Portable generators have important uses in our lives – from providing backup power when the lights go out to keeping our appliances and computers going in our RVs. In order to keep the lights on, it is essential that one have a regular portable generator maintenance routine and stick to it.
During the Generator’s Use Season –
1) Keep the Oil Fresh –
One of the first responsibilities of portable generator maintenance is to keep the oil topped off and fresh. The oil needs to be replaced after the first 30 hours and then after every 100 hours or per season, whichever comes first. Modern generators track their hours of service for you, so you don’t need to track the time yourself. You need to keep a supply on hand of oil, oil filters, and gas to get you through a multi-day power outage or RV trip. A Generac generator maintenance kit and the Generac generator parts list will help you find all the necessary items that are designed for your particular portable generator model.
2) Replace the Spark Plug and Air Filter –
Spark plugs and air filters are replaced at the same time, either at 200 hours of service or seasonally, whichever comes first. This keeps the fuel/air ratio at an optimal level, which extends the engine life and provides better output. These are Generac generator maintenance parts. They are available in the generac generator maintenance kit for your model.
3) Start the Generator Monthly –
Starting the generator every 30 days it sits unused helps to keep the engine lubricated.
When the Generator’s Season is Over –
When you store your generator for more than a month, such as when winter or the RV season is over, you will need to perform other maintenance routines. The main off-season routines are battery maintenance and draining the fuel system.
1) Battery –
Generators with electronic starter systems need the portable generator battery to be fully charged before each use. Generac found that 80 percent of all generator failures are related to battery issues.
Battery Storage –
- Remove the black battery lead first
- Remove the red battery lead
- Reconnect both screws back to the battery terminals
- Remove the battery from the portable generator and store it in a cool and dry location
Battery Charging –
Use a 1.5 amp, 12 volt trickle charger or battery maintainers. Clean the terminal connections if they are corroded or dirty prior to charging. This can be done with baking soda and water, in the case of corrosion, or with a battery terminal cleaning device you can find at the auto parts store. Some people just keep their generator battery on the trickle charger at all times, due the fact that many generators are on hand for emergency use.
Battery Replacement –
If you need to replace the portable generator battery, you will need to ensure that you buy a battery with the same reserve capacity and cranking amps as the one in your generator. Otherwise, your generator may fail in your next power outage, because the electronic battery system does not have the proper current to start the generator. Thus, just going to the big box store and buying any off-the-shelf battery of the same physical size may result in failure of your generator when you most need it. You can find the right battery by consulting the Generac generator parts list and getting the Generac generator maintenance part.
2) Drain and Stabilize the Fuel –
When the generator will sit unused off-season, you need to perform a process that stabilizes the fuel and drains most of it out of the tank. Failure to perform this off-season maintenance routine can lead to a gummed-up carburetor, fuel tank or fuel hose. Also, if you use alcohol-blend fuels, these can separate in storage, causing an acidic build-up in the engine. The steps in the process of draining and stabilizing the fuel are as follows:
- Get some gas stabilizer and add the recommended quantity to the gas tank
- Let the engine run for 10 to 15 minutes
- After the engine has cooled, use a non-conductive vacuum siphon to remove the fuel from the tank
- Run the engine again until it will not run any longer, due to a lack of fuel
Any fuel residue now will be stabilized, so it cannot gum up or acidify the engine. If you do not have much gas in the tank at the end of the season, you can also add the stabilizer and run the generator a few times until it will no longer start.
- The no-brainer is to check for gas if the generator will not start
- Check to see if the switch is fully on or is it between on and off?
- If your generator is running rough, the fuel mix may not be quite right, so you will have to call Generac’s technicians for help with that issue.
- Another issue that may require a professional’s help is a stuck intake valve.
- If you have water in your gasoline, you will need to drain the gas and add fresh gasoline.
Maintaining an electric generator is far easier. You simply need to use the supplied battery charger or AC cord connection and keep the battery charged on a monthly basis, so it will be ready for you when you need it. Some units do not come with the required AC cord or charger connection, so you will need to consult your manual to see what Generac generator maintenance parts you need to charge this type of generator.
Once you are in the habit of your portable generator maintenance routine, your generator will provide years of dependable service that will keep the lights on in your RV when camping or in an emergency scenario. Keeping a Generac generator maintenance kit on hand will provide you the necessary parts to perform all maintenance schedule tasks. You can also consult the Generac generator parts list for any other parts that you may need to replace. At first, this may seem like a lot of work, but these simple maintenance steps will provide your family the security of electrical power in an emergency scenario.