What causes the generator to explode

  • Post last modified:December 6, 2022
  • Reading time:9 mins read
Few reasons that causes a generator to explode

When a generator is used, it produces electricity. This electricity is sent through wires to a device that needs it, like a light switch. Sometimes when the generator is used, something can go wrong and the electricity can start to flow in the wrong direction. 

Errant sparks from electrical equipment can easily ignite a build-up of combustible gases, leading to a devastating explosion.

But how exactly does this happen?

To understand how an explosion can occur, it’s essential to know how generators produce electricity.

Generators work by using electromagnets to create a magnetic field. This magnetic field then interacts with the coils of wire inside the generator to create electricity.

For a generator to explode, four things must be present: oxygen, heat, fuel, and an ignition source. When these four elements are combined in the right proportions, a chemical reaction called combustion occurs.

The oxygen in the air reacts with the fuel to create heat, and the heat from the reaction ignites the fuel, causing an explosion.

If you use a generator in your apartment, then you should be more careful about this fact. It’s better to keep fire extinguisher and blankets in your apartment so that you can be prepared for any kind of fire accident.

There are many potential causes of generator explosions. Some main causes are:

1. Build-up of combustible gases

When a generator is running, it produces combustible gases, such as carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide.

These gases are heavier than air and can accumulate in the generator’s engine, causing it to overheat and explode. To prevent this from happening, the generator has to be vented to release the gases.

However, if the vent is blocked or the generator is not properly maintained, the gases can build up and cause an explosion.

In order to avoid this, it is important to regularly check the vent and make sure that it is clear.

Additionally, the generator should be serviced according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

By taking these precautions, you can help ensure that your generator will not explode due to build-up of combustible gases.

We have a complete guide about the safety tips of using a generator. You can read this article here.

2. Faulty wiring

Faulty wiring is one of the most common causes of generator explosions. When wires are damaged or frayed, they can create a spark that ignites the fuel inside the generator.

This can cause a severe explosion that can damage property and injure people nearby.

Faulty wiring is often caused by poor maintenance, so it is important to regularly check your generator and replace any damaged or worn parts.

If you notice any signs of damage, do not use the generator until a qualified technician has repaired it.

By taking these precautions, you can help prevent a disastrous explosion.

3. Overloading

When a generator is overloaded, it means that too much electricity is flowing through it.

This can cause the generator to heat up and explode. The reason this happens is because the wires in the generator are not designed to handle that much electricity.

When the electricity flow is too high, it causes the wires to overheat and catch fire. In some cases, the fire can spread to the rest of the generator, causing it to explode.

That’s why it’s so important to make sure that you don’t overload your generator. If you do, you could be putting yourself and those around you in danger.

4. Fuel leakage

A fuel leak is one of the most common causes of generator explosions.

Gasoline and other flammable liquids are stored under high pressure in the fuel tank.

If a fuel line is damaged or a tank is not properly sealed, liquid can escape and quickly build up in the generator’s engine compartment.

When an ignition source (such as a spark plug) comes into contact with the vapors, it can cause an explosion that can seriously damage the generator and injure anyone nearby.

Leaks can also occur if the fuel cap is not securely tightened, so it’s important to always check that the cap is tight before starting the generator.

5. Heat build up

In order to understand how heat can build up in a generator and cause it to explode, it is first necessary to understand how a generator works.

A generator is a machine that converts mechanical energy into electrical energy.
It does this by using magnets to create a magnetic field, which then induces an electric current in a coil of wire.

The more coils of wire there are, the more electricity can be generated. When a generator is running, the coils of wire inside can begin to rub against each other, creating friction and heat.

If the heat is not passed out properly, it can build up and eventually cause the generator to explode.

Several factors can contribute to this build-up of heat, including a lack of ventilation, overheating due to overuse, or a manufacturing defect.

In any case, it is important to be aware of the dangers of heat build-up in a generator in order to avoid a potentially disastrous explosion.

6. Static electricity build up

Most people have experienced static electricity at some point in their lives- for example, when they walk across a carpet and then touch someone or something, causing a spark.

But what exactly is static electricity, and how does it cause explosions?

Static electricity is the build-up of electrical charge on an object. This can happen when two different materials are rubbed together, causing electrons to be transferred from one material to the other.

Theoretical terms most commonly stipulate that a static charge can be expressed as a simple circuit.

Static Electric Circuit Illustration
Image Source: Fraser Antistatic

The substance that loses electrons gains a positive charge, while the one gaining electrons gains a negative charge. These charges can create an electric field when they build up to a certain level.

If this field is strong enough, it can cause sparks or even explosions. In the case of generators, static electricity can build up when the generator is running.

If the generator is not grounded correctly, the charges can build up to a dangerous level, eventually causing an explosion.


As you can see, there are several different factors that can cause a generator to explode. Some of these are due to problems with the generator itself, while others are caused by user error.

Being aware of potential dangers and taking the right precautions may help avert a potentially hazardous situation.

Always read the manufacturer’s instructions carefully, and follow them closely. 

If you encounter issues with your generator, it’s recommended to have it serviced as soon as possible by a professional technician.