Steps to properly clean and maintain your generator
Cleaning your generator
- Check the oil. It is important with any engine to check the generators oil before each use. If your generator is new, plan to first change the oil when it has been used for 20 hours. Residue from assembly (lubricant and metallic particles) can break loose with use during the break-in of the engine. Generally, oil changes can be performed every 100 hours of use, unless the conditions are very dirty. Then, you should change it more often.
- Keep fuel fresh and clean. Always use approved containers to store your fuel. Store receptacles in clean, dry areas. Dirty fuel with dust or particles of debris will damage your engine parts and reduce its firing power.
- Old fuel can break down, so put tags on receptacles with purchase dates to ensure that your fuel is fresh. Year-old fuel that has gone bad won’t help you if it won’t run your generator in an emergency.
- Clean the air filter. Like you, your generator engine needs air to breathe. Maintaining a clean air filter is important. You should check it following each use, especially if the conditions have been dusty. It should be cleaned when you change the oil, as well.
- Keep it clean. Regularly clean your generator. Removing harmful dirt and debris not only maintains the life of your generator, but it gives you a chance to spot any service issues that may be developing. Blow off dust and debris with your air compressor or compressed air (canned air), then wipe the surface with a clean cloth and degreaser (non-flammable) and soft brush. Be sure to clear any dust from the cooling vents.
- Watch for leaks. After cleaning the exterior of the generator, look for any oil or fuel leaks that may come from loosened parts. Tighten or replace any parts causing the leak.
- Tighten up components. Loose bolts and screws can vibrate out and cause damage to nearby components. It is a good time while cleaning to tighten everything!
- Keep the spark glowing. Spark plugs are important to keep your engine running smoothly. Over time plugs get soiled with dirt, oil, and carbon residue. This stops the spark from igniting. Plugs should be checked and cleaned when the oil is changed. Use a wire brush or spark plug cleaner. Anytime the porcelain is cracked, replace the plug immediately.
- Clean the strainer. There is a fuel strainer in the fill port to the fuel tank. This strainer is meant to collect dirt and debris that may be in the new fuel. Be sure to remove and clean it if sediment is present. Replace and top off your tank with new fuel.
- Check yearly. It is a good idea to do an annual inspection of your generator. Look for broken or cracked parts. Check the fuel line for cracks and replace it if needed.
- Storing your generator. You have cleaned and maintained your generator through a season of use. Now it is time to store it until you are ready to use it again. Make sure it is ready to go the next time you need it.
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