Making It Last Forever: How To Maintain Your Generator

Posted by Kenneth Poon on

Buying the most expensive, top quality portable camping generator don't necessarily give you an 100% guarantee for a trouble-free experience. If you want your RV generators, silent camping generator or inverter generators to last you for the years to come, you'll need to properly maintain them. 

Here are a few tips for a long lasting generator below...

 

BEFORE USE: DO THIS

 

Before you use your portable power generator, give it a nice basic cleaning. To remove the dirt and dust, use a clean lint-free drying cloth. If there are more stubborn stains, remove it by damping the cloth in warm water.

Just before you start operating the generator, check it first for any loose bolts and parts. Ensure the generator is dry. Pay special attention to the mount or feet of the generator. If your generator is electric, make sure that the battery is fully charged.

If you are using a gas powered generator, use a gas can with long spout whenever you are filling the fuel tank. Do not fill it up to the top. Leave at least little air inside. To prevent spilling and to fill the tank correctly, use a headlight. Never refuel your generator while it is still hot; let it cool first for about 15 minutes.

If you are using fuel to run your generator, add stabilizer to the fuel. The stabilizer will help in reducing the fuel breakdown level. It will also aid in preventing varnish and gum buildup in your portable generator. To know the amount of stabilizer to add, check your unit's operation manual.

 

AFTER USING IT

 

Before you start doing any maintenance work, let your portable generator cool down first. A hot and just used generator is very dangerous and may result to serious damages and injuries. Even a small drop of fuel on the hot surface of the unit may result in injuries.

Once you are done using your portable generator, remove any remaining fuel from the tank and the carburetor. Especially when you are using your unit frequently, you do not have to use this every time. 

Using a hand suction pump, empty the tank of the generator. This is the most effective method if you want to remove the entire amount of fuel from the generator's tank. All the remaining fuel from the tank goes to the carburetor. So if your carburetor has a drain, you just need to use in order to get rid of any remaining gas. However, if your carburetor does not have a drain, you need to run the generator again until the carburetor runs out of gas. Remember to do this process once you are done completely emptying the generator's tank.

If you will not use it, store the portable generator in a cool and dry place. If you will be placing the generator in your garage, make sure that there are no leaks or it cannot be easily flooded. There are also some people who are allotting a separate room for their generator. When not in use, cover your generator to protect it from dirt and dust.

 

GENERAL MAINTENANCE

 

Change the oil lubricating the engine parts as frequently as possible or as required in the operating manual. When you use the generator for the first time, you need to change the oil after running it for the first 25 hours. After that, you need to change the oil every 50 to 60 hours of usage.

Whenever you are changing the oil or using all the provided accessories of your generator, always follow the manufacturer's instructions which you can find in the operating manual. Use the funnel which came with the unit to make oil changing easier and to avoid any spills. 

Always store extra oil in your home to avoid being left without power.

To ensure that the unit will work properly and smoothly, run your generator at lease once a month. This is to make sure that there are no damages or defects in your generator. This will also ensure you that your generator will last for the years to come and you will save a lot of money from repairs.

At least once a month, pour half gallon of fuel into the tank. Run the portable generator for about half to one hour. Check the generator for any signs of troubles such as leaks, malfunctioning parts, strange noises, and a lot more. After running it, make sure to empty the generator's tank completely. Remove the oil which might remain in your generator's carburetor.

If there is a problem with your generator, do not fix it yourself - call your manufacturer's customer service support immediately! Your manufacturer will have the experienced technicians to answer your call and provide you advises over the phone. They will also direct you to the nearest authorized service center to fix your unit.

Purchase a warranty for your generator. Although this is self-explanatory, investing in a warranty (or an extended one) for your unit might be the best choice that you will make. Let's face it - generators are not cheap. Know the coverage. There are warranties which cover partial and there are also providing full coverage. 

Prevent motor burn-out by using heavy duty cords. Heavy duty cords use less voltage; lighter cords, on the other hand, increases the voltage. Since most generators are very noisy, you might also want to invest in a longer cord one so you will not have uninterrupted sleep.

Keep the rotor and the strator clean. The rotor. as well as the strator, work together to produce electricity. There are some generators with partially exposed strators and rotors. If exposed, these parts might collect debris and dust. If there are build-ups, which can wear them as well, it might shorten the lives of the rotor and strator resulting to limited generating of electricity.

In order to preserve the strator and the rotor, use compressed air or blower to clear out the dust. Never use water to clean them. Using water might cause electric shorts. This might also cause fire.

Your generator's air filters capture debris and dust so clean them regularly. If the filter is too dirty, it will stop air from flowing into the engine causing issues with your unit's performance. Clean the air filter on a weekly basis. If needed, clean the filter using compressed air or water. If using a filter, make sure that the air filter is completely dry before installing it back to the generator. If there are still clumps and dirt around the filter, it is already time to replace it.

Purchase magnetic drain plugs. These are cheap and will come as a life server for you! You might notice that there are accumulations of metal shavings in the oil, which are very common. Replace your generator's drain plug with a magnetic one. If you notice that the shiny flakes of oil are increasing in number, it is time to call a qualified technician already! This will not only limit big problems in the future - it will also help you save a lot of money instead of replacing your generator again.

 

STORING YOUR GENERATOR SAFELY

 

Storing your generator safely is very important. For sure, you would like your generator to work the next time you would like to use it. Here are some tips that you can do to safely store your generator.

If you will not be using the generator for a long time, it is recommended to store it without any gasoline inside it. Drain the generator according to the directions found in the owner's manual.

You can also store the generator with gas inside if you do not wish to remove it (in case you will use it immediately again). You would need to use a stabilizer to prevent corrosion from occurring. It is also best to leave the gas tank full in case you will store the generator with gas inside. Just make sure to follow the manufacturer's instructions, depending on the model of your generator.

Use an approved gas container when you are storing the gasoline separately. Keep this in a well-ventilated area. Make sure that it is far from your house. Gasoline stays longer when placed in a cool and dry place.

 

MISTAKES THAT WILL DESTROY YOUR GENERATOR

 

Generators are great investment and value for your money, especially if you already found the best camping generator for you. However, they are quite expensive as well. So it is necessary for you to value your money well by not doing these mistakes.

Overusing extension cords. If you are using a big generator, you may have your licensed electrician install a transfer switch so you can use it even outdoors. However, if you are using a smaller one, you can only use extension cords. Make sure that you are only using one extension cord at a time. Using multiple appliances at the same time might overheat your generator.

Running the generator close to your house. If you are using a stationary one, you would need to make sure that the generator is installed by a professional. This is to make sure that it will be installed quite far from your home. However, if you are using a portable generator, which emits carbon monoxide which is deadly, keep it away from any windows and doors. Even if the doors are open, do not run it in your garage. You may operate it in an open structure as advised by the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

Forgetting about the maintenance schedule. You can find the directions on how to change your generator's oil and how to use it in the operating manual which came with your purchase. You will also see the instructions on how to use it for the first hours of operation. If you are using a gas powered one, you would need to mix stabilizer before fueling it. Forgetting about the maintenance schedule of your generator will not ruin it. However, your lack of attention might cause it to malfunction.

Plugging the portable generator directly to the wall outlet. It is very important that you are not feeding power to your portable generator directly. This might cause very dangerous situations not only to your generator but also to your home. Improper connection of your generator will also void the insurance of your home in case there is accident or injury.

When purchasing a generator, make sure that you are getting something with the good quality. Do not purchase it just because it is on a bargain or it is with a very low price. Always remember that a bad quality generator might compromise the safety of your family.

Using the cheapest gas to run it. There are some generators that run on unleaded fuel. There are also others which need gas. Make sure that you are following your manufacturer's requirement when it comes to using gas in your generators.

You are not managing the power usage. To maximize your generator, power management is very important. Once you're able to master power management, you will be surprised at the longevity of your device.


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