cord that can handle the amount of wattage being put out by the appliance you are pairing it with and one that can be used in all-weather conditions.

Transfer Switches

Use a Transfer Switch to Safely hook your generator to your home.

Using a transfer switch is the only safe and legal way to connect your generator to your home. The transfer switch is installed by a licensed electrician to safely connect the generator to your homes utility power. Don't install a transfer switch yourself! Hire a licensed electrician.

Managing Your Generator's Power

If your appliance load is greater than the wattage your generator can handle, power management is necessary. First, ask yourself which appliances are most important to power and what appliances need to run continuously.

Temporarily disconnecting appliances that don't need to be powered continuously allows you to power other appliances that may be just as important. A transfer switch can also help with power management as you can easily switch different circuits on and off depending on which appliances you need to use. Power management helps you get the most power out of your generator during the storm.

Quick Safety Tips

  • Carbon Monoxide is an odorless, tasteless gas that can be fatal within minutes. Always use your generator in a well-ventilated area outside, away from open windows and doors.
  • Use caution when pouring gasoline into your generator. Turn your generator off and let cool for 15-20 minutes before adding fuel. Pouring gasoline onto a hot generator can cause fire.
  • Back-feeding can cause serious injury or death, use a transfer switch or direct hook-up to keep you, your neighbors and utility workers safe.
  • When using an extension power cord for with your generator, choose one that can handle the amount of wattage being put out by the appliance you are pairing it with. Periodically check the cords temperature during use. If it's warm or hot to the touch, your wattage is too high for the cord to handle. Unplug immediately and choose an extension cord that can handle a higher wattage.


Generators can be a hassle-free, easy and reliable way to get your power back on during an outage. Knowing your wattage capacity, avoiding back-feeding and using power management will help you keep your generator running safely during the storm.

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Tune Up Your Generator For Storm Season

The time of year when thunder echos, lighting cracks across the sky, high winds crash and heavy rain pours down. Storm Season is here!

Is your generator prepared for the upcoming storms and hurricanes? A few minutes of preparation can save you from feeling helpless and out of control when the storms actually hit.

Preparing for Storm Season

Is Your Generator Storm-Ready?

Has your portable generator been sitting in storage collecting dust? If so, it's time to pull off that cover, dig out your generator and give it a tune-up before the first big storm hits. Performing some preventative maintenance on your generator before the storm season can save you time, frustration, and panic while getting your power back on.

  • Take your generator outside, away from open windows or doors, to perform a full inspection and tune up.
  • Inspect your generator for corroded or damaged parts, loose or frayed wires and anything that looks out of the ordinary.
  • Change oil at the beginning of every storm season following the guidelines in your owner's manual. Check the oil levels before and after every use, change if necessary.
  • Fill the gas tank with fresh fuel and add a fuel stabilizer to battle the effects of ethanol. Refresh with new gas every 30 days.
  • Inspect the air filter for dirt, damage or wear and replace if necessary.
  • Check the spark plug and clean or replace if dirty or damaged.
  • Inspect all bolts, tighten or replace if needed. Vibrations can cause bolts to loosen or fall off from wear and tear.

Stock-Up On Supplies

Stocking up on certain supplies can help you be prepared for extended power outages.

During the storm you may need to replace certain items to keep your generator running properly. It's best to stock up on these items at the beginning of the season so they are easily accessible during the storm. These items include: extra oil, filters, bolts, fuel, gas cans, extension cords, plugs and cover so you are prepared to run your generator for extended periods of time.

Test Your Generator

Test your generator to ensure it is working properly.

The storm hits, you run to your trusty generator and flip the switch on. Your worst nightmare comes true: Nothing happens.

Finding out your generator doesn't work during a power outage is not something you want to experience. Test your generator by plugging in a few smaller appliances such as a hair dryer, toaster, cell phone charger or etc. and run for 10-15 minutes.

Don't Let Your Maintenance Stop There

Performing tune-ups on your generator at the beginning of every season and after every use will help keep your generator ready alive during storm season. Also, testing your generator every month gives you the confidence that your generator will be reliable throughout the storm season.

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Replacing the Air Filter on a Honda EU2000i Generator

Watch our video on how to replace the air filter on a Honda EU2000i generator.

Replacing a dirty or damaged air filter will prevent dust, dirt and debris from entering the carburetor and internal parts of your engine, prolonging the life of your engine.
This video shows you how to easily replace your dirty air filter with a new one.

Step 1:

Be sure the power switch is off and all cords are unplugged, and then unplug the spark plug boot

Step 2:

Using a flat head screw driver, remove the maintenance cover, then remove the air filter cover

Step 3: 

Remove both pieces of the filter, replace them with new ones

Step 4:

Replace air filter cover and maintenance cover

Jack's Safety Tips: Before servicing or repairing any power equipment, disconnect the spark plug and battery cables. Remember to wear appropriate safety glasses and gloves to protect against harmful chemicals and debris. View our Disclaimer.

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Honda EU2000i Generator Oil Change

Prepare your generator for the next big storm by keeping up with regularly scheduled oil changes.

Refer to your owner's manual for your oil change schedule, the oil recommended for your generator, and any specific tools needed for your generator type.

For a Honda EU2000i Generator you will need the following tools:

*Before starting your oil change, make sure your generator is turned off, all receptacles are unplugged and your spark plug is disconnected to reduce the risk of an accidental start up.

Changing the Oil

1) Warm up the Engine

Start and run your generator for a few minutes to warm your oil, this will allow it to drain easier. Then, shut it off and allow the engine to cool before servicing your generator.

2) Remove the maintenance cover

Use your flathead screwdriver to remove the maintenance cover and set aside.

3) Locate and remove the oil dipstick

The oil dipstick in the Honda EU2000i generator is located in the lower left corner of the unit.

4) Drain the Oil

There is no oil drain plug on a Honda EU2000i generator. Oil has to be drained from the oil fill tube. Slightly tilt the generator until oil begins to run out of the oil fill tube into the oil drain pan.

5) Refill with New Oil

Once all the old oil is drained, insert the funnel in the fill tube and refill the engine with Honda Power Equipment Oil. The Honda EU2000i has an oil capacity of .42 quarts. Bring the oil level to the upper limit of the oil fill tube neck. When the oil begins to run out, the oil level is correct.

6) Reinstall oil dipstick

Screw the oil dipstick back into the oil fill tube and wipe up any excess oil.

7) Reattach the maintenance cover

8) Check for Leaks

Start your engine for a few minutes, and then check for any oil leaks.


Check your oil before and after every use to make sure you have the correct amount for your engine to run properly. Checking the oil is as simple as removing the dipstick and taking a quick look. Put in more oil if needed.

Changing your oil helps prolong the life of your engine and keep it running smoothly. Regular oil changes keep your generator prepared for the next big storm.

Jack's Safety Tips: Before servicing or repairing any power equipment, disconnect the spark plug and battery cables. Remember to wear appropriate safety glasses and gloves to protect against harmful chemicals and debris. View our Disclaimer.

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