5 Tips For Generator Maintenance

August 1, 2020

A backup generator is a wise investment that will protect you against a power outage in your Seattle neighborhood. If all goes well, you are not going to use it too often. Since the generator is often used sparsely, it is easy to forget about it and its necessary maintenance. You do, however, need to check on it at regular intervals. The team from Brennan Electric can walk you through generator maintenance and complete a tune-up for you. Here are five generator maintenance tips to help you stay informed and be sure your generator stays at the ready.

Why Maintenance Is Important

All major appliances require regular maintenance even when they are not used on a regular basis. Maintenance keeps the machinery in good shape. It’s important to remember that a generator will be used in an emergency situation. So, it cannot fail you at that moment. Some industry professionals like to run the generator once every three months to double-check that all parts still operate as expected. If a professional spots something odd, they can fix it.

Generator maintenance, therefore, is important because your appliance has to be in good shape and well-prepared when you need it the most.

1. Stock Up On Oil and Filters

To keep a generator well maintained, you are advised to stock up on oil and filters. If you own this piece of equipment, you are probably someone who likes to prepare for emergency situations. People who enjoy the outdoors or hold a job in work-site related industries also tend to own a generator. Those who have never had to use a generator are probably not aware of the amount of oil and filters the system will use when it has to run continuously for several days.

If the power in your neighborhood goes out, providers often notify their customers how long it could be before it comes back on. In an outage that is expected to only last a few hours, you will not need to power up the generator. More serious outages, though, caused by storms or other natural disasters can last days.

A generator requires its first oil change 25 hours after being used. Then, every 50 to 60 hours of use requires a complete oil change. The last thing you want to do is to run out of oil and filters while you are still running the generator. Logic dictates that you will not be the only one running to the store searching for the same supplies. In addition to dealing with the possibility of panicked crowds, you may arrive at the store only to find out that the supplies are already gone.

2. Watch Out for Stale Gas

Unused gas that sits in a generator is going to get stale. So, you are encouraged to change it right after you have completed using the equipment. Dirty and stale gas is bad for the equipment. This easily causes startup problems. Next, you want to make sure that you have enough gas safely stored on your property. Making a mad dash for gasoline during an outage is not recommended. Plus, if you allow a generator to run on an empty tank you risk damaging the equipment.

When you re-fill the generator’s gas tank, do not let any spill while the equipment is running or hot. This poses a safety hazard. If you have to re-fill at night, recruit help. It is easier to see during the daytime. It is also easier to pour if you purchase a specialized container with an easy pour spout.

3. Keep the Equipment Clean

A generator that is not in use sits around. Even though it sits there quietly, it is getting dirty. When you check on it at regular intervals, clean it up. The parts that make this equipment operate are exposed. So, the engine gets dirty pretty easily.

To clean the generator, do not use a power washer. Instead, use air to blow off dirt, debris, and dust. Degreaser and a rag are sufficient after using air. This method helps you wipe off any dirt that is still clinging to the equipment.

4. Proper Storage Is Important

One way to keep a generator clean is to store it properly. It should sit on a concrete slab at all times including when it is being used and when it is not. The manufacturer will have other recommendations, too. For example, it may be best to store it on an empty tank. Stores sell protective coverings you might consider using.

Your main concern is to protect the engine. If you anticipate not needing the generator in the next 30 days, ensure that the battery is fully charged and remove it. Drain the fuel from the tank and carburetor float chamber. Remove the spark plugs and inject a few drops of oil in the hole. This is going to prevent corrosion in the cylinder bore. Pull the recoil starter knob up to three knobs. Now, give the generator another look over to ensure that it is clean.

The place where you decide to store the generator must be dry. Run the generator once every two to three months. This is known as “exercising” so that it remains in good shape.

5. Test at Regular Intervals

If you own a generator, you took the time to plan for a potential future disaster. However, you have to take care of it for your system to be worthwhile. In a power outage, your generator is going to give you access to power until things get sorted out. If the disaster is widespread enough, it could be several days.

The longer you go without experiencing a power outage, the better. But you still have to take care of your generator. You are encouraged to test it at regular intervals. This allows the equipment to run and get its fluids moving. Some industry professionals recommend running it for 20 minutes. This is also recommended by some manufacturers. The best way to find out what is recommended for your generator is to read through the included and corresponding material.

Testing it gives you the opportunity to ensure that it is still operating as expected. If there are odd smells or noises, these are signs that something needs to be repaired or replaced. If you notice anything suspicious, call the professionals. This is truly a case where it is better to be safe than sorry.

Annual Maintenance Really Is Crucial

Annual maintenance is a great way to keep a generator in good shape whether you use it on a regular basis or not. During an annual inspection, you are looking for dirty, broken, or misaligned pieces. Take a look at the fuel hose, too. If it has any cracks, it needs to be replaced.

If you want a professional team to come in and complete a generator maintenance check, contact us at Brennan Electric. Additionally, we offer surge protection, lighting installation, and electrical repair services. Our company has offices in Seattle and Lynnwood.

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