Is Your Generator Ready For Storm Season?
Generators need routine maintenance even if (rather, especially if) they’re left unused for long stretches of time. This way they operate at their full potential finally when needed. Performing some preventative maintenance can save you time and frustration when your power goes out.
Begin by examining your generator for any corroded or damaged parts, frayed or loose wires, or anything that looks to be in disrepair. Remove worn parts and upgrade or replace them. Inspect all of your generator’s bolts and tighten or replace them as need be. Vibrations can cause bolts to loosen or fall off from wear and tear.
Inspect the generator’s air and fuel filters for dirt, wear, or damage and replace if necessary. Also, check the spark plug and clean it if it is dirty, but it will need to be replaced it if it is damaged.
Finally, inspect and clean the battery.
Gas and Oil
A generator’s oil should be changed every 40 hours or at least once a year. An easy way to remember this is to replace the oil at the beginning of every storm season. Don’t forget to check the oil levels before and after every use as well.
If you haven’t been using the generator other than periodic startups, siphon the old gas out and run the carburetor dry. Then fill your generator’s gas tank with fresh fuel. NEVER add fuel to your generator while it is running or hot. Always allow the generator and engine to cool entirely before adding fuel. Do not overfill the fuel tank. Always allow room for fuel expansion.
Koopman recommends that you only use a high test octane gas that has been treated with a fuel stabilizer so that it won’t go stale. While fuel that isn’t stabilized will need fresh gas every 30 days, you can safely count on at least a few months of fuel storage in your generator if you used Startron.
When you think you might need to run the generator to supply power, stock up on extra gasoline. A gas-powered generator uses about a gallon an hour. Only store gas in an approved container in a cool, well-ventilated place.
If you stock up on some essential supplies, you can prepare for an extended power outage. You may need to replace certain items to keep your generator running properly, and they should be readily available during a storm, so it’s wise to stock up ahead of time. These extra items include extra oil, fuel treatment, filters, fuel cans and extension cords.
Test Your Generator
With the checkup done, it’s time to check your generator to ensure that it is working properly. Finding out that your generator isn’t working during a power outage is not something you want to experience!
SAFETY FIRST: Whenever you run a portable generator, keep safety in mind. Operate the machine only outdoors, at least 15 feet away from the house. Never run it in the basement or garage or other enclosed space!
Start up the generator. If you have trouble starting your generator, the prime culprit is usually old fuel. Siphon the old gas out and fill your generator’s tank with fresh fuel. Your generator should start right up. If not, bring it down to us at Koopman. We are an authorized Generac and Honda service centers.
Test it by plugging in a few smaller appliances such as a hair dryer, toaster, cell phone charger and run for 10 to 15 minutes. To test the whole system, use your transfer switch to put a load on the generator.
Once you’ve confirmed that everything is working as it should, removed the load, then shut down your generator. To prevent your generator from backfiring when you shut it down is to move the throttle to somewhere between 1/2 and 3/4 power and let the engine cool off a bit before shutting the switch off. Turning off the fuel and letting it quit is the best was to stop the generator.
With a gasoline-powered portable generator, it’s up to you to regularly test it and keep it supplied with fresh fuel and oil. If you don’t know how to do these things, make sure you give Koopman Lumber’s power shop a visit. We also offer a new propane generator option, which means not needing to worry about stored gas issues at all! Find us at our Uxbridge or Grafton locations and get your generator ready before you need it!