Is It Bad to Run a Generator Out of Gas? [Know The Essentials]

generators are meant to be used as a backup, not the main power source. But sometimes, especially during hurricanes, you may have to run a generator for long hours or even for days! How long would you wait then to refill the tank? And more importantly, is it bad to run a generator out of gas?

In general, running a generator out of gas is not a good idea. Not keeping your generator properly fueled is likely to cause the carburetor to dry out and gum up, which is the genesis of all common causes for generator failure.

While some generators will give you signs through different sounds to notify you of the gas shortage, some will just go off without notice. It will be quite difficult to get the generator up and running immediately after refueling in any of the two situations.

But how would you ensure your generator always has gas? Or can you put gas while its running? Let’s find out together.

Is It Bad To Run A Generator Out Of Gas?

It is very bad for you to run your generator out of gas. A generator is like a powerhouse and it works to produce electricity from other energy sources, such as gas. Although not all generators run on gasoline, some use solar and gas found in air compressors. But for those that run and operate with gasoline, you must always keep the tank full or enough gas to keep the generator in good condition.

Is It Bad To Run A Generator Out Of Gas

The truth is that when generators run out of fuel, it can easily damage the coil. At first, the effect on your generator will not be prevalent, but then, the generator will start losing its power and effectiveness. Sooner than later, you will realize it can no longer perform at the state it used to.

Also, since the generator requires gas to operate, once the gas is empty in the tank, it uses the little amount available in the carburetor. And when that gets empty, the generator will go off.

The carburetor should not be kept empty. Even if this happens, you have to refuel the tank and wait for a few minutes for the gas to run through the generator components.

How To Ensure Your Generator Always Has Gas?

The right way to prolong the lifespan of your generator apart from your monthly or weekly service maintenance is to always keep gas in the generator. You should never allow your generator to run out of gas, except for some cases I will discuss shortly.

Below are some ways you can easily make sure your generator has gas while functioning.

How To Ensure Your Generator Always Has Gas

Always Check The Generator When It’S Working

One of the ways you can be so sure your generator is never going to run out of fuel is to constantly check the gas level in the generator. It might not be easy to do because it can be stressful to check the generator at intervals to know if the gas level has dropped.

However, it is a good option to consider as the damages of not doing that might be overwhelming. And you may even have to change your generator coil or the complete engine. So, you need to constantly check the interval, and once you notice the level has dropped, you should fill up the tank.

Add Enough Gas To The Generator

The next option is to get enough gas into the generator tank. It will save you the stress of frequently checking your generator at an interval as you may get through with your task before the gas gets exhausted.

Gas level indicator

If your generator has a faulty gas level indicator, it is difficult to know the amount of gas available in your generator. Unless you open the tank to check of course. The indicator is the best way to know the gas level you have in your tank.

Therefore, if you have a generator with a faulty gauge indicator, you should solve the issue by repairing the gauge.

How Do You Drain Out Gas Before Storing Your Generator?

After using the generator to run well pump or any other activity, you must drain the gas from the generator before storing it. Sometimes, if you look into your gas tank, you might find moisture and other particles as gasoline found in the shop isn’t always the purest.

How Do You Drain Outgas Before Storing Your Generator

So, leaving it there will cause the tank to go through corrosion due to rust formation, and the effect can be damaging the gas tank. Therefore, you should always empty the tank.

To drain the gas out of the gas tank, you need to follow the instruction below:

  1. Switch off the generator and leave it to cool for half an hour with the gas regulator switched off.
  2. Once it cools, you can go ahead to fetch the gasoline keg that you want to use to collect the gas.
  3. You should locate the hose that connects the tank to the carburetor.
  4. Disconnect the hose from the carburetor and insert it into the gasoline keg.
  5. You should then open the tank gas regulator and allow the gas to run into the keg through the hose.
  6. Return the hose to the carburetor, and you now can go ahead to store the generator.

Can You Put Gas In A Generator While It’s Running?

Although it is not safe to put gas in the generator while running, I did try it several times without knowing. Guilty!

Sometimes, you don’t want to have a break for minutes in power backup, leaving you with no option but to put gas while the generator is running.

Can You Put Gas In A Generator While It’S Running

Therefore, if that’s the only option left, you can add gas to the generator. Mind that, adding gas in a generator while it’s running is not a safe thing to do. The reason is if the gas gets to touch the generator silencer, the possibility of a potential fire outbreak gets really high.

Therefore, if you can be meticulous with it and ensure the gas doesn’t spill or splash around, you can go ahead to add gas to a running generator. However, the best practice is switching off the generator, leaving it to cool for a bit, and then adding the gas.


Is it bad to run a generator out of gas? 5 gallons of gas can run for around 8 hours, but what do you do after that? Sometimes we do the wrong thing without knowing the damage to the devices we use. And running your generator even with an empty tank is one of those mistakes. So make sure you have sufficient gasoline stored in the tank before starting a generator.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top
Scroll to Top