Is It Bad To Run A Generator Out Of Gas?

Generators are life-saving machines that can save the day whenever there is a power outage. Most of these machines use gas and require refueling after about 4 to 8 hours of usage; of course, that depends on your generator’s fuel efficiency. Some users overlook the consequences and run their generators out of gas.

Is it bad to run a generator out of gas? Yes. It is risky and damaging to run a generator without gas. Running out of gas can demagnetize the generator’s coil, damaging your generator and connected appliances. Additionally, air bubbles may get into the fuel tank and prevent your generator from starting.

While generators can keep things running when there is an outage, they can equally be harmful if not used properly. This article explores all about generators; how to correctly fill your generator with gas, how to make sure it always has gas, tips to reduce generator fuel consumption, and so much more. Stay with us.

Is It Bad To Run A Generator Out Of Gas

You can easily tell when your generator is about to run out of gas; the engine will start to vibrate and sputter. This might cause irregular voltage surges that can damage your electrical appliances. You risk damaging your generator if you run it out of gas.

Is It Bad To Run A Generator Out Of Gas

A generator has several coils inside that need to maintain a certain level of magnetism. Letting your generator run out of gas will cause the connected appliances to drain all the power leading to demagnetization of the coils. Even though they can be remagnetized, it’s the last thing you’ll want to deal with during an emergency power outage. When your generator coils get demagnetized, the engine will start and run but will not produce power.

Can You Put Gas On A Generator While It’s running?

It is a dangerous thing to do. Whether it is a propane generator for home use or a portable gas generator, NEVER put gas on a generator while it’s running. If gasoline spills on the hot generator engine, it can easily ignite and explode. Remember, propane and gasoline are highly flammable.

Before you refuel your generator, it’s good practice to turn it off, allow it to cool down completely, and then refuel. Allow it approximately 15 minutes to rest. Fifteen minutes without power is better than dealing with the aftermath of an explosion.

How To Properly Fill Generator With Gas

Generally, generator gas tanks are usually on the top part of the engine to enable “gravity-feeding” of fuel to the carburetor. It is relatively easy to refuel your generator. You can use a funnel or a jerrycan with an extended spout.

How To Properly Fill Generator With Gas

When refueling your generator, here are some crucial factors to keep in mind:

  • Ensure your generator is switched off and completely cooled. Do not refuel your generator while it’s running or still hot. A slight spill of gasoline can ignite and cause an inferno.
  • Put your generator on level ground before refuel. This is the only sure way to know the amount of fuel in your tank and how much you need to add.
  • After refilling your fuel tank, use a piece of rag to clean any gasoline spills on the body of your generator. Again, this is for safety reasons; to avoid an inferno or explosion when you start the engine.
  • Do not overfill your fuel tank. Always add fuel to the manufacturer’s recommended level.

How To Make Sure Your Generator Always Has Gas

Most people tend to keep their generators ready with fuel in case there is a power outage. That gives you peace of mind knowing that your generator will run. Almost all generators have a fuel gauge which shows how much gas is in the tank.

When checking how much gas you have in the tank, ensure your generator sits on a level surface and check the gauge. This will give you an accurate reading. Remember, generator tanks do not store that much fuel; you may need extra gallons for refilling.

Tips to Reduce Generator Fuel Consumption

Generators have gained popularity due to their incredible performance, durability, and effectiveness. Their demand has skyrocketed, making them ideal for both residential and commercial purposes. However, regardless of how you want to use your generator, there are a few tips you need to learn on how to save fuel and keep it running without interruptions. Here are some tips to help you reduce your generator fuel consumption:

Tips to Reduce Generator Fuel Consumption

1. Service Your Generator Regularly

Like any other engine, your generator requires regular servicing for maximum performance. A proper maintenance procedure can significantly help reduce fuel consumption.

You should hire a professional technician to service your generator and repair any damages that may interfere with its normal operation; this, in turn, increases fuel usage. Your technician will help you buy genuine parts if any replacement is needed. The use of counterfeit parts can cause more damage and increase fuel consumption.

2. Remove Carbon Debris on Time

When gasoline heats during combustion, ash carbon polymers are produced as a result. This carbon forms debris that sticks on other generator components such as spark plugs, valves, injectors, and piston tops. Accumulation of carbon debris on the engine causes excessive fuel consumption.

Therefore, you need to frequently clean your generator to remove the carbon debris from the components. You might need to change the oil after cleaning your generator. If you don’t know how to clean your generator, refer to the user’s manual or consult a certified technician.

3. Do Not Overload Your Generator

Check the load limit on the generator manual or manufacturer’s website. Your generator will produce a cloud of black smoke when overloaded. This is an indication that it’s not burning fuel completely; thus, you’ll be losing much power rather than saving.

Ensure your generator runs on at least 50% and 75% maximum load. Any load higher than the required limit leads to fuel loss.

4. Maintain The Right Coolant Temperature

Gasoline generators usually use a coolant for efficient running. Your coolant should be at the right level and temperature to cool the generator engine. Otherwise, it may cause incomplete combustion hence increasing fuel consumption.

5. Reduce Generator Usage

If you live in an area that experiences a frequent power outage, consider using alternative power sources such as solar panels. That way, you can reduce your generator usage to only the most essential items. Some alternative power sources can be expensive to install but save a lot when used. Reduced generator usage means saving more fuel.

6. Go For a High-quality Machine

We all agree with the saying, “cheap is expensive!” right? And it’s indeed true. If you buy a cheap generator, be sure it will consume more fuel. And don’t be surprised to find its parts wear out quickly.

It’s best to buy a generator from a reputable manufacturer; go for a well-known brand. Do not worry too much about the price; instead, focus on the features you get. It’s better to spend more and get good features than spend less for fewer features.


Generators can be beneficial resources during emergencies. While they are convenient and effective, they are intended for backup as opposed to a primary power source. Having been built with smaller fuel tanks, generators demand frequent refueling, especially when running for extended periods. It is important to be cautious and observe safety measures, as discussed in this article when refueling your generator. Never run your generator out of gas; it is dangerous.

To guarantee the longevity of your generator, do regular service and maintenance and use genuine parts when replacing components. A well-serviced generator fitted with genuine parts can go a long way in reducing fuel consumption. We hope you found this article informative. Remember to hire a professional to service your generator for the best performance.

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