You’re feeling ecstatic because you’ve just gotten your hands on a new generator. Now what? Now, be a responsible owner and look after your generator if you want to avoid a premature replacement due to engine damage. It’s really super easy if you stick to the guidelines. And some of them are found in your manual! No sweat, right?
But for the article’s sake, I’ve encapsulated the top 5 generator maintenance tips that’ll ensure prolonged engine lifespan and maximum comfort. Don’t get left behind in the dark, stay in the light and enjoy while your neighbours suffer!
1. Store Your Generator Properly
Standby generators are permanently installed in your house but you’ll need a cozy little spot which doesn’t expose it to the seasonal elements like rain, snow, dust, and even leaves. Not to mention noise reduction! To ensure utmost protection for your generator, build an enclosure around it. This can be installed by experts or can be made by the do-it-yourselves.
But don’t leave portable generators from the equation. Store it at a safe location and cover it with a sturdy and reliable tarp or any cover suited for the purpose. Another smart move to protect your generator from being stolen (yes, people actually go the extra mile to steal a generator despite its weight) is to padlock it to a steel chain which is connected to an eyebolt secured on the ground.
If in case you get lucky and not get as much power outages in weeks (God bless your electrical company), check on your generator every 2 to 3 weeks and clean debris off the unit.
2. Run Your Generator Every 30 Days
Like any other engines, engine damage is imminent if not taken care of every month. An engine will deteriorate if not run regularly. Take your car for example, why do you think the battery dies out after not using it for months? The tires can leak air out after a while and the car engine will pose damages in the long run if not used, especially under torrential weather conditions. These inanimate things can just be as needy as living creatures! But it’s simple, run your engine every 30 days for a couple of minutes to ensure the internal parts are lubricated.
3. Change the Oil and Air Filter Routinely
Behind a vigorous, rumbling engine are good oils and air filters. It is recommended that when buying new generators, you would have to change its oil after the 30th hour of usage. Afterward, changing the oil after every 100 hours of use is necessary. But don’t just pick any oil in the store. The manual your generator comes with will indicate the proper oil and its viscosity (oil thickness) depending on the temperatures. Cold temperatures require a lower viscosity while hot temperatures require a higher viscosity.
Next is to regularly change the spark plug and air filter every 200 hours of usage. Doing this will make for a better fuel to air mixture which leads to the engine running better and longer. Cleaning the filter is also possible by washing with soap and gently drying with a clean cloth. However, if the filter looks brittle, it’s time to let it go, my friend.
4. Drain the Fuel While Storing for Longer Periods
Stale fuel is your number one enemy in generator operation. When you store your generator for months, gum deposits will accumulate in the sensitive components such as the carburetor, fuel hose, and tank. Don’t let this trivial thing ruin your generator and flush your investment down the drain.
Before storing for a long time, pour a gasoline stabilizer and run the unit for a good 15 minutes. Let the engine chill for a few minutes and drain the fuel from the tank using a vacuum siphon. Then run the engine again until the fuel is exhausted.
5. Avoid Accidents
Use a transfer switch between your generator and breaker box to avoid the risk of back-feeding. Back-feeding is extremely dangerous and might injure workers, fry appliances, or even damage the generator itself.
In addition, don’t skimp on the cords. Opt for heavy-duty ones. A feeble cord is no match for a powerful machine. A 12-gauge cord of up to 100 feet will ensure no voltage drop will cause electrical burnouts.