A portable generator helps you to deal with the power outage that is a likely result of a disaster.
Buying the best generator is not good enough. Whether the blackout is anticipated or unexpected, you should perform regular maintenance for your generator.
A generator can last for decades, but it needs proper maintenance. For humans it’s important to eat healthy food and exercise. Similarly, a generator requires proper maintenance to prevent it from breakdown.
If you need your generator to function correctly and without extensive repairs, this article will help you to take care of it.
Below are some important generator maintenance tips for you.
Keep The Generator Clean And Covered:
When your generator stays in the room or the garage for a long time, it will get pretty dirty. The build-ups of dust and mold would affect the working of the generator.
These contaminants can seep into vital components, possibly making it harder to function. So, you will need to keep your generator clean and protected to maintain it when it is not in use.
The best way to protect your portable generator from getting dirty is by purchasing a generator cover at your local department store. These covers can shield your portable generator and come with additional water resistance or weatherproofing capabilities.
The cover acts as insulation; please make sure to take them off while the generator is running to avoid the generator from getting overheated.
If you don’t want to buy a cover, it is recommended to check and clean the generator once.
Changing the Oil:
In a generator, changing the oil is very important to keep your generator engine functional. You should change the oil after the first 18-20 hours of use for a new generator, and at every 80-100 hours of use for an old one.
It’s a perfect practice to keep extra oil and filters with you all the time. Make sure they are near the generator. If you are stuck in a storm and the power goes out, it will be tough for you to find the oil or the filters in the dark.
Tip: Some generators have low-level oil indicator lights and some automatically shut down when they hit low-oil mark. Better to invest in those generators that offer you the both.
If you have a generator without a low-oil sensor, you should check the oil levels every time you use the generator.
Warning: If you see the low-level oil indicator light, and still you are continuously running the generator, you might be doing irreversible damage to your generator engine.
Monitor Generator’s Wattage Capacity:
When you are using a generator, please make sure it can handle the voltage you are planning to run. All generators are not the same, so you will need to check the labeling or user manual to determine their wattage and voltage capacity.
There are two types of generator ratings: Starting and running.
The starting rating is how much load your generator can bear for short periods. Usually, your generator user manual or labeling is showing maximum power it can deliver for a short time.
You need to focus on the running rating. This rating shows the wattage for extensive periods. So, rely on running wattage rating for the devices you have planned to use with your generator.
Never run powerful appliances all at the same time as the cumulative power they would draw would be way more than the running rating of the generator. It is easy to mistake the starting rating of a generator for running rating.
Prevent Motor Burnout:
To prevent motor burnout, you need to use a heavy-duty cord for less voltage.
Lighter cables increase the voltage and ultimately leads to motor burnout.
You should invest in a longer and heavy-duty cord for safe usage of the generator.
Criteria for a good cord: 12-gauge or thicker; total cord length should be kept to less than 100 feet.
The longer the cord, and thinner its diameter the more would be the voltage drop between your generator and appliances. The cord should be replaced if it has any nicks as these pose a risk of electrocution.
Keep Plentiful Fuel:
Most portable generators can run for hours before they run out of fuel/gas. You should always power off the generator before it runs on the last drop of fuel.
We recommend you should have plentiful fuel at your home for an emergency. As we know a disaster won’t come without prior notice, you should keep extra fuel with you all the time.
Warning: If you let your generator come to a stop by running out of fuel, the engine cuts out while the generator is still powering up appliances. This can lead to considerable damage to your generator coils.
Tip: Always unplug appliances from the generator before powering it off. While forgetting to do this won’t necessarily damage your generator, it’s better to play it safe.
Cool Down The Generator Before Refueling:
When you shut down your generator after it has been running for some time, it’s imperative to cool it down before refueling.
Imagine you are refueling, and the gasoline spills out on your hot engine parts, it can burst out into the flames, and fire can quickly expand to the tank of the generator and the tank you are holding.
For the considerable safety concern, a small fire can damage your generator and cause hazards.
Never Use Stale Gasoline
Stale gasoline is the worst enemy of your generator engine.
Using stale gasoline can permanently damage your generator engine. So, it is essential to empty your gasoline tank before putting the generator away for a few months, or even weeks.
If you use your generator infrequently, like once in 1-2 months, you can add a stabilizer in the fuel to make it last longer.
Tip: Remember that stabilizers aren’t the perfect solution, and your gasoline will still have a limited lifespan.
Store gasoline safely:
Many local residential fire codes have a limit on how much gasoline you can store in your home or the garage, usually 10 gallons or less.
In some places, you are allowed to have more than that.
You should keep the gasoline safely in the cans made and approved for storing the fuel for a long time.
Natural gas as a fuel is convenient for store. It usually comes in fiberglass cylinders, which in turn are safer and inexpensive.
Power up your generator every three Months:
We recommend running generators every three months for about 20 to 30 minutes to charge the battery if the generator uses an electric starter. Failing to do so would result in the generator refusing to start when you need it the most.
Never Back Feed Power:
If you directly plug the generator cord into a home outlet without using a transfer switch, there are ample chances that the electricity from the generator electrocutes the utility workers fixing the issues in the lines.
This practice, known as back feeding, can fry the generator if your home’s power comes back from the grid.
Tips: Never plug your generator into any electrical socket of your home. You should use a transfer switch with your circuit box.
Generator Maintenance Is Easy?
Maintaining your generator is the best thing to prolong the lifespan of the generator. With proper care, the generator never disappoints you at testing times.
Generator maintenance is a breeze, given you do it regularly. It only takes only a few minutes. In the long run, you will save yourself the time and money you are going to spend on a faulty generator.
Tip: Make sure you check the main switch, cords, fuel, oil, filter, and the health of the generator right before you use the generator.
Benefits of Maintaining Your Generator Regularly:
Generator maintenance has many benefits. Here are a few of them.
- Prevent fuel problems,
- Saves your money,
- Keeps your generators running for an extended period,
- Get early access of Issues,
- Improve generator Lifespan,
- Keep operations running,
- Have peace of Mind.