Answers To Your Questions

Generators provide homeowners with a way to power everything from their most critical appliances and systems to their entire house. The size of the generator that you’ll need will depend on what you are looking to power in the event that your electricity goes out.

Visit our standby generator page for information
Both standby generators and portable generators offer different benefits for homeowners to consider when making their purchasing decision. The main difference between standby and portable generators is the manner in which power is transmitted into your home along with the electrical capacity.

Standby generators are permanent structures located outside of your home on a concrete base. They typically run using natural gas or liquid propane, and automatically turn on in a matter of seconds when a power failure is detected, even when you’re not home. Once utility power returns, a standby generator will power off on its own. Standby generators are understandably more expensive than their counterpart since they offer more security and peace of mind.

Portable generators are significantly smaller in size and run on gas. Instead of automatically starting like standby generators, portable generators require you to wheel them outside and connect them using heavy-duty extension cords made specifically for generator usage. These extension cords will either be plugged directly into outlets on the generator itself or into a specially installed outlet adjacent to your breaker box. With a portable generator, you’ll only be able to connect a handful of electronics or appliances. Al-Lectric Emergency Power offers Interlock Kits that act as a transfer switch for your portable generator.
The simple answer is no. The more detailed answer is no, because it is not only extremely dangerous but also illegal. Plugging your portable generator directly into a standard wall outlet can cause backfeeding into the utility lines that connect to your house, causing serious injury or even death to an unsuspecting utility worker who is working to restore power or downed utility lines. There’s also the risk that by connecting your portable generator to an electrical outlet that you could overload your circuits and cause a fire.
NO! Since portable generators run on gas and use oil, they emit exhaust which contains carbon monoxide. Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless poison that can kill an entire household within minutes. Even if it is raining or snowing, you cannot operate a generator within your garage, carport or screened porch-not even with the door open. Portable generators need to be located at least 15 feet from your home, away from doors and windows. To better ensure the safety of you and your family, make sure that you have carbon monoxide detectors installed within your home.
There’s no guarantee for how long your generator system will last, but with proper maintenance and care, a quality unit used for emergency power can last upwards of 20 years.
If your generator starts and runs for a few minutes and then shuts off, here’s what to look for.

Firstly we need to distinguish between a complete shutdown (the engine stops running) and a tripped circuit. If the engine continues to run but there’s no power at your outlets, you’ve probably tripped a breaker.

If your generator’s engine shuts off completely, then your problem is at the engine and not the load. You’ll need to run through a basic checklist of possible issues that may cause your engine to shut off, starting with the most basic.

- Check your engine oil

- Check your fuel supply

- Check for a partial blockage in your fuel system, or debris in your gas tank

- Check for a dirty carburetor

- Your generator may be overheating
As with any internal combustion engine, the oil in your generator engine is vitally important. Your instruction manual will specify the recommended oil for your generator. Generally, a 4-stroke gas-powered generator will use 10W-30 engine oil. A 2-stroke generator requires the gas to be mixed with 2-stroke oil. These engines do not use crankcase engine oil, like 4-stroke engines do.
There are many things that need to be checked when a generator won’t start.

- Generators with an electric starter often fail to start because of a weak battery charge or faulty electric connections. If you push the start button (or turn the key) and you don’t hear the starter motor turn, you know that there is no power at the starter. You can use the recoil starter, if your generator has one. If not, replace the battery with one that works. You could also use a battery booster or jumper to provide power to the battery. If the battery is fine, and it still won’t start. Check the connections to the starter switch, on/off switch, and the starter motor solenoid.

- In the case of a recoil starter malfunction, the most likely cause is that the flywheel key may be sheared. To inspect the flywheel key, you’ll need to remove the flywheel and check that the key is in working order.

- If your recoil or electric starter is functioning and the engine refuses to start, you first need to eliminate the obvious. Check that there is gas in the tank and the oil is at the correct level. Make sure that the fuel valve is open and the generator start switch is in the on position.

- If all the normal stuff is as it should be, you’ll need to do a more detailed check. Start by making sure that the stop run switch is making contact. Ensure that the wiring that goes from this switch to the ignition coil are secure. Use a multi-meter to check for continuity.

- Check the spark plug and the connection between the plug and the ignition coil. Ensure that the spark plug lead is properly secured.

- Check the carburetor, ensuring that there is fuel reaching the inlet jets. You may need to replace the fuel filter or clear a blockage in the fuel line. Old fuel in the tank may also prevent your generator from starting. To be sure, always put fresh fuel into your gas tank if the generator has been standing.

- You may have dirt in the carburetor. Using a can of carburetor cleaner will sort this out.
Check and clean your air filter.

- Your generator may have a number of safety switches on or around the engine, like a low oil shutoff switch. Check all the wiring and connections to these switches.