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7 Quick Tips for Portable Generator Maintenance

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A portable generator is a great addition to any prepper household. Never worry about power outages.

You can power your fridge/freezer, computer, a few lights, and your microwave if you have your own generator.  We’ll look at 7 easy tips you need to know for proper portable generator maintenance.  

Portable generator

If you went through the trouble of getting a good quality generator, you need to make sure you keep it running as smoothly as possible.  So, how do you ensure your generator serves you best without endangering your life?

Follow the crucial tips below, and your portable generator will make your life comfortable, easy, and enjoyable.

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1. Operate Your Generator Outdoors

Generators emit toxic carbon monoxide, and as such, you should always run it outdoors where there’s a free flow of air.

Create a well-ventilated space outdoors, and house your portable generator there whenever you are using it. If you can’t house your generator far enough, consider buying the quietest portable generator in the market and installing special alarms.

The alarms detect the presence of carbon monoxide in your home, while your super quiet generator causes minimal disturbance to your neighbors. Whenever the deadly gas finds its way into your home, the alarm rings, significantly enhancing your safety.

2. Your Portable Generator Should Always Remain Dry

Understandably, you mostly use your portable generator during power blackouts frequently caused by heavy storms. Exercise extreme caution to avoid water coming into contact with your generator.

Water, being a good conductor of electricity, can cause electrocution or even a complete breakdown of your portable generator.

If there’s no waterproof housing to operate your generator, postpone running it until the rainy season or the storm is over. Keep electrocution hazards at bay. Ensure rainwater doesn’t fall anywhere near your generator.

3. Understand the Meanings of Generator Ratings

Generators come with two capacity ratings:

  • starting/max
  • continuous/rated

Pay particular attention to the latter, ‘rated’. The power your portable generator will output for extended periods while running.

On the other hand, ‘starting’ indicates the amount of electrical energy your portable generator generates for a few seconds as internal motors rev up.

You must not base your purchasing decision on max ratings, as doing so may force you to repurpose your generator. It’s extremely dangerous to use a generator whose max ratings only match the power requirements of the load its supports.

4. Allow Your Generator to Cool Down Completely Before Refueling

Fuel tanks, located above your generator, do not favor feeding your generator while it is running or even when still hot.

While such a setup facilitates feeding the carburetor, if you unintentionally spill even the least amounts, the risk of accidental fire is high.

Stay safe by first turning off your generator and allowing it enough time to cool down. Carefully refuel your generator, paying attention to any spills before finally starting in on.

If you are refueling your portable generator at night, use a flashlight to minimize spilling.

5. Avoid Back Feeding at All Costs

Do not back feed your generator output into a wall outlet. If you’re using a portable generator because of a power blackout, chances are a technician is trying to fix the problem.

Plugging your output into the grid makes the utility line live and hence any technician working on the line is at risk.

Make a point of installing a transfer switch. The switch isolates your generator circuit from that of the utility. You will, therefore, be powering your circuit alone. Meaning the utility circuit remains off (no accidental electrocution) when there is a blackout.

6. Replace Oil and Filters Often

Portable generators are designed to switch off automatically when the oil level reduces below a certain limit. As a result, check the oil level regularly (preferably always before starting). Doing so also goes a long way in avoiding the frequent failure and eventual complete breakdown of your portable generator.

You should change the oil of your new generator after 25 hours of use, and subsequently after 100 hours. Consult your manual for the correct oil type you should use.

7. Have Sufficient Quantities of Fuel in Stock

Stock up as much high-quality fuel as possible, not just what your portable generator tank can hold.

Depending on the size of your generator, consider maintaining a safety stock of 12-20 gallons daily if you wish to use your generator around the clock.

Always ensure the fuel remains fresh. Old fuel makes starting difficult, makes your generator operate abnormally, and, in some cases, it fails to start completely.

By adding a stabilizer, your fuel can remain fresh for as long as 12 months. It also reduces fuel breakdown/gum buildup.

After a blackout-causing storm or a rainy season, discard the remaining fuel and clean your generator. Doing so ensures your portable generator is always using fresh fuel.

I hope this quick and easy guide to portable generator maintenance will help you stay safe even when the power is out.

Portable generator maintenance