How To Fix An Overloaded Generator? – 8 Tips To Prevent It

In this guide, you will learn how to fix an overloaded generator, what are the causes, and how to prevent it.

You can fix the overloaded generator easily; just follow the steps below to prevent it from happening again.

What Happens If Your Generator Is Overloaded (Signs Of Overloaded Generators)

  • Modern generators have a circuit breaker for protection; once the generator becomes overloaded the circuit breaker will trip.
  • Modern units also have indicator lights; you will find them once cross the limit.
  • The generator turns off after a few seconds.
  • You will find increased noise levels, of fans, engines, etc.
  • Voltage fluctuations, appliances change the intensity, like lights start flickering.
  • The generator becomes overheats because the engine wants to produce more power.
  •  Smoke emitted from the exhaust or vents will also feel increased and fast exhaust.

How To Fix An Overloaded Generator (Step-By-Step Guide)

#1. Disconnect all electrical appliances.

#2. Check out the rated and starting wattage of both generator and appliances you want to use.

#3. Restart the generator by pressing the restart button for about 1 – 3 seconds.

#4. If the overloaded lights are gone make sure to reconnect the electrical appliances or tools one by one, make sure to check out the wattage ratings.

#5. Make sure to don’t overload your unit again, if an overloading light appears start disconnecting 1 or 2 appliances.

NOTE: if the overloaded light is still ON, turn off the generator and seek help from any expert because there may be a short circuit. Due to the short circuit, AC and DC circuit breakers shut down automatically.

Checkout our guide about How To Ground A Generator

Causes Of Overloading The Generator

  • The most common cause of overloading the generator is exceeding its wattage limits.
Causes Of Overloading The Generator

E.g. If you operate an appliance or sum of appliances with 3000 starting and 2500 running watts on a generator of 2000 running and 3000 starting watts it will surely overload.

The bottom line is you don’t need to increase the power limits.

  • A short circuit could be another major reason for overloading the generator.
  • In some cases, if you run your generator for a long without connecting any load you may face overload indications, make sure to connect a load after starting your machine.

How Can You Prevent A Generator From Overloading?

It is an easy task to avoid your generator from being overloaded; I am using the following tips.

  • Make sure to check out the rated and starting watts of every tool, or appliance you want to use.
  • Also, check out the rated and starting wattage of your generator as well, never increase the capacity by powering a high-wattage appliance or the sum of appliances.
  • Use the parallel option if you have an inverter generator to increase the wattage.
  • Get a bigger one if your selected unit is not able to full fill your needs. Check out how many appliances you can run with a 5000 watts generator?
  • Always use the generator in a well-ventilated area so that exhaust gases can be emitted perfectly without overheating the machine.
  • Make sure to check out the conditions of breakers and circuits during maintenance.
  • If you have replaced the circuits or breakers make sure to check out their rating etc., they should be of the same rating and quality.
  • Make sure to get an AVR (automatic voltage regulator) to avoid damaging your appliances and generators. You can get a detailed guide about AVR here.

Why Is My Generator Overloading With Nothing Plugged In?

The major cause of overloading the generator without a plug-in is, that the generator runs for a long without powering any device.  both modern and old generators are not designed to operate for a long without providing power, in case you have done it follow the steps below to fix it.

  • Turn off the generator, and press the overload reset button to reset it.
  • Restart it and add some load.

Also if your generator still shows a warning make sure to contact a local expert, it may be a sign of any fault.

Checkout our guide about top 5000 watts generators

Consequences Of Overloading A Generator

  • Most of the generators use gasoline or propane if it got an uncontrolled amount of heat the propane or gasoline tank maybe explode.
  • Due to the voltage fluctuations, you may lose your expensive voltage-sensitive devices, tools, or appliance.


If you want to run your generator for a long time please don’t put a huge load on your generator, I suggest you utilize 70 – 80% of the capacity, don’t put 90 – 98% load.  Overloading the generator may cause several appliances failure please avoid it as much as you can.

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Frequently Asked Questions – FAQs

How do you reset a generator?

You just need to OFF the generator and press the reset button to restart your machine.

Can you damage a generator by overloading it?

Though the generator becomes shut off after being overloaded still, there are some risks of overheating and voltage fluctuations, etc. due to the voltage fluctuations you may lose your sensitive appliances however, due to excessive heat there is a risk of explosion if a tank of propane or gasoline is near to the generator.

What happens if you overload a gas generator?

It will automatically shuts-off or become noisy, fluctuating voltages, and become overheated depending on the model. Modern models have circuit breakers that automatically trip, however, older models heat up or produce strange sounds.

josh Milan


Josh is a highly skilled electrician with specialized expertise in the field of generators. With years of experience under his belt, he has established himself as an expert in all aspects of generators, ranging from installation and maintenance to troubleshooting and repairs. Josh’s in-depth knowledge of electrical systems and his commitment to staying updated with the latest industry advancements make him a reliable and sought-after professional.

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