If your home is located in an area with frequent storms or power outages, a household generator can be a lifesaver. However, a generator is not a maintenance free machine. Keeping your home's generator running well requires that you perform regular maintenance on it.
Follow these tips to keep your home's generator running smoothly and efficiently next time the power grid goes down:
Tip: Change Your Generator's Oil and Oil Filter Frequently
Unlike a car, your generator cannot run for a long time without changing its oil and filter. The owner's manual for your generator will tell you exactly how many hours it is safe to run the generator between oil and filter changes. You should always have extra oil and filters on-hand in case you need to change the oil during a power outage or large storm when you cannot get to a store or they are closed.
Tip: Be Very Cautious of Fuel Issues
To keep your generator running at its peak performance when you need it to provide power for your family, you should never:
- use stale gasoline
- run out of gasoline
- spill gasoline
Gasoline that has been sitting in a gas can without an added stabilizer breaks down and causes problems with starting your generator. Old gas will also make your generator run rough and can cause problems with gum and varnish buildup within the generator's motor.
A small hand pump can be used to remove old gasoline from your generator when it is not being used. You should never intentionally run your generator until the gas has all been used. This can permanently damage your generator by warping its metal parts.
You should never pour gasoline into a hot generator or one that is currently running. The gasoline can spill on the hot motor and start a fire. Additionally, the heat from the motor can ignite the gasoline fumes and cause your gas can to explode.
Tip: Run Your Generator Every Few Months to Charge Its Battery
The push-start on your generator is powered by a small rechargeable battery. If you do not run the generator for a long time, then the battery can lose its charge. To prevent this from happening, you should put some gas in the generator and start it every few months. After starting the generator, let it run for a few minutes to charge the starter's battery.
Finally, before storing your generator away after recharging its battery, use your hand pump to remove any remaining gasoline contained within the generator.
For more information on generators, contact a company like Powell's Electric Service, Inc.