Whether you live in an area that faces severe summer thunderstorms or late season hurricanes, you need to be sure that you are well prepared. Since storm seasons often come with power outages, having a running generator that you can turn to is important. Often, generators make the difference between your ready access to basic necessities and the need for a public shelter. Here's a look at some of the things you should consider to prepare your generator if you're new to a storm-prone area.
Basic Preseason Generator Maintenance
Before storm season starts, take time to go through the basic maintenance routine to keep your generator at its best. Start with a complete inspection of the unit, looking for any physical damage or signs of wear and tear.
Examine the spark plug, too. Make sure it's in good condition. If it appears burnt, replace it with a new one. Check all of the fixtures, including the wires and screws, for signs of corrosion, fraying or cracking. If damage is immediately apparent, make sure to have the damaged component repaired or replaced right away.
Tighten any loose bolts. Don't just assume that they're still tight – the vibration of the generator can loosen bolts you thought were tight otherwise. Inspect the air filter. If it's dirty or visibly clogged, replace it with a clean one. You should inspect this after every time you use the generator, too.
Annual Oil Change
Change the generator oil at the start of every storm season. Run the generator for a few minutes to warm the oil, then shut the unit off. Place an oil drain pan under the drain plug, then loosen the plug with a wrench. Let the oil drain out before tightening the drain plug again. Refill the generator with the type of oil recommended for your model. You can find the recommended oil type and quantity in the owner's manual that came with the generator. Once changed, check the level of the oil monthly throughout the active storm season.
Freshen the Fuel Supply
Fill the fuel tank with fresh fuel. Mix in a fuel stabilizer so that you don't risk varnishing or other hazards from the ethanol. Refresh the fuel supply every 30 days if you don't run the generator in that time.
With the tips presented here, you'll be able to ensure that your generator is ready to respond when you need it most. After all, the last thing you want to do is neglect it and then find that it won't fire up when nature has struck with a severe storm. If you're not comfortable doing the maintenance tasks on your own, consider calling a generator sales and service technician to help you.