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Many generator owners only use their machines during storms, dragging them out and setting them up when snow or ice has taken down a power line, or a thunderstorm has knocked out their electricity. You’ll be tempted to keep your generator in storage when you don’t need to use it, letting it collect dust until another storm strikes. It’s important you ignore that temptation.

Generators require attention year-round—not just during power outages. Here are some tips for maintaining your generator:


  • Run the machine at least once every three months for a half hour. This assures the generator will be responsive and ready to go when you need it most. If you neglect it, kinks more likely to form in the machinery—you don’t want to learn this the hard way when you lose power in freezing temperatures and the generator won’t start up.


  • Sometimes running the machine isn’t enough—a full servicing is recommended at least once or twice a year. This is an in-depth inspection of the machine, from tightening the nuts and bolts to greasing the wheels. Make sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions, but if you aren’t comfortable servicing it yourself, or find problems you don’t know how to fix, you should contact a technician.


  • Don’t just check the machine, but its external components too. Inspect electrical cords for fraying. Make sure there are no holes in the generator cover. And check the area you set it up in for debris. Its just as important to supervise what’s happening around the machine as it is to check inside of it.


  • Clean the generator after every use. You can use rags to wipe off dirt and grease, an air blower to clean out the vents, and lubrication if the machine needs it. Once finished, store it in a tidy and dry area.


  • Get rid of old fuel. Using outdated fuel is the one of the largest reasons why generators act up. Empty your fuel tank after the winter, or if you’re in warmer states, storm season, and drain your carburetor. Always make sure your gas is both fresh and stabilized before using your generator. Another gas tip: though it sounds obvious, don’t let your machine run out of gas. Keep it filled up, and check the electrical load before turning it off.


Be sure to perform them these tips regularly, and keep track of when you do with a detailed log. A log will help you in the long run, and any repairman or technician that you may need in the future can look at it. Remember, maintaining your generator isn’t a suggestion, it’s a necessity.