Updated May 22, 2023

What Happens If You Overload a Generator – Mechanic Guide

You may have heard that you can overload your generator, so it’s important to understand what this means and how to avoid it.

Overloading a generator can result in serious injury or even death if you don’t take the proper precautions before getting it ready for use. to learn what happens if you overload a generator.

For more information on how to avoid these dangers, read this post about the risks if you overload a generator.

What Happens If You Overload a Generator


1) Cracking Engine Cylinders

Faulty spark plugs will cause the engine to run rough or not start at all. If your engine overheats and boils water out of the coolant reservoir or uses too much oil, it may be suffering from cracked cylinders.

These cracks often develop from uneven wear and tear in your engine’s compression and sleeve bushings.

While many people think a vehicle can’t be saved if it has been damaged by cracked cylinders (and it is unlikely for any auto mechanic to make such a claim), you should still have your vehicle looked at by an expert to see if the problem is just temporary or needs immediate attention.

2) Risk of Fire Overload a Generator

Generators can produce harmful levels of carbon monoxide. Carbon monoxide is colorless and odorless. Breathing in high levels of carbon monoxide over an extended period can be fatal.

If the power goes out, if you have to rely on generators to power your home, make sure they are running at their proper level so as not to create too much carbon monoxide gas in your home.

Generators create hazardous gases and particulates when combusting fuel for electricity.

These gases and particulates can be detrimental to both human health and the environment when emitted into the air or released into waterways or soils through stormwater runoff from contaminated rainwater that has been generated from refueling or washing oil during cleanups.

Related: What Kind Of Oil Does a Generator Use?

3) Risk of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

  • In certain circumstances, overloading a generator could cause carbon monoxide poisoning.
  • According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 20 people die each year from unintentional carbon monoxide poisoning caused by heating equipment that isn’t vented properly or venting into the house via a fireplace or stovepipes.
  • This is known as the silent killer because you can’t see it or smell it and you may not know it’s in your home until it’s too late.

Related: What Size Generator To Run 5 Ton Ac Unit?

4) Risk of Ruptured Oil Lines and Leaks

Ruptured oil lines and leaks are one of the risks if you overload a generator. The heat from your overloaded generator can make this worse by quickly cooking the nearby oil until it boils away or explodes.

You’ll be staring down at your leaking, a sputtering mess for hours before being able to get help with cleanup.

If it’s near your home or business that exploded, you could even be looking at bankruptcy or destruction all around you.

To avoid this risk, plan and invest in more power so that you don’t put more than what your circuits are designed to handle.

There’s no telling when any kind of power outage might happen. It’s better to err on the side of caution and have too much capacity than not enough in case the unthinkable happens.

Related: Why Is There Oil In My Generator Air Filter?

5) Risk of Carbon Dioxide Emissions

One of the risks of overloading a generator is carbon dioxide emissions. Carbon dioxide emissions are harmful because they can reduce oxygen levels in the atmosphere.

Reduced oxygen levels in the atmosphere could be bad for people who live near power plants and cause them to develop respiratory problems.

Carbon dioxide emissions also contribute to climate change and global warming by trapping heat that would otherwise escape out into space. In other words, CO2 in the air acts like an insulating blanket around the Earth!

6) Risk of Auto Ignition from Gasoline Exhaust

Gasoline is highly flammable and combustible. The exhaust from gasoline-powered generators can cause the fuel to ignite causing a fire.

This is why you need to make sure that your generator has an area for its exhaust to dissipate into the air rather than vent it into the surrounding environment.

Fuel leakage can also cause the auto-ignition of gas fumes which can lead to disastrous consequences if ignored or not detected.

If you overload your generator with an electrical load it may cause an increase in fuel consumption, producing more exhaust which creates the risk of auto-ignition when mixed with oxygen in the air ̶ either inside or outside the generator’s environment.

7) Risk of Motor Damage from Carbon Deposits

The risks start with potential damage to the motor if the engine is in use when overloaded. Carbon deposits in cylinders and on valves could result.

The engine will still be running but it may not have the necessary power to complete its work. If this happens, more energy will be required from other sources like an alternator or battery.

Running at an increased load for extended periods can cause permanent damage to other components as well including exhaust and cooling systems as well as intake manifolds.

8) Risk of Burnt Drive Belts

1. If you overload your generator it could result in burnt drive belts or ruin the motor completely. This means if you overload it and can’t get to an electrical store on time to buy another one, then that generator is toast and you’ll need to buy a new one.

2. Another risk of overloading your generator is that it might not turn on when you need it most if there’s an emergency or severe weather event (windstorm, flood, etc.).

Having access to power during these events is vital for safety and for preparing for whatever may come next.

9) Potential Unsafe Operation

We all know how important it is to be safe around electricity. Making sure that we unplug our machines when not in use, keep the number of appliances we are using to an optimum level, and turn off our breakers if we’re not using them will keep us safe.

But what happens when you overload your generator? Electrical overloads can lead to fatal electric shocks or even fires.

It’s important to take precautions against overloading your generator with these risks if you overload a generator:

10) Not Enough Power

Generators typically have a maximum number of watts they can output. If you overload your generator by using more wattage than the machine can handle or by using it at full capacity for longer than what is recommended then you risk not having enough power to keep everything running during an outage.

Not only will your devices like air conditioners and freezers stop working but if it is summertime and your generator malfunctions you might also risk getting into trouble with the authorities.

Conclusion: What Happens If You Overload a Generator?

It’s important to keep in mind that if you overload a generator, there are going to be problems. The generator is going to stop working. It may even break down. You don’t need to worry about this. All you have to do is to make sure that you have enough power to handle the demand. conclude for what happens if you overload a generator

About Saad Ahmed
Hi am Saad Ahmed and as you can see that i have been a generator mechanic for the past 12 years of experience in this industry. But now i am Full time digital marketer and affiliate blogger.