Generators are one of those things where you hope you never have to use them. But when it comes time, you’re glad you have one. If you have a generator, you’ll get the best use out of it if you follow proper storage guidelines. Fortunately, there aren’t a lot of guidelines to follow for best storage of your generator. That's good news, since you probably have a lot of other things to worry about during a major weather event.
For The Short-Term: Not Much To It
Short-term storage for generators is pretty simple. If you know you’re going to need to use it multiple times in a given season, all you really have to do is clean the debris off of it after each use. Then store it somewhere that you can easy access to it when you need to pull it out again for the next use. Easy as pie.
For The Long-Term: Treat The Fuel
This is the one most generator owners are paying attention to. What should you do with your generator when you’re putting it away for multiple months?
Scheduled Maintenance – the first thing you should be doing is consulting the generator’s owners manual to see what the manufacturer recommends about maintenance. Do what they say, as they know best.
Treat The Fuel – fuel is the biggest determiner of whether your generator is going to run properly or not. So before you put it away, you’ll want to fill it with fuel as high as you can, and then treat that fuel with a stabilizer. This is especially important if you have a gas generator and you’re putting typical E10 gasoline in it.
A good ethanol fuel treatment should be able to enhance the gasoline’s ability to tolerate any water it’s going to absorb during storage, and it should protect your generator’s rubber and plastic parts from any interactions with the fuel during storage.
So treat the fuel, then run the generator for a few minutes to get the treated fuel distributed all the way through the generator’s fuel system.
Lastly, this isn't directly to do with generator storage, but it's important enough to bear repeating. Always remember that when you're using your portable generator, there are essential safety guidelines you must follow.
- Always use it outdoors and away from any structure. Never use it indoors. Generators can give off carbon monoxide. If you do happen to start feeling sick, dizzy or weak while using a generator, get to fresh air immediately and seek medical attention.
- Disconnect the power coming into the structure. If the power is out, this isn't a problem. But if not, power from the generator can go back into the utility lines, creating a hazard for any utility workers.
- Let the generator cool down before refueling. This should be obvious. A hot generator and flammable fuel aren't a safe mix.
- Never plug the generator into a wall outlet. This is very dangerous and requires an automatic transfer switch that disconnects the building's wiring from the utility system. This is an area for a licensed electrician.
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This post was published on September 12, 2017 and was updated on March 29, 2018.