Can I Refuel a Generator While It’s Running?

Can I Refuel a Generator While It’s Running?

When dealing with generators, prioritizing safety should be paramount. Similar to operating any motor-driven equipment, such as vehicles, exercising caution is crucial. In this guide, we will explore whether it is possible to refuel a generator while it’s running. You might have come across online videos featuring individuals refueling their vehicles while the engine remains operational, leading to dramatic and hazardous flare-ups.

The Safety Concerns

Why You Should Turn Off Your Generator Before Refueling

When it comes to generators, safety should always be a top priority. Just like with any motor-operated equipment, such as vehicles, it’s crucial to exercise caution. You may have seen videos online where individuals refuel their cars while the engine is still running, resulting in dramatic bursts of flames. The same principle applies to generators.

Refueling a generator while it’s running can potentially create a spark inside the fuel tank. This spark, if ignited, could cause serious harm or damage to your generator, surroundings, or even yourself. Therefore, to ensure your safety and the safety of your equipment, you should always shut off your generator before refueling it.

Allow for Cooling Time

For an extra layer of safety, it is advisable to let your generator cool off for a few minutes before adding more fuel. This waiting period allows everything to settle down and reduces the risk of any lingering sparks or fumes. Once you’ve waited, you can safely refuel your generator, start it back up, and let it run for a few minutes before putting a load back on it.

Understanding the Risks

Refueling a generator while it’s running might seem like a time-saving measure, but it can have severe consequences. The potential risks include:

1. Fire Hazard

As mentioned earlier, the generation of sparks during the refueling process can lead to a fire hazard. Gasoline and diesel fumes are highly flammable, and even a tiny spark can set off a dangerous chain reaction. The resulting fire can cause significant damage to your generator and surroundings.

2. Equipment Damage

Refueling a running generator can also damage the generator itself. The sudden introduction of fuel can disrupt the internal components and lead to malfunctions or breakdowns. Repairing or replacing a damaged generator can be costly and time-consuming.

3. Personal Injury

The most critical risk is personal injury. Refueling a generator while it’s running can result in severe burns, injuries, or even fatalities. Safety should always come first, and taking unnecessary risks with equipment that has the potential to cause harm is not advisable.

Safe Generator Refueling Practices

To summarize the safe practices for refueling your generator:

  1. Turn Off the Generator: Always turn off your generator before refueling, just like you would with any motor-operated equipment.
  2. Allow for Cooling Time: Let your generator cool off for a few minutes after shutting it down before adding more fuel.
  3. Use Caution: When refueling, take precautions to prevent spills and ensure that fuel is poured carefully into the tank.
  4. Stay Alert: Keep a close eye on your surroundings and ensure there are no open flames or potential sources of ignition nearby.
  5. Proper Ventilation: Ensure the area where you’re refueling is well-ventilated to disperse any fumes safely.


At Teague Electric, we emphasize the importance of safety in all electrical matters. So, can you refuel a generator while it’s running? The answer is a resounding no. The risks associated with such a practice far outweigh any potential time-saving benefits.

Your safety and the longevity of your generator should always be your top priorities. If you have any questions or need assistance with generator maintenance, repairs, or installations, please don’t hesitate to contact us.