Grotberg Electric, Inc.


Image: Lisa Kaplan Gordon for HouseLogic

Everything You Should Know About Portable Generators

Winter is upon us, which often means storms and power outages. Generators can help make these power outages bearable. A few unlucky people discover every year that their generators will not function because of overdue maintenance. 

With a portable generator, it pays to be prepared. Here are some of the most important steps to know: 

Read Your Manual 

Although most people are not known to embrace reading an owner’s manual, it is very important. Every portable generator has its own features, warnings and maintenance steps. Don’t assume you know how a new one works just because you’ve used other generators in the past. Read and fully understand your generator’s manual while the power is still on, enabling you to be ready for operation and maintenance when the power goes out. 


When the power is out is not the best time to find out your Generator will not run. Keep your generator in good running order to avoid headaches when the power goes out. 

  • Use a fuel additive like Stabil when the Generator is not in use. 
  • Change the oil at recommended intervals, or sooner. 

Know Your Limit 

Every appliance requires a certain wattage to run, and every generator has a rated wattage limit. It’s important to calculate your total wattage load and make sure it’s below what your generator can handle. 

Below is a sample list of Household Appliance Wattages: 

  • Deep Freeze 1500 watts 
  • Furnace Fan 800 watts 
  • Refridgerator 700 watts 
  • Microwave 1000 watts 
  • Coffee Make 1000 watts 
  • Television 500 watts 
  • Hair Dryer 1250 watts 
  • Electric Can Opener 168 watts 

Also remember, there is an increase in the watts needed at start-up for each appliance. This needs to be factored in when sizing the generator 

Need help sizing a generator, or perhaps you’re ready to make the upgrade to a hassle-free standby generator? Grotberg Electric would love to help.