Home power generators keep your lights and appliances running even when a power outage occurs. In addition to keeping your family comfortable and safe during storms and blackouts, installing generators is an easy home improvement task.
However, like any other appliance in your house, generators can develop faults and issues. When dealing with generator problems, you must have some basic knowledge. Understanding the most common problems with a generator will ensure you what to watch out for. Moreover, this means facing as little downtime as possible.
Using damaged or improperly installed generators can lead to risks, such as electrocution or carbon monoxide poisoning. So ensure that your generator undergoes proper maintenance even in cold winter months for proper functioning.
The Need for Generator Maintenance in Winter
With an extreme drop in temperature, your generator may either stop working or develop starting issues. Since the cylinders and the air inside them are chilled, the gasoline flowing through fails to ignite properly for combustion.
Take Care of Your Generator
A user’s manual will give you all the information required to take care of your generator. Since it contains all the warnings and procedures, you’ll know what to do in case of a cold start.
Avoid exposing your generator to a cold environment by using a cover or ventilated shelter. However, you can place it in safe storage for long periods of inactivity.
Before the winter approaches, take the battery inside your home to keep it warm. To avoid the hassle of dealing with reduced battery power or battery failure, keep it at an optimum temperature. You can also use a battery charger to maintain a charge.
Moreover, you must always use fresh fuel because gas stored for more than 20 days will corrode and clog the fuel lines in the engine. This can cause irreversible damage to the carburetor.
Clean the Area Around the Generator
Throughout the winter, you must regularly clean the area around your generator that may be covered with leaves, snow, or other debris. This will allow the generator to ventilate properly. Moreover, clearing away the snow will allow easy access to your generator in case of an emergency repair.
Make Sure You Start & Run The Generator Periodically
Prolonged inactivity is bad for internal combustion engines. Therefore, make sure you run your generator for a few minutes once every few days during the winter months. This will lubricate all moving parts and preserve important seals within the machine. Most generators automatically turn on in winter to keep the engine and its components running smoothly.
You can also use a cold-weather kit to winterize your generator. For example, a cold battery warmer will maintain an ideal temperature for your battery and ensure that your generator works efficiently in cold temperatures.
In addition, oil in your generator is likely to thicken in sub-freezing temperatures, but using a crankcase heater can prevent this.
Keep the Fuel Fresh
Using a fuel stabilizer helps stabilize the gas when your generator is in storage for the winter. It’s a liquid solution that will keep your fuel fresh and prevent it from clogging the engine. To maximize the life of your generator, consider rotating your fuel by draining the old fuel and adding in fresh gasoline.
Since stabilizers allow your fuel to last longer, you’ll have reliable power whenever you turn on your generator again.
Change the Oil
Oil not only lubricates the engine but also helps maintain its health. However, thickening oil in the winter months will make it difficult to start the engine because of viscosity changes. Though your engine may have sufficient oil, its viscosity may cause the sensor to misread. The generator may behave as if there’s no oil and shut down.
You can switch over to lighter-weight oil that flows faster and reduces friction in the engine to prevent wear and tear of the components. Remember to drain the old oil before replacing it with a new one. As the temperatures rise again, go through the user manual to avoid excessive engine damage.