9 Great Tips for Maintaining Your Portable Generator
Tip 1: Don’t get burned by wattage ratings
Watts are not all equal
Ignore the higher rating and select a generator based on its “rated,” “running” or “continuous” watts.
Tip 2: Stock up on oil and filters
Keep your generator humming
Pumping out watts is hard on engine oil, and oil-change intervals are short. Store up enough oil and filters to get you through a long power outage.
Tip 3: Chill out before you refill
A headlight helps for tank filling
After the engine cools, strap on an LED head lamp so you can actually see what you’re doing. Pour slowly and avoid filling the tank to the brim.
Tip 4: Running out of gas can cost you
Some generators, especially low-cost models, can be damaged by running out of gas. They keep putting out power while coming to a stop, and the electrical load in your house drains the magnetic field from the generator coils. When you restart, the generator will run fine, but it won’t generate power. You’ll have to haul it into a repair shop, where you’ll pay about $40 to reenergize the generator coils. So keep the tank filled and always remove the electrical load before you shut down.
Tip 5: Old fuel is your worst enemy
Out with the old
Empty the tank with a hand pump before running the carburetor dry. Reload with fresh gas next time you run the generator.
Tip 6: Backfeeding kills
Don’t backfeed! It’s just plain dangerous
Forget about using a double-ended cord to run power backward into a receptacle. Instead, run separate extension cords or install a transfer switch.
Tip 9: Use a heavy-duty cord
Long cords let you get some sleep
Invest in some long extension cords to put some distance between you and the noisy generator. But don’t exceed 100 ft. between the generator and appliances.