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Is Your Generator Ready for Winter Emergencies?

Winters in Wisconsin get cold. In fact, they may get so cold that powerlines get iced over, downed, and neighborhoods lose power. When it happens, having a backup power source is no longer an option but a necessity. If you are fortunate to have an emergency generator, this is the moment you have planned for. So, you head out to the garage or outbuilding, pull out the generator, and flip the switch (or crank it up) only to discover that nothing happens.

Just owning a generator is not enough. You must do your part to keep it maintained and ready to power up when needed. If owning a generator is new to you, then it is time to learn how to keep it ready to go when needed.

Keeping Your Portable Generator Ready to Go

  1. GeneratorKeep it covered when not in use. Your portable generator is not something you use every day. As such, it sits idle in your garage or workshop until you need it. But while it is sitting dormant, you can’t just forget about it. You must keep it cleaned and covered up. Failing to do this will result in dust, debris, and dirt building up in its mechanics. Side note- Some people will build a generator ‘garage.’ This small building is about the size of a doghouse set on a concrete pad. This ensures the generator is protected from the elements and out of sight.
  2. Empty the tank after each use. Leaving fuel in your generator can cause it to gum up and minimize performance. Having a generator ready to go when you need it is crucial. But rather than leaving gas in the tank, empty it and keep a gas can on hand to fill it when needed.
  3. Change the oil. Like any small engine, oil is a significant component in how well it runs. You must change the oil after the first 30 hours of usage. After that, it can go as many as 100 hours of use between changes. Make it quick to change the oil by having AMSOIL synthetic oil on hand. You can purchase this from local AMSOIL dealer, The House of Syn.
  4. Let it run. To be sure your generator works when you need it, you should take it out at least once a quarter and let it run for 20 minutes. This helps keep the battery charged.
  5. Change the spark plugs and filters. After every 200 hours of use, you should change the spark plugs and install a new air filter. This will help the generator run more efficiently.
  6. Change the battery. Not every generator has a battery, but if yours does, you should plug the battery into a trickle charger to keep it ready when needed.

It is vital to keep your portable generator properly maintained and ready to work when needed. So keep it protected from the elements, change the oil, and replace items as needed. Then, the next time the temperatures cause problems, you can be sure your generator can do its job.