The Generator Doctor’s December Tips

It’s no secret that millions of people love taking their new electronics out of the box immediately and pushing the start button without first reading the instructions. And since this is December and the holiday season, it seems this statement is quite appropriate.

But it may surprise you that this phenomenon happens plenty of times when customers get their generator, too. Sometimes it’s because they’re too eager and excited, while other times it’s admittedly to save a little money on hiring an electrical contractor for the hook-up. Either way, there are many times when this results in an unsuccessful start up, or worse, a highly dangerous outcome.

Brian Tienharra, expert technician at, aka The Generator Doctor, has a few tips to help users ensure a successful connection and start-up when receiving their generator.

1: Customers immediately start the generators and find that they’ve quickly run out of fuel. This is problematic because air can fill the fuel lines, which requires service for repair. The reason this happens is that generators are shipped without fuel in the tanks. While there may be a small amount of fuel in the engine (because every generator is tested before getting shipped), fuel tanks are not permitted to be shipped unless they’re empty. Users hook everything up, including the fuel tanks only to find that they run out of gas shortly thereafter.

2: Customers hook up the connections in reverse. All generators require specific connections between the generator unit and the utility (power source). Some users have errantly made the improper connections which can cause the generator to remain idle without starting. It’s important o read through the instructions and make the proper connections. Even the most seasoned electrical contractors have been known to make this error.

3: Familiarity with a different product. Some users and even electrical contractors are used to working with a specific brand of engine. For example, sometimes users are very accustomed to the connections of a John Deere model or engine, but unfamiliar with the connections on a Cummins brand. It’s almost like people who drive a Volkswagen know that the key inserts into the ignition on the dashboard, but the key goes into the neck of the steering column on a Chevy.

4: Improper exhaust placement. This particular area can cause great harm and even death. Unknowing users will sometimes place the generator exhaust output too close to the air intake area of the building or facility. Clearly this is dangerous because of carbon monoxide poisoning, which can result in death. It is always important to inspect the area where the generator will be placed. Some homeowners run into catastrophic results by placing their generator in their garage or too close to the home. The same goes for building or facility operators. The generator must be kept in a place where the exhaust will not interfere with the air intake for the building.

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