An Overview of Generator Maintenance
Most generators sit in a garage or storage shed, unused for a large part of the year. Dust and dirt can settle on the unit, which may prevent it from running efficiently. To ensure that a generator will be ready to use, it's imperative to get it out, inspect it, and perform some basic maintenance.
Perform a full inspection of the generator, looking for any damaged or corroded parts, frayed wires, and loose components. Check the air filter to determine whether it needs changing. Excessive dirt and debris will require a fresh filter. Check the spark plug, and clean or replace it if necessary. Tighten or replace bolts to ensure that every component is tight.
Fill the tank with fresh gas. Adding a fuel stabilizer helps prevent any damage to the engine, which could result from using ethanol. It's also important to change the oil before the onset of the storm season.
Testing the Generator
Turning on the system when a storm hits may be too late. Instead, test the generator to ensure that it functions correctly before it's needed. With the generator running, utilize several small appliances in the home to make sure that the unit can handle the load. Allow the generator to run for about 15 minutes. Perform this test once each month during hurricane season.
Supplies to Have
When a storm hits and a generator must run to maintain power, specific supplies may be necessary. Homeowners should stock extra fuel, oil, oil filters, air filters, extension cords, and bolts. Having these supplies on hand enables extended use of the unit, as well as maintenance and repairs, if necessary.
As with any important home system, a generator requires ongoing maintenance to ensure that it functions properly when needed.