If you follow our blog, hopefully you performed your winter maintenance back in the Fall; if you didn’t, here’s a reminder of a few things you can – and should – still do to help ensure your generator is ready to work when you need it this winter. And if you did prep your generator for cold winter back in the fall, you may still want to review to make sure you’re keeping up on ongoing maintenance tasks to keep your unit in top performing shape:
- Invest in a cold weather kit. These kits usually include both battery warmers and oil heaters, and may also include additional items like fuel additives, covers and a few basic replacement parts. Cold weather kits are designed for specific types of generators, so be sure you choose the one that’s best for your make and model. Depending on the items you already own, it may make more sense and save you more money by buying individual items. If you’re not sure what items you need or which brands are right for your generator, ask us; we’re always ready to help.
- Buy a battery warmer: Just as your car can have trouble starting cold weather, so can your generator. Battery warmer units are typically controlled by a thermostat, which means they turn on and off automatically. Some units sit under the battery, so be prepared to do a little minor disassembly to install one.
- Add an oil heater: During cold weather, oil turns from a liquid lubricant into a viscous sludge that often isn’t able to provide important protection to your engine and its moving parts. Like the battery heater, oil heaters turn on when the temps hit a certain level to make sure the oil in your generator remains at the right viscosity for proper use. Read instructions carefully; some heaters require you to fill your unit’s oil reservoir with a 5W-30 synthetic oil before use.
- Check your extension cords for wear, including “kinked” or bent areas that can cause shorts. The time to replace them is now before the snow starts to fly and shoppers run like mad to clear off the shelves of anything generator-related. While you’re getting a new cord, consider stocking up on other generator essentials to avoid the need to go out once a storm hits.
- Run your generator often: Not only does running it every few weeks ensure it’s running properly, but it also helps ensure bearings and gaskets stay lubricated. That’s especially important when the generator sits idle, since fluids can settle and gum-up, meaning they’ll be less effective and won’t do their job as well. Over time, that can lead to damage and unexpected problems when running during the cold months of winter. Don’t be lazy – be sure to take your generator outside and well away form your house before starting it up and let it run for 10 to 20 minutes or so. Wipe it off before putting it away to make sure to remove any moisture that could cause corrosion.
Taking these simple steps to proper maintenance is the best way to make sure your generator is ready for use when you need it. Questions? Give us a call. We’re ready to help.