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How To Care For A Whole Home Generator

Whole Home Generator
Reading Time: 3 minutes

Preparing for hurricane season is stressful enough, without adding the stress of a malfunctioning generator. Have you ever needed your home generator in an emergency, only to discover that it won’t start? You can eliminate the last-minute stress and calls to a technician by adhering to a routine home generator maintenance plan.

Performing routine maintenance on your home generator not only allows you to identify and repair issues early but also prolongs the longevity of the unit. A well-maintained generator can run smoothly for 20 to 30 years.

10 Tips On Caring For Your Home Generator

Home generators are not used every day but need to function optimally when required. To keep your generator in tip-top condition takes a little effort on your part. Here are 10 things you can monitor that will ensure the generator stays in peak condition:

  1. The battery.
  2. The fuel.
  3. The fuel lines.
  4. The oil and coolant levels.
  5. The filters.
  6. The spark plugs.
  7. The extension cord.
  8. The location of the generator.
  9. Adhere to a maintenance plan.
  10. Be familiar with the instruction manual.

The Battery

The starter battery needs “exercise” to stay fresh and fully charged. The battery must run for a few minutes every few months to keep it functioning optimally. You can either set it to start the generator automatically on an auto-test cycle, or you can perform the test cycle manually.

The Fuel

Old fuel can damage your home generator, so gas should not be left in an unused generator indefinitely. Ideally, you should either add a fuel stabilizer to the fuel tank annually or empty the tank to fill it with fresh fuel once a year.

The Fuel Lines

Your generator will not start or run effectively if the fuel lines are old, worn, cracked, or clogged. You should check the condition of the fuel lines every few months, and call a professional to replace them when necessary.

The Oil And Coolant Levels

Keep a close eye on the oil and coolant levels, especially when the generator is used extensively. The oil usually needs to be changed after 50 hours of use.

The Filters

Home generator filters need regular cleaning or replacement. To clean a reusable filter you should:

  • Remove it carefully from the unit. Handle it carefully throughout the process.
  • Gently wipe clean using a cloth and hot soapy water.
  • Ensure it is properly dry before replacing.

The Spark Plugs

For the generator to start up, the spark plugs need to create an arc. Old and dirty spark plugs usually do not create the arc necessary to start up the generator, rendering it ineffective when needed.

Faulty spark plugs don’t always need replacing, sometimes they just need to be cleaned. To clean a spark plug you must:

  • Ensure the generator is off. Wait for the spark plugs to cool down before attempting to remove them.
  • Using a wire brush, scrub them until clean.
  • Replace them carefully. Do not over-crank them as you risk damaging/stripping the threads. If the generator still won’t start after you have cleaned the spark plugs, they may need to be replaced.

The Extension Cord

Home generators are very noisy and are usually positioned as far from the residence as possible. If the extension cord is very long, it will carry less voltage and cause the generator to have to work harder. This places unnecessary strain on the generator, reducing its lifespan.

Ensure that when using an electrical extension cord for a home generator it is:

  • At least a twelve-gauge cord (a heavy-duty cord).
  • Not longer than 100 feet in length.

The Location Of The Generator

Generators need airflow but must be sheltered from the elements. They can be stored in a generator shed or covered with a generator cover.

To function effectively, generators must also be kept clean. If stored undercover outdoors, trim any overgrowth around it. Also make a point of checking for trapped vines, leaves, foliage, rodents, and critters regularly (especially before usage).

Commit To A Maintenance plan

Any appliance, especially one as large and vital as your home generator, should have a maintenance plan. You should be performing regular checks every at least six to twelve months. A professional generator technician needs to perform a more detailed inspection of the unit at least once a year.

Be Familiar With The Instruction Manual

Every generator has its special features. The Instruction manual gives you vital information like the make and model of the unit as well as the wattage load. The manual will also give you tips on the general upkeep requirements of your specific unit.

Being familiar with the instruction manual, and storing it in an accessible location, will help to ensure a long generator life, and assist you to troubleshoot any issues when necessary.

Does Your Home Generator Need Some Care? Art Plumbing, Air Conditioning & Electric Are Here For You.

South Florida residents have trusted Art Plumbing Air Conditioning & Electric with all their electrical needs since 1983. Call Art at 1-800-475-1504 if you are having problems with your home generator, or you simply want a professional to inspect the unit.


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