When you live in an area that's prone to seasonal power outages because of severe weather, it's a good idea to invest in an emergency generator so that you have a power source. If you've never had a generator before, you may not understand the key maintenance tasks that are required. Here's a look at some of the things you should do to ensure that your generator is ready to pick things up when the electric company cuts out.
In the month or so before the storm season sets in, you'll want to give your generator a bit of early attention. Give the entire unit a complete inspection, looking for any indication of physical damage. Check the spark plug as well, because it needs to be in good condition for the system to run as it should. If the plug appears burnt, it needs to be replaced.
Make sure that the wires are free of any fraying or damage, and check all of the screws and metal fixtures for corrosion. While you're at it, check the condition of the belts. The generator's vibration can wiggle things loose, so it's important to ensure that the pulleys are secure and the belts are tight. Finally, install a clean air filter. Check the filter after every power outage, too. If it gets dirty, replace it.
The oil in the generator should be changed before the first big storm of the season. You can do it on your own or have a technician handle it for you. If you want to do it yourself, start the generator and let it run for a couple of minutes. This warms the oil so that you can drain it easily. Turn off the generator, then position a drain pan under the oil drain plug.
Use a small wrench to loosen the drain plug. Let the oil drain until the pan is empty, then close the plug. Fill the generator with the amount and type of oil called for in the owner's manual. Then, check the oil level periodically through the storm season.
With these tips and the support of a reliable technician, you can ensure that your generator is ready for whatever this year's weather brings. If you aren't comfortable doing the work yourself, schedule an annual maintenance appointment instead. Your generator technician can not only prepare the unit for the season, but also may be able to offer you suggestions to optimize your power use and get the most from the system.