A Guide to the Most Important Generator Accessories: What You Will Need to Run Your Generator Effectively and Safely

Last updated: Nov 16, 2020

In order to get the most out of your portable electric generator, generator accessories are an absolute must. Although many portable generators claim to work out of the box, this is usually not the case. If you lack the necessary portable generator accessories, under certain conditions, your generator may not function properly or may become damaged. A damaged or improperly functioning generator can cause injury or death. Thus, it is vital to secure the proper accessories for your generator to ensure that it remains useful to you. The right generator accessories can not only prolong the life and preserve the function of your generator but can also help you get the most out of it by making it more convenient and allowing you to use it in different capacities, such as with your RV or as a backup generator for your home when the power goes out.

Adapters

A Guide to the Most Important Generator Accessories: What You Will Need to Run Your Generator Effectively and Safely

In order to be able to hook up appliances to your portable generator, you must be able to plug your appliance into the generator. However, the plug on your appliances may not fit the outlet on your generator. Also, the kind of electricity supplied by the generator may not match your appliance and may cause damage. In such cases, an adapter is an item you should definitely consider when buying electric generator accessories.

If you are connecting with an extension cord, choose an adapter that is rated with the same power rating as the extension cord so that you do not suffer a line loss in power.

Be sure to get check both the outlet on your generator and the connection of that to which you are connecting it to determine the adapters you will need. For instance, if you are planning to connect your generator to your RV, you will need an adapter that fits your generator on one end and another adapter that plugs into the RV inlet.

Parallel kit

If you find yourself in need of more power than your current portable generator provides but you do not want to purchase a larger or more powerful generator due to space constraints or other considerations, then a parallel kit may provide you with the solution to your problems. A parallel kit essentially allows you to connect another generator to your current generator and run them both in parallel with one another to supply you with more power.

Not every portable generator can be run in parallel with another generator. Check the manual for your generator or contact its manufacturer to determine if your generator can be run in parallel with another.

If your generator is compatible and you decide to purchase a parallel kit, read the instructions completely and follow them carefully to avoid hazardous situations.

Wheel kit

Your generator may not come already equipped with wheels, and it may be quite heavy and cumbersome to move from place to place. If this is the case, a wheel kit is an essential addition to your generator accessories set, as it will make your generator portable and make it much easier to transport. It is best to find a set of generator wheels which will never go flat, as they will be the easiest to maintain over time.

Each brand of generator may have a specific wheel kit designed specifically for that brand of generator. Buying the designated wheel kit for your generator will ensure that you will not need to make any changes or adjustments to the generator (no drilling). But a generic wheel kit may require some alterations to your generator.

Before you purchase a wheel kit, consult your generator manual or contact the manufacturer to decide which wheel kits will be most compatible with your particular generator.

Maintenance kit

Another vital addition to your DIY generator accessories set is a maintenance kit. Your portable generator will need regular maintenance to ensure its proper and optimal function. You can usually buy a maintenance kit and any other portable generator accessories you may need from the same place in which you bought your portable generator.

A proper maintenance kit for your electric generator should contain the following: spark plugs which will be used to replace the old or worn-out spark plugs in your generator, oil which will be used to change the used oil, air filters to replace the dirty air filters, and extra oil filters to replace the dirty ones in your generator.

The maintenance you will need to perform on your generator will include the replacement of spark plugs after 100 hours of use, an oil change after every 50 to 60 hours of use, the replacement of air filters at least one to two times per year, and the replacement of the oil filter whenever the oil is changed.

Transfer switch

A Guide to the Most Important Generator Accessories: What You Will Need to Run Your Generator Effectively and Safely

A transfer switch is a crucial accessory for your home backup generator or the generator for your RV. A transfer switch functions to transfer the load from one source of electricity to another source, that is, from the main supply of electricity to the backup generator. It should also be able to change the electricity load back to the main power supply when it is restored.

In the United States, portable generators which are connected to a home or another type of building are legally required to be equipped with a transfer switch. This will prevent the extremely hazardous and possibly even deadly situation of two power sources being hooked up to and feeding power into one electric circuit at the same time.

There are two kinds of transfer switches: manual transfer switches and automatic transfer switches. A manual transfer switch is a transfer switch that must be operated manually; when the main electricity supply goes out, you must flip the manual switch yourself to change to the supply of your home generator. An automatic transfer switch will switch between the two power sources automatically; it will detect when the main utility goes out and switch to the backup generator without your having to flip a physical switch and will also change the load from the generator back to the main supply once it has been restored.

It is highly recommended to hire a professional technician to install the transfer switch for you. This will ensure proper connections and eliminate the risks of fatalities from improperly installed connections.

Extension cords

It is vital that you obtain the right kind of extension cords to which you can connect your generator. Generators are required to be positioned at a distance of fifteen feet or more from a building. Thus, extension cords will be necessary for you to connect your generator to the main electrical panel of your building.

The best kinds of extension cords to use in this situation are heavy duty extension cords which are made for extreme weather. This will ensure that you have access to the power from your generator even in adverse weather conditions when the weather may have knocked out the main supply.

Be sure to buy the power cord with the amps that correspond to the amperage necessary for your generator. This information is usually listed on the generator itself or in the user manual.

Also, remember to take into consideration the length of the extension cord and determine the length that best suits your needs. It may be helpful to consult with the technician who installs your transfer switch as to the length and thickness of the extension cords recommended for your generator.

Muffler

Because portable generators (especially the more powerful ones) make a lot of noise, manufacturers have tried to produce generators which work more quietly with noise reduction features. However, this is usually not enough, especially if you plan to take your generator to a campsite where noise limit regulations are enforced at night. Thus, to make your generator even quieter, you can invest in a muffler or a silencer for your generator.

In addition to silencers or mufflers made specifically for portable generators, there is also the possibility of purchasing a car muffler and having it modified to fit your generator. If you choose to go this route, you should have a professional do the car muffler conversion for you, since car engines function quite differently from portable generators.

If noise is still too much of a problem, you may wish to consider upgrading your generator to a quieter model or to an inverter generator.

Cover

A Guide to the Most Important Generator Accessories: What You Will Need to Run Your Generator Effectively and Safely

If you intend to leave your portable generator outdoors, you should invest in a proper cover for your generator. Ideally, a generator should be stored indoors when it is not in use, but this is not always possible or convenient with particularly heavy or large generators. Thus, to shield your generator from rain and other inclement weather, a weatherproof cover may be necessary. This will keep your generator from becoming damaged by weather conditions and by dirt, rust, and dust.

When selecting a cover for your generator, be sure it is of the right size for your generator and that it is rated as weatherproof and will therefore offer your generator the adequate protection it needs from the elements.

Remote control start kit

When you are considering what accessories are needed for a portable generator, you may add a remote start kit to the list if you want to enjoy the convenience of being able to start your generator without having to walk to its physical location. This can be helpful if your generator is in a location that is not so easy to access.

A remote control start kit may consist of either a wireless remote control or a remote control which is connected to your generator by an extremely long cable. In either case, you will need to check the specifications of your portable generator to determine whether a remote start can be installed. It is also recommended to secure the services of a professional to install your remote start kit.

Fuel stabilizer

If you are intending to store gasoline or diesel inside your generator for a period of time, then your list of portable generator accessories should include a fuel stabilizer. A fuel stabilizer serves to prevent the buildup of gum and preserves your fuel in a fresh state and in a good condition so you can use the generator at any time without any fuel problems. Otherwise, without a fuel stabilizer, you will be forced to drain the fuel from your generator each time before you store it.

The fuel stabilizer should be added to the generator at the time when you refuel your portable generator. Fuel that is already stale cannot be refreshed by fuel stabilizer. If you have simultaneously added fuel stabilizer when refueling your generator, the fuel should remain in a fresh state for several months.

If your generator is solar powered or natural gas powered, a fuel stabilizer is not necessary.

Cold weather kit

A cold weather kit will be a necessary part of your electric generator accessories kit if you intend to use the generator in a colder climate. The cold weather kit will enable you to keep your generator running properly in cold weather and prevent it from being damaged by temperatures which are lower than normal.

The battery in your portable generator may stop working if the temperature falls too low. The oil in your generator can become too thick to allow your generator to function properly. Thus, a cold weather kit for will contain a heater for your battery which is activated when the temperature falls below a certain point and an oil heater to keep your oil smooth and thin.

In conclusion

Equipping your generator with suitable generator accessories can make your generator more convenient to use. It can also protect your generator from becoming damaged, prolong the longevity and function of your generator, and, in some cases, prevent injury or fatality. In order to ensure the safest, longest-lasting, and most convenient generator experience, invest in portable generator accessories suitable to your particular model of generator.

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