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Can You Refuel A Generator While It’s Running?

There are many scenarios where you might need to hire a diesel generator to provide electricity for a commercial enterprise. For example, you might be running a festival or an event and need generators to provide power. Generator power is also often required to provide enough power to construction sites or any construction taking place in more remote locations. Alternatively, generators can be a lifesaver for your business if there is a power outage or you need a backup power source. These are just a select few situations where generator power will be required.

Although diesel generators are very fuel efficient, if you’re running diesel-powered generators continuously, they are obviously going to burn through the fuel eventually. The problem is, if you wait for a generator to run out of fuel, the power is going to go off until you can arrange a generator refuelling service to come, fill it up and then fire the generator back up again. The ideal situation is an uninterrupted power supply.

With this in mind, can you refuel a generator while it’s running? And what is the diesel generator refuelling process? Read on to learn more about the generator refuelling service and procedure. Balancing the need for continuous power with the necessary safety precautions is essential.

Generator Refuelling Procedure

Can you refuel a generator while it’s running? In order to answer this question, it’s a good idea to go over the diesel generator refuelling process.

When you hire diesel generators for your project from a quality company such as Total Generators, one step in the process is to formulate a fuel management system. This is achieved by making notes of fuel consumption during periodic service and inspection visits. This is also a good time to seek answers to the question, “Can you refuel a generator while it’s running”. Once the information has been gathered, a regular generator refuelling service solution can be devised to ensure you never run out of fuel and lose critical power.

To provide an uninterrupted service, the diesel generator refuelling process is done on-site. A refuelling truck is deployed to your location to top up your generators. Ideally, a generator can be switched off and allowed to cool before refuelling, but if it’s required to remain running, refuelling of that generator can still take place, with some necessary precautions. However, it’s always best for a generator to be off while it is being refuelled.

For optimum safety, the diesel generator refuelling process will take place with a generator that is off and has had a chance to cool down. In order to guarantee an uninterrupted supply of power during refilling, having a backup standby generator on-site will provide a practical and convenient solution. This generator, fully topped up with diesel, can be used to power up your facility or project while other generators are being refuelled.

Can you refuel a generator while it’s running? Step one in an optimum refuelling process is to turn the generator off. Electrical power to the generator should also be disconnected during the refuelling process to prevent any chance of accidental ignition or electric shock.

Once this has been accomplished, the next step is to open the fuel cap. The fuel filter should also be checked to ascertain that it is clean and free of any debris. In the event of a dirty fuel filter, it will need to be cleaned or replaced before the generator is refuelled and put back into service.

Fuel is then added to the generator slowly and carefully. A methodical refuelling process ensures that there is no splashing and spillage. A professional refueller will never over-fill the fuel tank either, as this can be hazardous due to leakage. Once refuelled, the cap is securely replaced, the general vicinity is assessed to determine there are no spills and the generator is then fired back up to once again provide a source of electricity for the event, construction site or other commercial project.

The question, can you refuel a generator while it’s running, was asked earlier, and the answer was that it is possible but is not the recommended method for refuelling. However, if a generator must be refuelled while it’s still in operation, there are some important things to be mindful of during the process.

Before being refuelled, the generator must first be operating at a low load. This reduces the risk of a potential fire or explosive episode while refuelling is taking place. Safety equipment and procedures must also be in place, such as having the right fire extinguisher on hand should the outbreak of fire occur, as well as wearing gloves and safety glasses. Correct fuelling procedures and safety equipment are required to refuel an operating diesel generator.

Diesel fuel is far less combustible than its gasoline counterpart and therefore presents a lower fire or explosion risk than petrol. That is not to suggest that generators powered by diesel fuel can be filled up at will while they are operational just because diesel is less flammable.

Generator Refuelling Risks

When seeking an answer to the question, can you refuel a generator while it’s running? It’s important to understand the risks associated with this practice. A professional generator refuelling service will strongly advise that the generator be switched off first, but if there is a reason or need to refuel while operational, here are the risks. Keep in mind that there can also be risks with any sort of refuelling process, even when a generator isn’t running. Diesel is a combustible substance, after all.

Fire Risk

Diesel generators not only generate electricity, but they also generate a lot of heat. When refuelling a generator that is still running, or one that is hot, any spillage of fuel during the refilling process presents a potential fire risk. A diesel generator catching fire while the refilling hose is attached to a fuel truck could be catastrophic.


With the outbreak of a diesel-fuelled fire and a fuel truck in the vicinity, an explosion could result. Any type of explosive event won’t only affect those people in the immediate vicinity but could also cause injury or worse to people even some distance away. Both fire and explosions will want to be avoided at all costs when refuelling.

Damage to the Generator

Can you refuel a generator while it’s running? It’s not recommended, as doing so can potentially cause damage to the generator due to fluctuations in internal pressure that can affect the supply of fuel from the tank to the generator’s engine.

Generating Refuelling Services at Total Generators

Can you refuel a generator while it’s running? At Total Generators, we don’t recommend it. Our team are experts when it comes to devising just the right fuel management systems for our valued customers, systems that ensure you will have fuelled and operational generators for your project at all times and an uninterrupted supply of electricity.

We can provide fuel deliveries at almost anytime you need them. Once we’ve connected power via our generators and formulated a diesel fuel management plan, our periodic visits for service and inspection will take into account your fuel usage, and fuel management can be tweaked according to your usage. This way, we can initiate a system that will guarantee your generators always have the fuel they need to operate. Contact the diesel generator experts today at Total Generators.

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