Five Tips to Prepare Your Portable Generator for Winter Weather

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NewsUSA | Contributed

When temperatures drop and snow starts falling, portable generators of every size need a quick check-in to make sure that they’re ready to go before a possible power outage during inclement weather.

The experts at Generac shared five tips to help you prepare your generator for the winter-weather season.

Easy-to Access Storage: When it is not in use, make sure that your generator is stored in an easy-to-access place in a garage, shed, or other area where it can be accessed during inclement weather. While it’s important to keep it in a dry space when not in use, most storage places are not suitable for a running unit. Any fuel-powered generator must be operated outdoors, away from doors, vents, or windows due to potential carbon monoxide buildup.  

Check, Change and Prepare Oil: Check your service manual for recommended timing between oil changes and be sure your unit is ready to run at a moment’s notice, including the use of oil stabilizers and winter-ready oil, if recommended.

Have Safe, Stable Fuel on Hand: Fresh is best. Gasoline begins to break down and become less effective at about 30 days and diesel, while more stable, runs the risk of developing sediment or sludge, particularly in low temperatures. Be sure fresh fuel is available for your generator and add stabilizers as recommended by your owner’s manual.

Double-Check the Components: It’s important to give your generator a thorough check for any damage that may have occurred while stored. Make sure nothing is out of place and there is no corrosion or rust in critical areas. Rodents, bugs, and birds are also known to nest in engines, so clear any pest debris before operation. Manual choking to bring more fuel into the engine on an electric-start generator may also help with low temperature starting.

Maintenance: To ensure that your winterizing efforts have worked, regularly check up on your generator, running it for five minutes to ensure that it’s fully operational. Take this time to double check any of the above concerns and rest assured that your backup plan is in its best condition for an outage.

Generator technology has come a long way. While portable generators can easily power up a few appliances straight out of the box, automatic home standby generators offer greater peace of mind, starting automatically when the power goes out, and with the ability to run continuously until utility power is restored. Sitting outside of the home similarly to a central air unit, a home standby connects via an automatic transfer switch, either wired to power the entire house or just select critical circuits. The power of these generators is tailored to a home’s size and power requirements and is a failsafe for power outages while you’re away from the home. Larger fuel capacities or a direct connection to natural gas lines provides longer term, less complicated protection when properly maintained.

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