Hurricane season is upon us, and that means power outages may be just around the corner. Now is the time to make sure your generator is ready to run, no matter what Mother Nature may bring. Here’s what to do to get your generator ready before a storm hits:
Dust it off and tune it up!
When the weather is nice and calm, most of us tuck our generators away in a shed or garage and give them little thought until they’re needed. Prepare for an emergency now by getting your generator out of storage and checking it over to make sure it’s operating properly. It’s also a great time to perform some preventive maintenance:
- Wheel or carry your generator outside and place it away from any open windows or doors before beginning.
- Inspect the generator carefully for any cracked, worn or broken parts, as well as frayed or worn wires, Make note of anything that looks unusual or shows signs of possible damage or extensive wear.
- Dig out your owner’s manual and change the oil; this should be done at the beginning of every storm season to ensure your generator stays in good shape. Always check the oil levels before running your generator.
- Hopefully, you drained the old fuel from your unit before putting it in storage. Fill the tank with clean fuel and add a stabilizer if necessary. Fuel should be refreshed every four weeks or so during the season you’re using it.
- Now check the air filter and replace it if it’s damaged or dirty. A dirty filter means your generator won’t work as efficiently and is more prone to breakdown.
- Do the same with the spark plug, checking for wear or damage and replacing as needed, following the instructions in your owner’s manual.
- Finally, make sure all bolts are properly tightened to eliminate vibrations that can result in significant noise during operation, and can also cause increased wear and tear on your generator over time.
Stock up on supplies
Make sure you have extra filters, oil, fuel and spark plugs on hand, and keep them where they’re easily accessible in case you need to make a quick repair during a storm or in case you need to run it for a long period of time.
Give it a test run
Now test your generator with a few small appliances to make sure it’s operating the way it should. While it’s running, listen and watch for anything unusual that might indicate a problem that requires a professional tune-up or repair.
Put it on your calendar
Not every hurricane will have the devastating effects of Hurricane Sandy, but even a relatively minor power outage can have a significant effect on your health and lifestyle. Following these simple steps at the beginning of every storm season can help ensure you have the power you need when the rains start to pour.