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May 12, 2017

5 Tips Now to Get Your Generator Ready for Winter

With winter just around the corner, it’s a good idea to start preparing for it by making sure that your standby generator is in great working condition to keep the heater on during those chilly months. Just like your car’s engine, you don’t want it sitting idly for too long and chances are it hasn’t gotten much use in the last few months, aside from its weekly exercise routine. You’re going to want to make sure that you are preparing your engine for the possibly power outages that come with the cold season. Remember, if your standby power generator doesn’t work during an emergency, then you wasted thousands of dollars for no good reason.

Here are a couple ways to protect your backup generator from the cold season that’s coming up quickly.

Check the Fuel

If your genset hasn’t been used aside from its weekly exercise (if it does it at all), you’ll want to make sure to drain the fuel tank and replace the fuel. You don’t want the gasoline to separate, which can occur if left sitting for too long. You can use a fuel stabilizer to the fuel and run the generator, which can keep fuel fresh up to 36 months.

This is also a good time to check your fuel supply. Do you have enough on-hand to get you through an outage? Whether it’s diesel, gas or propane, make sure you have enough stored.

Change the Oil

Even though old oil isn’t as bad for an engine as old fuel, it’s still a smart idea to get it out of there if you can. Many generators will not function properly, or at all, if the engine detects low levels of oil. To ensure the safety of your machine, check the oil whenever you refill the fuel throughout the year; if it’s looking a bit low, just add a couple quarts of oil. It lasts a long time and isn’t very expensive.

Replaceable Parts

In order to ensure that your standby generator is running at peak performance, it needs a clean supply of air for combustion. If your air filter is dirty it can slow down the entire engine which makes it less effective. Luckily, air filters are easily cleaned and replaced! Your owner’s manual will tell you how to locate it as well as how to properly clean it.

If your machine uses a fuel filter, check to see if it needs to be cleaned or replaced. Also make sure that the fuel line is securely fastened and not leaking.

Schedule Regular Maintenance

It’s important to do what you can with your machine, but you don’t want to overexert yourself beyond your abilities. If you aren’t handy with engines, don’t look into fixing the carburetor, let a professional do it! While replacing the fuel and air filters is relatively simple, fixing the inner components of the machine is not. Schedule regular maintenance with a professional at least twice a year to ensure the longevity of your machine. 

With winter just around the corner, you want to make sure your standby generator is in the best condition to protect your family!

The views and opinions expressed herein are the author's own, and do not necessarily reflect those of EconMatters.

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Item Reviewed: 5 Tips Now to Get Your Generator Ready for Winter Rating: 5 Reviewed By: EconMatters