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Generator FAQs

Answers to FAQs about generators, as well as basic troubleshooting steps for WEN generators. 

General questions

How do I know what generator is right for me? How do I choose a generator?

Selecting a generator can be confusing. Our guide to selecting a generator may be helpful. For more information, please also check out the following articles:

What is the recommended break-in period? 

The procedure below should be followed when you receive your WEN generator in order to prolong the engine's service life. This procedure helps to seat the piston rings properly in the cylinder, and will reduce overall wear on the engine. For the first 8 hours of operation, vary the load, but keep it at or below 50% of the generator's rated wattage, if possible. If your generator is equipped with an Eco-mode switch (only applicable for certain inverter generators), engage Eco-mode periodically during the first 8 hours. After the first 8 hours, change the oil, then change it again after the first 25 hours. You may run the generator at full load after the 8-hour oil change.

Frequent oil changes will ensure your engine stays in top condition and gives you as long a service life as possible. Refer to your generator's owner's manual for the recommended maintenance schedule.

Where is my generator's serial number located? 

WEN generators' serial numbers can be found in one of a couple of places : 

  1. Next to the oil dipstick, engraved on the side of the crankcase.
  2. On the main specifications label (certain models). This label is usually on the side or top of the generator, on the frame, or on the fuel tank.

WEN generator serial number locations - side of generator or main specifications label

The serial number can be found on the side of the crankcase (all models) or on the main specifications label (most models).

Where is my generator's model number located? 

Your generator's model number can be found in one of three places (see also the photo above): 

  1. On the main specifications label. This label is usually on the side or top of the generator, on the frame, or on the fuel tank.
  2. On the front cover of your generator's manual.
  3. On the main specifications page of your generator's manual (usually page 3).

    How should I prepare my generator for hurricane season, blackouts, winter, or severe weather? 

    We have several helpful guides available on preparing for hurricane season and severe weather, blackouts, and winter. Even if you live in a magical land that experiences none of these, it's a good idea to keep your generator prepared.

    What are the maintenance procedures like for my generator?

    Please review the maintenance procedures in your owner's manual. Making sure your generator's oil is changed, and the spark plug, spark arrestor, air filter, and carburetor are kept clean, will extend your generator's life and make sure you get as much service as possible from your machine.

    How should I store my generator? 

    Please review the storage procedures in your owner's manual. It's a good idea to add fuel stabilizer and drain the carburetor to make starting the generator after storage as easy as possible.

    How do I replace a component on my generator? 

    We have several helpful guides available for replacing some of the most commonly-replaced components on generators, including the carbon brushes, voltage regulator (AVR), carburetor, and air filter. If you need help replacing another component, please contact us.

    How do I install a high-altitude kit on my generator? 

    WEN recommends that high-altitude kits be installed by a professional, certified mechanic. However, if you want to do it yourself, follow the instructions included with your high-altitude kit. If you have any questions, please contact us.

    Why do I need to use a high-altitude kit? 

    It has to do with the physics of altitude. At high altitudes, the air pressure is lower than at sea level. Your generator runs on a mixture of fuel and air, and is calibrated to operate at altitudes between sea level and 2000 - 3000 feet. The fuel-air mixture needs to be adjusted at higher altitudes, since the air is thinner. This adjustment is done by installing a new carburetor jet into the carburetor, which is the component on your generator responsible for controlling the fuel-air mixture. The kit is basically a jet and new gaskets (in case the old ones are damaged). ALWAYS uninstall the high-altitude kit when operating your generator at altitudes below the kit's range. Failure to do so could damage your generator.

    At very high altitudes, your generator may experience a loss of power, even with the high-altitude kit installed. See your generator's owner's manual for more information, or check our our handy article on running a generator at high altitude.

    Do I need to use a high-altitude kit on my dual-fuel generator if I only plan to use propane (LPG) as fuel? 

    Yes, we recommend it. For best results, you should use a high-altitude kit on dual-fuel generators, regardless of what fuel is being used (gasoline or LPG), when operating at high altitudes. The main issue is the power that the generator can produce. At higher altitudes, the generator will produce less power because of the lower air pressure, since the engine will have to work harder and use more fuel. The high-altitude kit helps compensate for this problem by using a smaller carburetor jet. So even though (on some WEN generators) the propane line bypasses the carburetor bowl and goes straight into the intake (between the choke and throttle), the jet still adjusts the air mixture to compensate. 

    Do I need to use a high-altitude kit if my generator has electronic fuel injection (EFI)? 

    No. The fuel system on your generator will sense and automatically adjust the amount of fuel needed based on your altitude and engine temperature.

      Troubleshooting

      Get your owner's manual handy - it will be helpful in troubleshooting. If you don't have a physical copy of your manual, you may be able to find it online. All WEN products' manuals are linked on each model number's page; just enter your model number into the search bar above.

      My generator won't start. What's going on?

      There are many reasons your generator may not want to start. Our helpful guide lists 10 common reasons your generator won't start. Also consult the troubleshooting steps in your generator's owner's manual. If after that your generator still won't start, please contact us for assistance.

      My generator won't produce electricity. What's the problem? 

      Check the troubleshooting steps in your owner's manual. Make sure none of the breakers on your generator's control panel have tripped. If you have an inverter generator, try resetting the circuit (if your generator has a reset button - all WEN inverter generators have one). Also check if there are any warning lights, error codes, or other issues shown on the control panel. 

      If you do not have an inverter generator, make sure your generator's carbon brushes aren't worn down (replace them if they are). If that is not the issue, the automatic voltage regulator may be faulty, there may be a loose wire somewhere, or there could be another problem - please contact us for assistance.

      My generator won't stay running, or shuts down after a few minutes - even if there is no load connected. Why?

      Usually, this is due to one of a few issues. Check the following:

      1. Make sure there is enough oil, and the proper viscosity is being used (consult your owner's manual). WEN generators have a low-oil shutdown switch to shut down the engine if there is not enough oil, in order to protect the engine. 
      2. Make sure there is enough fuel in the tank. If using LPG, make sure there is enough propane in the tank, and all hose fittings are tightened.
      3. Make sure the fuel valve is on, and fuel runs through it. 
      4. If applicable, make sure the fuel tank cap valve is turned ON. (This component is found mostly on small inverter generators.)
      5. Make sure the air filter, carburetor, spark arrestor are clean.
      6. Make sure the spark plug produces a strong, clean spark.

      If after checking these steps, you're still having trouble, please contact us for assistance.

      My generator is hunting (or the engine is revving up and down). What can I do?

      This is usually caused by an airflow or fuel flow issue. Failing to drain the carburetor before storage is a very common cause of this issue. Check the following: 

      1. Make sure there is enough fuel in the tank. If using LPG, make sure there is enough propane in the tank, and all hose fittings are tightened.
      2. Make sure the fuel valve is on, and fuel runs through it. 
      3. If applicable, make sure the fuel tank cap valve is turned ON. (This component is found mostly on small inverter generators.)
      4. Make sure the air filter, carburetor, spark arrestor are clean. 

      If after checking these steps, you're still having trouble, please contact us for assistance.

      Why won't my generator run my device?

      Make sure the device is properly connected to the generator, and is turned on. Make sure the extension cord (if being used) is rated to handle the device's power requirements (consult your owner's manual), and that the generator itself is rated to handle the device's power requirements (see our helpful guide to selecting a generator for more information, as well as your owner's manual). A good rule of thumb is to estimate wattage by multiplying the device's voltage (V) by its amperage (A).

      However, some devices (especially microwaves and devices with motors) do not necessarily follow this rule. Microwaves are often rated for the wattage they put out, not necessarily the wattage they need to run. For example, a 1500-watt microwave may draw as many as 3000 watts of power when in use.

      Finally, in certain conditions, generators need to be derated. This means the power they're capable of producing in these conditions is lower than in the standard conditions at which they're rated (usually between 65 and 75 degrees F, at an altitude between 0 - 1000 feet above sea level). These conditions include, but are not limited to:

      • High altitude: for every 1000 feet above sea level, an engine can lose between 2% - 5% of its rated power.
      • High temperatures: for every 10 degrees above 75 F, an engine can lose 1% - 2% of its rated power.

      I'm finding an open ground or reverse polarity (hot/neutral reversed) on my generator. How do I correct this? 

      Many WEN generators use a floating neutral wiring configuration. This means that the neutral line is not connected to the generator's frame or ground. This is a common configuration for many generators, and is helpful if you plan to connect your generator to an RV or transfer switch. Some meters and other polarity testers may not give accurate readings on floating neutral generators. If you are getting a reading of an open ground or reversed polarity, check with your tester's manufacturer to see if it is OK to use on floating neutral generators. If you're still having problems, you can try bonding neutral to ground using a dummy plug, and re-testing. Please don't hesitate to contact us if you have any questions.