Should You Let A Generator Run Out Of Gas?

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On an Off-Grid Homestead, a generator is a necessary piece of equipment. It’ll last a long time if you take good care of it. The problem is that the vast majority of people living off the grid are only familiar with how to start and plug in a generator. Your most costly tool will wear out faster if you do that.

One of the most common mistakes I see people make is running out of gas on their generators.

If the gas runs out on your generator, the magnetism in the generator’s coils will be lost. While it sputters to a halt, the generator continues to spew electricity, but the weight of the load drains the coils of any remaining energy.

Fortunately, the cost of remagnetizing the coils at the repair shop is quite modest, but what if this occurred during an emergency and the shop was unable to open? Stock up on extra petrol tanks and keep them topped up.

What happens when a generator runs out of gas?

A generator’s job is to produce power, and anything attached to it is there to consume that energy. As the gas in the generator depletes, the power goes off but at a lessened rate.

The generator’s load, on the other hand, is constantly trying to drain the power. Until the generator is emptied and switches off, it will draw power from its coils if the generator is not supplying enough. This has the potential to damage both your load and your vehicle.

In general, it’s a bad practice to let your generator run out of gas. You’ll get away with it for a while, but sooner or later, you’ll find yourself without a generator because of a mistake you made. As a result, make it a point to correctly operate your generator on a regular basis.

How To Ensure Your Generator Always Has Gas

My generator is always stocked with gasoline because I have a system in place to keep track of it. In the first place, I keep a spare tank of gas beside the generator just in case. To be on the safe side, I have two 2 gallon petrol cans on hand. When your generator’s gas runs out, having it spread out around your land will assure that it does.

Before starting the generator, I remove the gas cap and have a peek inside the generator before starting it up. An added bonus is if your generator features a fuel gauge. Make sure you have gas in there even if you don’t see any signs of it. Set a timer for 4 hours if the tank is full to remind you to top it off after that.

I just use my generator for a few hours every week. To charge my solar batteries to 100%, it takes around an hour and a half. My generator will last for a couple of days before I have to refuel it.

I’m going to put a rock next to my generator so that every time I use it to recharge the batteries, I’ll remember how long it will be until I need to replenish. Then I’ll add more gas once I’ve got three rocks in place.

Remembering can be made easier by using anything. Perhaps you have a place where a tally sheet can be kept. If so, great! A system will help you remember to restock your container.

My Favorite Off-Grid Generator 

It’s been over a decade that I’ve been living completely off the grid, thanks to solar energy. Over the course of that time, I’ve only needed to use one generator for backup power.

Honda’s 2000-watt inverter generator is incredible. When I’ve needed it, it’s provided the power. This generator has served me well for many years, and I have never needed to replace it. The supply of gas and oil has run out, and in spite of numerous occasions spent outside in the rain, it still manages to keep everything running smoothly.

To recharge my solar batteries on a cloudy day, I used the generator as backup power. I used it to build both my current house and the one next door for my mother. However, due to the limitations of my solar system, power tools cannot be used effectively.

If you’re looking for an off-grid generator for your homestead, don’t waste your money on inferior models that will fail after a few years. Buy a Honda 2000i and rest easy knowing you’ll always have a reliable vehicle at hand.

Can you put gas in a generator while it’s running?

Never add fuel to a running or hot generator. Wait until the generator and engine have reached room temperature before adding gasoline to either one. Generators with fuel in the tank should never be stored near an open flame, spark, or pilot light.

While in operation, a generator can get quite warm. Hot enough to ignite or possibly generate an explosion if gasoline is spilled on it. You should never add gasoline to a running generator. You will need to wait at least 15 minutes for your generator to cool down before adding more gas, as recommended by the manufacturer.

It’s natural to want to start using the generator as soon as possible. But it’s not worth it, given the dangers. Before you start your generator, follow the steps outlined above to make sure it has gas. This will reduce the number of times you have to refuel the generator while it is running.

How to start a generator after running out of gas?

When a generator runs out of gas, starting it can be a challenge. This is especially important if your coils have become demagnetized and need to be inspected. If your generator’s coils are in good condition, then simply follow the steps I’ve outlined below, and it should start practically immediately.

Be sure to fuel your generator with high-quality gas first. For long periods of time, your gas may have lost its potency. If your gas appears a little murky, this is what you’re dealing with.

For my gas tanks, I like to use a method where I have 12 cans, each with a unique number. After arranging them in numerical order on a shelf, I remove the first item from the right and put it in its proper location on the far left side. After I use gas tank #1, I’ll transfer the other 11 tanks over to the right and put them behind it. This will prevent me from using gas tank #1 again until the other 11 tanks have been used. With each new tank of gas, I’ll repeat the process.

Now that the gas tank on your generator is full, I’ll switch it on, check to see if the gas gauge on the gas cap is set to on, and then pull the ripcord.

Initially, the generator may be sluggish, and you may need to fiddle with the choke a bit before it gets going; however, after the engine is going, you may gradually let the choke out all the way. You should now be able to hear your generator functioning at full capacity.

Try it again if it doesn’t work the first time. Other problems such as a clogged fuel filter, insufficient oil, faulty spark plug, dirty air filter, or bad coils may be all that’s left to fix. However, hopefully, all that’s required now is one more try.

In Conclusion

The best way to learn how to properly use your generator is through trial and error. Mine has been with me for so long that we’ve developed an understanding of each other. As your relationship with your generator deepens over the years of living off the grid, this will happen to you as well.


Shanna is the 2nd half of Top Outdoor Survival. Like Forest, she has a passion for guns and knives. They love to go on a survival trip at least once a year. They love to go camping, hiking, and traveling.

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