Parts & accessories
Proper Extension Cord Types and Usage
It’s impossible to use a portable generator without some kind of extension cord. However, you shouldn’t just choose any old cord from your hardware store. Here are some tips for selecting the right types of cords and how to use them safely and effectively.
Tips for Finding the Right Cord
The first thing you should consider is if you are using your portable generator for recreation or backup power. That’s because it’s important to make sure the gauge (or thickness of the wire) and length of the cord fits your purposes. As a general rule, you should never use an extension cord longer than you absolutely need, but if you’re using the portable generator for emergency power, you’ll need one at least 20 ft. long to ensure you’re running your generator at a safe distance from your home. Recreational use will allow for shorter extension cords.
Then there is the gauge of the cord to consider. Heavier gauge cords are designed to accommodate longer runs and higher power requirements. The more amperage you are pulling through an extension, the heavier gauge it will require to accommodate that current flow. Many retailers sell extension cords by “duty”, i.e. light duty, heavy duty, extra heavy duty, etc. If you’re powering small appliances or lights, a light duty cord will likely suffice. Powering a circular saw, however, might require heavy duty or extra heavy duty.
Additionally, the amperage rating of the cord must at least be able to accommodate the amperage rating of the outlet. This is important to avoid overloading both the extension cord and the generator.
You also want to make sure the cord has a UL label. This shows it complies with UL standards.
Generac Cord Specifications
Generac offers a variety of extension cords designed specifically for generator use. These cords are 10 or 30 feet long and can be used for up to 7500 watts. They are 30 amps, and stay flexible even in subzero temperatures. They work with an L14-30 plug and connector, or a (4) 5-20 connector.
Safe Extension Cord Use
When you’re using your extension cord, make sure it is long enough to keep the inverter generator away from your equipment, tools, or campfire. For emergency power, make sure it’s long enough to keep your generator away from windows and doors so that carbon monoxide does not enter your home.
Always start the generator before plugging an extension cord into it. Otherwise, you put unnecessary strain on the generator and risk damaging it.
If you need an extension cord to get more use of out of your inverter portable generator, we have them available on our parts or dealers’ websites.