We are deep into winter weather here in Rochester, MN, and one thing you want in tip-top condition is your generator. Should the power go out, having a generator standing by can make the difference between a hot cooked meal and a cold PB&J for dinner. If you have medical devices in your home, getting peak performance from your generator is even more important. Here are six tips for maintaining this essential machine in optimal condition.
1. Make a Plan for Your Generator
In order to create a regular maintenance schedule, use a calendar. Find a good slot during the week or on the weekend when performing maintenance will be convenient. Because of the importance of your generator, make sure you reserve that day across all your devices.
2. Schedule Time for Monthly Tasks
Once a month, you should perform some general maintenance on your generator. Mark it on the calendar because days fly by quickly. It’s easy to be surprised that another month has gone by. Also check the owner’s manual to see if they have any specific things for you to check that might not be on our list.
3. Check Fluid Levels
Just as when caring for your car, the fluid levels must be checked and replaced as needed. Your generator will have oil and coolant fluids. Check them with a dipstick.
4. Replace Old Fluid
Oil should be changed on a regular basis and definitely after a long period of not using it. This keeps the important fluids free of dust or contaminants that may have gotten in. You should change the oil on a regular basis; check the owner’s manual to find out how often you will need to do this.
5. Start It Up
Once a month, start the generator up and let it run at peak capacity for a little while; 15-30 minutes should be fine. If there are problems with the generator, you want to know now rather than when you need to use it. Another reason for doing this is to make sure the battery is working and able to start the generator. If you need a new battery, it’s better to purchase it now instead of waiting until the power goes out, and you need it to work right away.
6. Don’t Use Old Gas
After every use, drain the gasoline from your generator. This ensures that with every use, your generator will be running on fresh, clean fuel. If you’re unsure how to drain the gas, see your owner’s manual or a video online.
If you’re not sure what kind of generator you need, get in touch with our electricians at Paxton Electric. We can also help out if any of your generator maintenance reveals any problems.