You’ve been told to prepare for the worst. You have a plan in place should your area be affected by a natural disaster or another emergency, but you’re still not sure how to power your home without a utility connection.

Enter portable generators!

Portable generators are an easy way to generate electricity using fuel sources such as propane and gasoline. Follow these 8 steps on how to use them safely and effectively so that you can continue living comfortably even if the grid goes down!

If you haven’t yet figured out what kind of generator is right for your needs, we recommend reading our blog post Best Propane Generators.

Step 1: Put Your Generator in a Safe Location

The first step is to put your generator in a safe, accessible location. You want to make sure that you’re not placing it somewhere where anyone could trip over the power cord or become tangled up in it.

Ensure the generator is well ventilated to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning. Additionally, place the generator in an area where noise levels are acceptable for people in the vicinity of your property.

It also needs to be accessible enough so that you can fill the tank with gasoline and easily hook up any devices for which you are looking to provide power.

Before you can begin powering up your devices, you will need to make sure that you have selected a proper generator for the job at hand. Generators come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, ranging from small models intended for camping to enormous ones that are capable of powering entire homes.

The first thing you will need to do is determine what your generator needs are so that you can select a model that is able to provide them.

If you’re simply looking for something to power up a few appliances, then a smaller portable option is probably your best bet. If on the other hand, you need to power your entire home, you will want to invest in a model that is capable of handling that kind of load.

Step 2: Fill Up Your Generator With Gasoline

Once you have found the perfect spot for your generator, it’s time to fill it up with gasoline. You want to make sure that you’re using the right gas/oil mixture for your unit – some generators only run on clean-burning natural gas, while others require a more traditional oil/gas mix.

Before you use your generator, it is important to read the manuals that come with the equipment. It contains very useful information on how to safely prepare and power up the machine. Consult your manual to figure out which you need.

Step 3: Hook Up Your Devices

Once you’ve determined what you plan on powering up with your generator, it’s time to choose an appropriate cable and plug set so that all of your devices will be able to hook up.

If for instance, you have a camper or other small recreational vehicle, you probably have something similar to a standard car outlet that can accept the plug from your generator.

On the other hand, if you have a larger home that is going to be powered by the generator, then chances are high that it will require a much larger outlet and plug. Before attaching the cables and plugs, you will need to make sure that they can handle the amperage required by your devices.

Step 4: Turn Your Generator on and Select a Voltage Setting

Once everything is plugged in and the generator has fuel, it’s time to turn your generator on. Before powering up any of your devices however you will need to select a voltage setting that is best suited for them.

If everything in your home or campsite operates on standard household outlets, then you can leave it set there. You will also want to make sure that the voltage remains stable as this may have a negative impact on some electrical appliances.

With the generator ready to go and your devices hooked up properly, it’s time to turn on the power. Many generators have a “power” button that you hold down for a few seconds. Once this is done, your devices should begin powering up.

If everything seems to be going well, you might want to consider setting up an extension cord so you can get power to even more things.

Make sure that the extension cord is long enough to reach the area you want it in, but not so long that it adds unnecessary tension or weight to your generator.

Step 5: Power up Your Devices and be Careful not to Overload the Generator

Now that you have everything hooked up, it’s time to start powering up your various devices. In order to do so, simply go from one device or appliance and begin turning it on.

At this point you should be all set; each of your devices should now be powered by the portable generator. Just make sure that you don’t overload the generator or try to run too many appliances at once as this may cause a trip or a blown fuse for your generator.

Step 6: Switch off all Unnecessary Appliances

When you are done using an appliance, turn it off to reduce strain on the generator. The moment its power switch has been turned off, the appliance will stop drawing electricity from the outlet.

Meanwhile, if there are other appliances needed in your home, you can keep turning them on while making sure to turn them off again once they’ve been used.

Step 7: Switch off the Generator

Finally, when you are done using your portable generator, turn it off by flipping the power switch to the “off” position. If you are just going out for a short while, you can leave the unit on idle with its motor functions running constantly.

However, if it is going to be used for a longer stretch of time, turn it off to save gasoline and battery power.

Step 8: Store the Generator Properly

You should now store your generator in a safe place where it is dry and out of reach from children who might play with it. After all, there are fumes and electrical connections that can result in injury and fire.

Factors to Consider When Deciding on a Portable Generator

Some factors that will help in determining whether a portable generator is suitable for your needs:

  • What types of appliances or equipment you expect to use?
  • How much power do you expect them to draw at one time?
  • How important is noise control to you?
  • Are portability and ease of use an issue?
  • Do you plan to hook up your appliances directly, or through a transfer switch (more on this later).


A portable generator is a modern means of providing electricity in the absence of utility power. Portable generators are usually diesel or gasoline-powered and have electric generators that turn the torque from the engine’s crankshaft into electricity.

Portable generators are great – make sure to take care of your generator by following this guide, and you’ll have power whenever you need it.