How to Start a Generator That Has Been Sitting? Guide Of 2024

Generator can start many of your electrical appliance at a time but what happen if generator fail to start and you think that how to start a generator that has been sitting. I recommend you to have an extra generator for backup plan for any emergency. But if you have one generator and its not working then don’t  worry about that Take some essential steps and start you generator again.

How to start a generator that has been sitting?

If your generator has been idle for some time, you might wonder how to get it back up and running smoothly. How to start a generator that has been sitting? Don’t worry; I’ve got you covered! Follow these simple steps to bring your generator back to life.

Step 01 “Inspect and Clean the Generator”

Before attempting to start the generator, take a few minutes to inspect it visually. Check for any signs of damage, loose parts, or leaks. If you spot any issues, address them first to avoid potential hazards. Next, give the generator a good cleaning, removing any dirt, debris, or dust that may have accumulated during its idle period. A clean generator is a happy generator!

Step 02 “Check the Oil Level”

Proper oil levels are essential for the smooth functioning of your generator. Make sure the generator is on a flat surface, and then locate the oil dipstick. Pull it out, wipe it clean, and reinsert it fully. Now, pull it out again and check the oil level. If it’s low, top it up with the recommended oil type and quantity per the manufacturer’s guidelines.

Step 03 “Inspect the Fuel System”

Stale fuel is a common issue in generators that have been sitting for a while. Drain any old fuel from the tank and dispose of it safely. Now, fill the tank with fresh, high-quality gasoline. If your generator has a fuel shutoff valve, ensure it’s open, allowing the fuel to flow to the engine.

Step 04 “Check the Air Filter”

The air filter prevents dirt and debris from entering the engine and is crucial for its proper functioning. Look at the air filter; if it appears dirty or clogged, clean it or replace it if necessary. A clean air filter ensures better airflow and engine performance.

How to Start a Generator That Has Been Sitting

Step 05 “Prime the Generator”

Most generators have a priming bulb or a primer button. This feature helps to draw fuel into the carburetor and makes starting easier. Press the primer bulb a few times to ensure the fuel reaches the engine.

Step 06 “Turn the Choke On (if applicable)”

If your generator has a choke, set it to the “on” position. The choke helps to enrich the fuel-air mixture during startup, making it easier to ignite the engine.

Step 07 “Turn on the Fuel Valve”

If your generator has a fuel valve, turn it to the “On” position to allow fuel flow to the engine.

Step 08 “Engage the Decompression Lever (if applicable)”

Some generators have a decompression lever that reduces engine compression during starting, making pulling the recoil starter cord easier. If your generator has this feature, engage the decompression lever before starting the engine.

How to Start a Generator That Has Been Sitting

Step 09 “Start the Generator”

Now that you’ve completed the necessary checks and preparations, it’s time to start the generator! Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for your specific model. Typically, you must turn the ignition switch or pull the starter cord briskly. Once the generator starts running, let it warm up briefly before connecting any loads.

Step 10 “Connect Your Devices”

You can now connect your electrical devices with the generator up and running. Be mindful of the generator’s wattage capacity, and don’t overload it. Start by connecting essential appliances and equipment first.

Step 11 “Run the Generator Regularly”

To prevent future issues with your generator, habitually run it regularly, even if you don’t need it for power outages. Running the generator for short periods helps keep the engine and components in good working condition.

Step 12 “Routine Maintenance”

Lastly, remember to perform routine maintenance as per the manufacturer’s guidelines. Regular oil changes, air filter replacements, and other maintenance tasks will keep your generator in excellent shape and ready whenever needed.

How to Start a Generator That Has Been Sitting

How to Store a Generator? (Generator Storage Tips ) 

After learning How to start a generator that has been sitting,  you should take some Pro tips on Generator storage for maintaining its performance and extending its lifespan. Whether you won’t need it for a few weeks or several months, these generator storage tips will ensure it’s ready to power up when needed.

  1. Preparing for Prolonged Storage

Before putting your generator into hibernation, take a few minutes to prepare it for prolonged storage. Start by turning off the fuel valve and letting the engine run until it’s out of gas. Running the fuel system dry helps prevent the fuel from becoming stale, which can clog the carburetor and cause later problems.

Next, disconnect the spark plug wire to eliminate the chance of accidental starts while in storage. A simple yet effective step to keep your generator safely idle until it’s time to use it again.

  1. Using Fuel Stabilizers

Fuel stabilizers are your generator’s best friend during long periods of inactivity. Adding a fuel stabilizer to the remaining fuel in the tank helps maintain its quality and prevents the formation of gum and varnish that can damage the fuel system. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the correct amount of stabilizer to add based on your fuel tank’s capacity.

After adding the stabilizer, run the generator for a few minutes to ensure the treated fuel reaches the carburetor and other engine components. This process protects your generator from fuel-related issues and keeps it primed for reliable startup later.

  1. Battery Maintenance During Storage

If your generator has a battery, remember to love it during storage too. First, disconnect the battery cables to avoid any parasitic drain during storage. Clean the battery terminals with baking soda and water to remove any corrosion.

Once clean, charge the battery to its full capacity using an appropriate battery charger. Check the battery’s charge level every three to six months and recharge it to maintain optimal performance. A well-maintained battery ensures your generator is ready to roar to life when you need it after a prolonged period of rest.

FAQs about (How to start a generator that has been sitting?)

How long can a generator sit unused?

Generators can sit unused for approximately 30 days without problems, given they were in good working condition before storage. Regular maintenance checks and following manufacturer recommendations for long-term storage are crucial to ensure optimal performance and longevity. Properly storing the battery, draining fuel, and protecting the generator from environmental elements can help maintain its condition and readiness for future use.

How do you force to start a generator?

To force start a generator as a last resort, ensure enough fuel and a charged battery. Set the switch to “Off,” engage the choke if applicable, then switch to “Start” using pull cord or electric start. If unsuccessful, seek professional help, as forcing may damage the generator or pose safety risks. Always follow the manufacturer’s guidelines and manual for proper starting procedures.

Why is my generator not starting?

If your generator won’t start, check the fuel level, battery, and spark plug. Ensure the fuel stabilizer isn’t expired, and clean or replace air filters if needed. Clean the carburetor if the generator has been idle for long. If the problem persists, consult a professional technician for further inspection and resolution.

How do you manually start a generator?

To manually start a generator, check fuel level, battery charge, and connection. Turn the switch off, engage the choke if applicable. Pull the recoil starter cord or use the electric start if available. Let it warm up before connecting loads. Consult the manual for specific instructions, and seek professional help if needed to prevent damage.


Now I hope you are fully prepared on “ How to start a generator that has been sitting?” Remember safety should be your top priority when working with electricity. After learning everything about starting generator if your generator still has been not start then I recommend you to get professional help for repairing the generator.

Engr. Amna has been working with on multimeterworld from 2019 and have worked on multiple projects as team leader. He is currently working in JDW Sugar mills and love to write electrical testing guides. His aim is to help 1 million people each year.