Can You Fill A Generator While It’s Running?

Backup diesel or petrol generators come in many shapes and sizes, but one common thread that runs through all of them is that, from time to time, they will need their fuel tanks to be refilled. Yes, you can fill a generator while it’s running, but the real question is whether it’s a good idea or not. In this article, we unpack five reasons why you shouldn’t fill a running generator and offer advice on how to properly refill large generators without having to run back and forth from the petrol station.

The dangers of refilling a generator that is running

Think refilling a generator while it’s operating is neither here nor there? Here are five reasons why you should consider:

  1. It’s a major fire hazard
    Starting with arguably the most serious potential consequence of refilling a generator while it’s running, we’ve got two words: fire hazard. Filling a generator with fuel while it is running can create a spark, which could ignite the fuel, causing a fire and potentially doing serious harm to both the person filling the tank and the generator’s surroundings.
  2. Carbon monoxide poisoning
    When a fossil fuel generator is running it produces carbon monoxide, a toxic gas that can be deadly if inhaled in excess. Adding fuel to a generator’s fuel tank while it is in operation can increase the level of carbon monoxide in the air, putting any people nearby the site at serious risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.
  3. You could spill the fuel
    This hazard to refilling a generator while it is in operation isn’t life-threatening, but it can seriously hurt your bank balance. With fuel prices skyrocketing in South Africa, every drop counts! Refilling a generator while it is running increases the risk of spilling the fuel, which can create a fire hazard and possibly damage the generator.
  4. You could get electrocuted
    Believe it or not, filling a generator while it’s going could leave you shocked – literally! Generators contain electrical components that are energized even when the generator is not feeding the building with electrical power. Touching these components while refilling the generator can result in an electrical shock, and the chances of accidentally touching them while the generator is vibrating are higher than if the generator were off.
  5. Damage to your generator
    The last thing you want for your generator, especially when facing higher and higher stages of load shedding, is for the generator to end up damaged and out of action. Adding fuel to a running generator can cause damage to the engine and other components due to the movement of fuel and turbulence in the fuel tank. This can end up shortening the lifespan of your generator.

How to properly refill a large generator

Save yourself trips to the fuel station by choosing to have your backup power generator refilled by generator experts. We have special mobile fuel refilling equipment that we can take to where your generator is situated. We know how to safely fill your generator’s tank, without spilling anything! The best part? Nobody has to be electrocuted or poisoned by carbon monoxide!

Partner with KZN’s generator people

If you’re looking to refill your backup generator, you can get in touch with us at S&A Generators. Not only do we provide generator refilling services, but we also conduct a range of other generator services including generator installs, generator relocations, generator maintenance and generator repairs. Contact us today to discuss any and all of your generator-related needs.

Explore our generator projects.

Read more of our blog articles.