Portable Generator Maintenance Tips by Premium Electric

In this post, we’ll look at 10 portable generator maintenance tips that you can use to keep your home generator primed and ready for when you need it.

If you rely on a portable backup generator to get you through power outages or natural disasters it’s important to ensure that your backup generator is regularly maintained. See our post on How Generators Work for more detailed information about generators.

Close up view of the choke and fuel valve on a portable generator.

Tip #1: Generator Oil Change

Every make and model of the generator has slightly different maintenance schedules, but it’s a good idea to do your first oil change after 25 hours of operation. Refer to your manual for specific instructions on generator oil change intervals.

Tip #2: Generator Air Filter Cleaning & Spark Plug Cleaning

At around the 200-hour mark, your generator spark plug(s) should be changed. Also, be sure that your air filter is cleaned regularly to ensure a proper air/fuel mixture. When the backup generator is running at its optimum it will run more efficiently and last longer.

Tip #3: Generator Fuel Stabilizer

This is an important portable generator maintenance tip. For all seasonal equipment you use, including your backup generator, it’s best to also add a fuel stabilizer, especially if the fuel will be sitting for an extended period of time.

On its own, gasoline can last up to 3 months or more but by adding a stabilizer, you can extend the life of your gasoline for up to 6 months or more. Over time your fuel will develop gum deposits and attract moisture. Once you add the fuel stabilizer it’s a good idea to also run the generator for 10-15 minutes. Check your service manual for more details.

Tip #4: Start Your Portable Backup Generator Every 30 Days

Because your backup generator is either stored outside or in a garage, starting it for a short period every 30 days will keep internal parts lubricated and free from rust. Plus, it’s good to know that your generator is still in good working order.

Tip #5: Keep Your Portable Backup Generator Battery Fully Charged

If your generator has a battery for quick starting, keep it fully charged using a trickle charger as part of your portable generator maintenance. You never know when you might need to use the generator. Check your battery annually and replace it as needed.

Tip #6: Don’t Let the Backup Generator Run Dry

When operating your portable backup generator to provide electricity to your home, be sure to not let the gas tank run dry. Devices in your home that draw electricity continue to do so as the engine stops and can draw the magnetic field from the coils of some generators. The next time you start it, your generator may not produce electricity.

Tip #7: Service the Generator Spark Arrestor

A little known part of your backup generator that requires servicing is the spark arrestor. This prevents flammable debris from being emitted from the exhaust. Check your service manual for cleaning or replacement instructions.

Tip #8: Regular Portable Generator Maintenance

When your generator is operating it is outdoors and may be subject to corrosive elements. Look for loose wires, excessively corroded parts, or any obstructions that may cause the generator to overheat or malfunction. It’s a good idea to regularly inspect and maintain your generator to keep it operating at its optimum.

Tip #9: Keep Log Book of Generator Maintenance and Repairs

If your portable backup generator only sees attention once every six months or so, you may not recall what was done the last time you serviced it. For good portable generator maintenance, keeping a record of the condition and maintenance routine is useful information for a repairman or an insurance company, should your generator fail entirely.

Tip #10: Give Your Portable Backup Generator Some TLC

Once a year it’s not a bad idea to have your generator serviced and tested by a maintenance expert. They are familiar with portable generators and sometimes spot potential problems you might not notice. Backup generators should be serviced after so many hours of usage. Check your manual for manufacturer recommendations. See BC Hydro’s web page Prepare Your Home for an Outage for more tips!

About Premium Electric

Premium Electric’s certified electricians Michael Speakman and Tristan McAllan have serviced Fraser Valley commercial and residential customers for over 15 years. We offer residential and commercial electrical services to customers throughout the Vancouver Lower Mainland but primarily in Langley, Aldergrove, Mission, Chilliwack, Abbotsford, or Surrey.

As an Abbotsford electrical company, Premium Electric provides many types of electrical services including 24-hour emergency electrical services. Our work is warrantied and guaranteed for safety and quality. We also offer generator sales and maintenance services.

Call our Abbotsford electricians at 604-308-6195 or send us an email if you have any questions or concerns about portable generator maintenance.

Ask us about our safety electrical inspection services.

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