Generators are such a handy addition to your home. With a generator, you no longer have to worry about blackouts, or how you can power your smoker while on a camping trip. Generators give you access to power no matter where you are, so it is clear why they are such a popular purchase among people. But despite their great functions, just like anything, generators can occasionally develop problems.

There is nothing more annoying than switching your generator on, only to find that it won’t start. This might cause a momentary flush of panic, but there’s no need to worry because more often than not, a generator that won’t start is an easy fix. While with a lot of other machinery a non-starter can be a sign of a serious problem, if your generator is not starting, this usually means that something minor has gone wrong.

1. Fuel Tank Is Low

Your fuel should be the first thing you check. If your generator uses gasoline, check the fuel levels in the tank and add more fuel if the levels are low. For a propane-fuelled generator, check the fuel level and ensure all the valves and tubing connecting the propane tank to the generator are open.

Regarding gasoline-powered generators, keep in mind that “stale” gasoline, any gas more than two months old, can damage the generator’s engine. Drain stale gasoline from the fuel tank and the carburetor, then fill the tank with fresh gasoline.

2. Check the Air Filter

Airflow is a must for a portable generator, and a clogged air filter can make this harder. If it is clogged with dust and debris, the carburetor is not going to get the air it needs for combustion. Accessing and inspecting the air filter is easy. Pull the air filter out of the generator and see if it is clogged. If the air filter is in decent shape, you can clean it. Give it a light whack on the counter-top or the floor to shake off the dust.

If you pull out the air filter and it looks worn or clogged up, then you have to replace it. They are relatively affordable, and having a spare air filter around may come in handy. When buying an air filter for your generator, make sure you read the owner’s manual to know the specifications of the air filter. There is nothing worse than purchasing an air filter and realizing it doesn’t fit in the generator. Some people run the generator without an air filter, but this is not recommended because you mayend up damaging the equipment, and you might have to spend a lot of money (more than an air filter) to fix it.

3. A Dead Battery

One of the most common reasons that your generator won’t start is because the battery has died. To a certain extent, generators operate similarly to cars and so a dead battery is an obvious reason why your generator won’t ignite. However, that being said, a dead battery will only be able to affect certain types of generators.

Only generators that come with an electric start will be able to be affected by a dead battery. But the majority of generators now come with an electric start whether it be from a button on the generator or a separate remote which can be used to turn on the device. For the electric starter to be able to work it has to have an active power source that comes from the battery. So if you know that your generator has an electric starter, there is a good chance that the reason it will not start is because of the battery.

4. Cables Are Plugged into the Generator

When you try to start your generator, first check that nothing is plugged into it. Even if the cords plugged in have no appliances connected to them, unplug everything to isolate the reason your generator won’t start.
Compared to the other reasons that we have looked at, this reason might seem too good to be true. However, if you attempt to start your generator and find that it is not working. The first thing you should do is check if it is connected to anything. If it is, then the chances are it is these connections that are preventing the generator from starting. Simply detach the cables from your generator and then attempt to start it again. If it starts then the issue must have been the connections, if it does not then we would recommend checking out the other reasons that we have looked at above.

5. The choke is too open or too closed

The choke controls the amount of air that’s flowing into the carburetor during startup. If your generator is trying to startup but the engine can’t seem to turn over, the problem may be too much or too little air mixing with your fuel during combustion.

When starting a generator cold – that is, it hasn’t been running for at least the past few hours – the choke should be set all the way closed. The closed position is often labeled as the “start” position on generator chokes for this reason. Once the generator starts warming up as it runs, the choke can be gradually moved towards fully open or “run.”

6. Clean the Carburetor

When old degraded gas reaches the carburetor, it can result in problems. They form clogs in the carburetor and this makes it harder for the new fuel to get through. There are times when using a car cleaner on the orifices and jets will work, and you don’t have to remove it. There are cases when you have to remove it. Remember carburetors can be very sensitive. You should be careful not to scratch it when removing it.

Have a good place to put the screws so you can keep track. Losing some of the smaller parts will make the work even harder for you. If it is your first and not sure about it, then consider watching videos of carburetors before doing it. There are videos you can watch that will guide you through the process. If cleaning it doesn’t work, you might have to replace the entire carburetor. Adding a dash of fuel stabilizer can help.

7. Dirty Spark Plug

If you’ve reached this point and the engine still will not turn over, the spark plug may be dirty. Start by removing the spark plug from its socket. Replace your spark plug if:
– It is covered with dirt or debris that you cannot brush off
– There are any signs of broken electrodes or cracked

If you can remove the debris, clean the spark plug carefully and follow the generator owner’s manual to adjust the electrode gap. To check the spark plug, hold it against the engine’s crankcase and pull the generator’s recoil starter. If the spark plug is working, you will see blue sparks. Reinstall the spark plug and try starting the generator again.

8. Use Fresh Fuel

The most important thing when running a portable generator is fuel. You need to have enough gas in the tank for it to start. If you have not used your generator in a long time, consider replacing the old fuel with fresh fuel. Many fuels degrade when left unused for a long time. One way to know your fuel has degraded is by having a closer look. If the fuel looks cloudy or there has been separation then it may be time to replace the fuel. This could be the main reason why your portable generator is not starting.

Categories: Electricity