How Do I Know If My Generator Is Overloaded?

How Do I Know If My Generator Is Overloaded?

Power outages can be a real inconvenience, especially during severe weather conditions or emergencies. That’s where generators come to the rescue, providing a reliable source of electricity when you need it most. However, it’s crucial to understand that even these trusty machines have their limits. In this blog, we will discuss how to identify if your generator is overloaded – a critical aspect of generator ownership that often goes unnoticed until electrical issues arise.

Understanding Generator Overload

Recognizing Overload

The primary sign that your portable generator is overloaded is when it starts bogging down. This is something you can hear – your generator will make unusual noises and experience fluctuations in its sounds. These symptoms are a clear indication that your generator is struggling to handle the electrical load placed upon it.

The Generator Breaker

Every portable generator comes equipped with a breaker for a good reason. When you overload your generator by drawing too much energy, this breaker will trip. It’s an essential safety mechanism designed to protect your generator from damage and prevent potential hazards. The breaker tripping is a straightforward signal that you need to reconsider the electrical load your generator is supporting.

Avoiding Overload: Expert Strategies

Effective Load Management

One of the most efficient ways to steer clear of generator overload is by managing your electrical loads intelligently. If you’ve set up your portable generator with an interlock kit, you have the power to decide which appliances or circuits are active. To make informed choices, you need to know how much energy, in terms of amps or watts, your generator can supply. This knowledge allows you to select which devices to power, preventing overload.

Understanding Circuit Limits

Even the largest generators, like a 50-amp generator, have their limitations. Attempting to run multiple 220-volt circuits concurrently is a recipe for overloading your generator. This is a pitfall that many homeowners fall into, especially when trying to power high-demand appliances like ovens, dryers, or electric water heaters. To avoid overloading your generator, you must make decisions about which appliances to use when running a 220-volt circuit.

Recognizing the Signs of Overload

The Auditory Clues

The most conspicuous sign of generator overload is the distinctive sound it produces. When your generator operates optimally, it emits a steady hum. However, when overloaded, it begins to struggle, resulting in fluctuating sounds and unusual noises. Paying attention to these auditory cues is vital for taking proactive steps to prevent further issues.

The Importance of Monitoring

In addition to the audible signs, it’s a good practice to monitor the voltage and load levels on your generator. Many generators come equipped with digital displays that provide real-time information about the electrical load. Keeping an eye on these indicators can help you identify potential overload situations before they escalate into more significant problems.


At Teague Electric, our steadfast commitment to expertise and reliability is the foundation of our electrical services in Kansas City. We prioritize every aspect of your electrical needs, including ensuring your generator functions smoothly. Now that you are well-versed in how to recognize the number one sign of generator overload, you are better equipped to take preventative measures.

Should you suspect your generator is overloaded or have any other electrical concerns, do not hesitate to contact us. Our highly experienced team is ready to assist you and ensure your electrical needs are met promptly and effectively.