Buying a top quality portable power generator does not give you a full guarantee that you will enjoy trouble free operation in the long term. I speak from experience, as I own a number of small restaurants in the Caribbean where I use such generators. If you want your device to work optimally every time you need it for years to come, you need to provide proper maintenance. Thankfully, it is not hard to keep your generator in excellent working condition.
Give your portable power generator a nice basic cleaning before you use it. Use a clean lint-free dry cloth to remove dust and dirt. Damp the cloth in warm water to remove more stubborn stains, if any.
Check for any loose parts and bolts before you start operating the device. Pay special attention to the mounts which the engine stands on. If your generator uses an electric start, you should confirm that the battery necessary for its operation is fully charged.
Use a gas can with long spout to fill the fuel tank. Do not fill it to the top – leave little air inside. You may want to use a headlight for filling the tank correctly and for preventing spills. Never refuel the generator while it is still hot. Wait for it to cool off. 15 minutes should be sufficient for this.
Add stabilizer to the fuel which you use for running the generator. This is a piece of advice that virtually all manufacturers include in their operation manuals. The stabilizer will work to reduce the level of fuel breakdown and to prevent varnish and the buildup of gum to a great extent. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to use the stabilizer correctly.
You must never connect the generator to the wiring of the premises. Back feeding power into the system can result in serious damage, injuries and even death.
Let the portable power generator cool off before you start doing any maintenance work. A hot generator can be dangerous. Furthermore, even a small drop of fuel falling on the hot surface of the device may cause major damage and possibly an injury.
Any remaining fuel must be removed from the tank and carburetor once you are done using the generator. You do not have to use this every time after use especially when you use the device frequently. If you live in the Caribbean like me, for instance, you can perform this maintenance task after the end of the hurricane season.
Empty the tank using a hand suction pump. This is the most effective method for removing the entire amount of fuel from the tank which would otherwise drain into the carburetor. If your carburetor has a drain, you simply need to use it to remove any remaining gas. If it does not, you need to run the generator until the carburetor has run out of gas. Of course, you have to do this after completely emptying the tank.
Store the portable power generator in a cool and dry place. Your garage is a good place if it meets these requirements. There are also people who build a separate hut for their generator. It is a good idea to cover the device when not in use to protect it from dust and dirty. Covers are readily available, but they often have to be purchased separately.
Change the oil lubricating the engine parts as frequently as required by the manufacturer. Typically, you will have to change the oil after the first 25 hours of run time of a new generator. From then on, you will have to change it every 50 or 60 hours.
Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for changing the oil and use all provided accessories such as a funnel to make the task easier and avoid spills. I strongly recommend that you store enough oil in your home to avoid being left without power because the generator’s engine is not properly lubricated.
Run the portable generator once a month when not in use to ensure its proper operation. This will keep the device in good working order for years to come. You will save a lot on repairs.
Every month, pour half a gallon of fuel into the tank and run the generator for an hour or at last half an hour. Watch out for any signs of trouble – strange noises, leaks, parts which are not functioning properly and so on. Remember to empty the tank completely and to remove any oil which may remain in the carburetor.
In case there is a problem with your portable power generator, you should not attempt to fix it on your own, but call the customer support service immediately. The company should have experienced technicians who can give you proper advice over the phone or direct you to the nearest authorized repair shop. Ensure that you will get maintenance and repair services as per your warranty.
A Final Word
Keep your portable power generator in good condition and this will pay off.