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How to Troubleshoot a Homelite Portable Generator

Bonnie Conrad

Having a portable generator on hand can provide real peace of mind, giving you the ability to run your refrigerator and other essential appliances even when the power is out. Since the generator is such an important piece of emergency equipment, it is important to care for and maintain it properly.

It is also important to know what troubleshooting steps to take when your Homelite generator runs poorly or will not start.

  1. Try to start the generator. If the Homelite generator will not start, one of the most likely reasons is that the fuel has become degraded. Generators are used only occasionally; that means they are unused but filled with fuel. That fuel will begin to deteriorate over time. Eventually, the quality of the fuel will become so degraded that the unit will not start. For this reason, it is a good idea to pick up a container of fresh fuel when bad weather is expected. In addition to providing an important backup, this extra fuel can keep the generator running longer.

  2. Drain the fuel tank completely and refill the Homelite generator with fresh fuel. Try to start the unit again. If the generator still will not start, the problem could be a clogged or dirty air filter. Consult your owner’s manual for the location of the filter on your generator model and remove the filter from its housing. In most cases, the filter housing is designed to snap open. In some older models, however, you may need a small screwdriver to remove it. Examine the filter for dust, dirt and other debris that could be blocking the airflow. If the filter is only slightly worn, you may be able to clean and replace it, but if it is severely blocked it is best to replace it. It is always a good idea to purchase several extra filters so that you have one on hand if the filter becomes dirty or damaged. Operating the generator under dusty conditions can greatly reduce filter life, so pay attention to when and how you use your Homelite generator.

  3. Check the condition of the spark plug. A worn, fouled or dirty spark plug can cause your Homelite generator to run poorly or not start at all. Some models of Homelite generators were prone to flooding. If your unit is not starting properly, you may want to check the spark plug for the presence of unburned fuel. Carefully remove the spark plug cover and remove the spark plug. Examine it for signs of wear and damage, then clean and replace the plug. If the spark plug is fouled or appears to be damaged, replace it with a new one. Try to keep a few extra spark plugs on hand so that you will always have one in an emergency.