When the Lights Go Out: Part 1

A step-by-step guide for generators owners to follow when the power goes out.

Option 1: Powering your A-iPower generator using an extension cord with a multiple outlet power strip.

Many people have purchased, or are thinking about purchasing, an A-iPower generator but are still not exactly sure how to use it to power their homes in case of an outage. If you are not sure where to put your generator or how to connect it to your home, read on.

When it comes to using a portable generator, you have two options:

  1. connecting your generator to the things you want to run via a power strip and an extension cord
  2. connecting your generator by way of a transfer switch and outdoor outlet, installed by a licensed electrician.

In this blog post, we will discuss the first option, in which you will use an extension cord running from you’re a-iPower generator through a window to a power strip hooked up to the appliances, lights, and the other devices you want to run. Here are the steps to follow:

Be Prepared

When the lights go out, you really do not want to be fumbling around in the dark looking for your generator in the back of the garage or trying to find the right extension cord. Make sure you have easy access to your generator. Always have a light source handy, and know where you’ve stored the extension cord and power switch you plan on using. It is also useful to have a backup supply of fuel and oil, especially if the power is out for an extended period of time.


Before the need to run your generator arises, plan on where you will place it and determine where you will run the extension cords. Never run the generator inside a house, basement, garage, or other closed area where deadly levels of carbon monoxide can collect. Always place the generator at least 20 feet from the house and point the engine exhaust away from windows and doors.


This set up requires an extension cord and a power strip with enough outlets to power the appliances and devises you require. Make a list of everything you want to power in case of an outage, and add up their wattages to make sure you will not overload the generator (see our “How Much Power Is Enough” blog).

Use a 12-gauge wire, or thicker, heavy-duty, outdoor extension cord. Make sure it is long enough to comfortably reach your A-iPower generator, which again, should be set at least 20 feet from the house. Check the cords to make sure they have no cuts in the insulation or exposed wire and always use a UL approved power strip. Keep any connections, where you plug two extension cords together, dry.

Start it Up

Before starting your A-iPower generator, top off the gas and oil as needed. Start the generator before you attach the extension cord. Turn off or unplug the appliances and lights you plan to use and turn them on, one at a time, once the generator is running. Again, consult our “How Much Power Is Enough” blog to make sure you will not overload the generator.


If the lights are out for days, you will need to refuel your A-iPower generator. To do so, turn off the engine and allow it to cool down before adding the fuel, as gas on a hot engine is a fire hazard. This is also a good time to check the oil. To get an accurate reading, wait a few minutes to allow the oil to settle before checking.

Final Note

As the electric grid continues to age and the weather events become more unpredictable, we are seeing more and more outages. To live life as uninterrupted as possible, you have taken the first step with the purchase of an A-iPower generator. By following these simple rules, you can help ensure that you and your family will remain as comfortable and safe as possible no matter how long the outage lasts.

To determine your energy needs, and to find the right generator for you, see “How Much Power Is Enough” blog.