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Generator Preparation for the Winter

Generator preparation
November 7, 2017

Generator preparation is what will be your electricity blanket when and if your power goes out this winter. Winter storms serve as potential hazards for your home, especially with winter on the horizon. When the power fails, you could be stuck in your home without any modern necessities. Fear not! Owning a standby generator could solve your power woes in times of crisis.

Generator Preparation

Much like every other piece of equipment, upkeep and maintenance are essential. If you already own one, there might be some indicators as to the point in which repair is necessary.

These signs consist of the following.

Worn Electrical Components

When was the last time you checked your generator’s dials and other electronic components? If there are obvious signs of damage, repairs are completely necessary. Some of these indicators include:

  • Frayed Wires
  • Loose Connectors
  • Broken Spark Plugs
  • Buttons that remain stuck when pressure applied
  • Overloading
    • Could lead to potential shutdown of the generator

Other dangers to the generator include expired gasoline, failing battery, electrical issues and blocked fuel lines.

If the generator exhibits any of these signs, consider testing the voltage on the battery. If the battery unit is malfunctioning, then it is time to replace the battery.

If the generator is inactive for lengthy periods of time, the unit could be prone to damage by dust, dirt or even insects.

Leaking

This is not limited to oil or fuel. There could be coolant leaks as well, normally installed to ensure the engine does not overheat. These leaks could be dangerous, due to a problem with fuel intake or the internal fuel tank. If there are any puddles appearing around the system or any sort of foul odor, it is time to call a qualified technician. They will be able to identify the source of the leak and handle the issue promptly.

Internal Difficulties

If a generator remains inactive for a period of time, the battery may be at risk for drainage. The generator failing to start could indicate a number of different possibilities. If the generator is a portable one and fuel has not been continuously cycled through the system, the gasoline might have expired. If you have expired gasoline in the system, there could be potential predicaments. With old gasoline in the system, the inner mechanisms could stall.

If the generator has difficulty starting, now would ideal to call a qualified technician.

Constant Starting and Stopping

On occasion, your generator is able to start only for a couple of minutes. After those minutes have passed, the unit shuts down. This could be due to a number of previously named factors.

Overheating is distinct possibility in this scenario. Once the generator was activated it may have gone past the safety threshold and shut down automatically. This can be traced to a coolant issue, relative to a leak in the unit’s piping.

Generator Examination Checklist

In order to ensure that your generator is prepared for winter, regular checks are necessary. These generators should be serviced on a weekly and monthly basis. Below is a list of steps to consider when conducting these checks.

Weekly Maintenance

  • Run the Generator
  • Verify that the generator ran without any issues such as stopping after a couple of minutes, overheating, leaks, etc.
  • Ensure that the fuel is at an adequate level
  • If fuel has potentially expired, replace as soon as possible

Monthly Maintenance

  • Check engine coolant level
  • Check the engine oil level
  • Check battery charger

In tandem with system checks, the following steps are others to consider in keeping your standby generator in ideal condition.

Oil Change

Much like maintaining a car, a generator will need care after a certain amount of use. The range can vary from specific generator to generator, but these frequencies range from 50-200 hours of use.

Change Air Filter

If a filter is dirty, this limits the fresh air intake. Because of that, the generator will have to exert more energy to perform properly. Examine the generator’s instruction manual for specific recommendations for cleaning these filters. If necessary, call a professional.

Inspect Spark Plugs

When performing any generator maintenance, make sure to check the spark plugs for damage, oil residue, and carbon buildup. Dirty wires can be cleaned with a wire brush or special spark plug cleaner. If there are any serious signs of damage such as fraying or broken plugs, call us!

Check the Battery

The battery is one of the most important and commonly overlooked components of generator preparation. Show your battery some love by cleaning off corrosion, tightening the terminals, and checking its charge. If you need to replace your battery, check a local auto parts store, battery supplier, or contact the supplier.

Call Reliable Power Systems today for more information on generator preparation!

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