Looking after your generator as a first-time user

Generators should be treated with care to ensure no one gets injured or the system becomes damaged. If you don’t know what you are doing with a generator, it’s worth taking the time to find out how best to look after one.

If you’ve never used a generator before, you might not fully understand the things you can and can’t do. If your generator is brand-spanking-new, there are a few things you should consider doing as you prepare to use it for the first time.

Here we look at the things you should and shouldn’t do with your generator the first time you use it.


  • Do – take the time to find out how much power your generator will need to cover in the event of a power cut. It’s important that your generator is capable of dealing with more than the required power amount to avoid an overload. For every new load that draws on the generator, it will be forced to work even harder to cope with the new power usage. Plan ahead to find out what level of power your generator will need to cover.
  • Do – look after the extension cords that connect to your generator. If you fail to do so you may end up with frayed cords or ones which aren’t grounded, which may lead to a fire or electric shock. As with the previous point, you will need to consider the power usage to determine how much power the cords can handle. Don’t overload a multi-plug extension cord to the point where it might be dangerous.
  • Do – make sure you have enough fuel on hand to refill your generator. Exercise caution when you refuel by waiting until your generator is cool. You should also take extra care to avoid anything that might cause the fuel to ignite, such as cigarettes or lighters.
  • Do – follow manufacturer guidelines relating to your generator, taking into consideration local regulations which may have an impact on how your generator is used.
the dos and donts of using a generator


  • Don’t – attempt to use your generator in wet conditions. If your generator is outside (as it should be), make sure it is covered up in a container or a different type of shelter that will keep it dry and protected from rain and other outdoor elements. The cover should give the generator at least 4 feet of clearance so it has space to breathe.
  • Don’t – try and keep your generator inside or too close to your home. Try and keep your generator at a distance from your property (around 30 feet should be enough) and other inhabited structures. This will help to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning in the event of a disaster.
  • Don’t – plug your generator directly into an electric socket as this can be dangerous for you and others nearby. Electrocution is a possibility, which can be fatal if the correct care and attention isn’t paid.

If you are a first-time generator, you should take extra care and speak to the experts before doing anything you are unsure about. Even if you think you might be doing the right thing, don’t make any assumptions. Caution should ALWAYS be exercised when it comes to the installation and use of a generator, no matter the power or type of generator.