Get the Most Out Of Your Generator With These Generator Maintenance Tips

Get the Most Out Of Your Generator With These Generator Maintenance Tips

  • Electrical
  • Generators
generator maintenance

A good generator is a lot like a car: a heavy investment up front, but sure to serve you well for many years to come if you treat it right. “If you treat it right,” is the operative phrase here. Anyone can buy a generator and let it run itself into the ground, but the truly attentive homeowner will understand proper generator maintenance as the best way to get the most out of their investment. 

Remember to change out your fuel

The number one cause of generator issues is old, stale fuel clogging up the system and causing damage to the inner workings of the machine Unstable fuel leads to fuel breakdown, varnish and gum buildup. Thankfully, most manufacturers provide compounds called stabilizers that help with this, but it’s not a catch-all by any means. At the end of the day, the safest thing is to fully drain and replace the fuel in your generator. If your carburetor has a drain, wait for the engine to cool before draining it. If no drain is present, empty the tank and let the generator run until it’s out of gas. Then add more fuel as needed. 

Run Your Generator Every So Often 

Rolling stone gathers no moss, and a running generator develops fewer issues. Most people keep generators in the event of an emergency, which leads to them leaving it idle for long stretches of time. Ironically, this can lead to decreased performance when you actually do need it. Giving your generator a little work out once in a while is a crucial part of proper maintenance. Fire it up once every three months or so, just for a few hours. You’ll be thankful when that next big storm rolls in and your generator is at the top of its game. 

Replace Filters When They’re Dirty

This goes for most pieces of hardware with air filters, but doubly so for your generator. If your air filter is dirty, it’s just not doing its job. They’re fairly easy and cheap to replace, so getting a new one should be one of the first things you think to do. If you’re feeling particularly adventurous, however, you can clean your existing filter yourself, but it’s hard for us to recommend this unless you’re in a pinch. Filters can tear very easily and a broken filter is an even worse issue than a dirty one. 

Stay on Top of Your Spark Plug

When it comes to generator maintenance, one of the main problems you’re trying to avoid is a non-start. If your generator won’t start up, a busted spark plug is one of the most common offenders. A spark plug is arguably the key component in starting your generator, being responsible for creating the electricity that fires it up. Because these components get such a workout, it’s common, even expected, for them to become dirty and break down. As always, make sure the generator is cooled down before attempting any check-up. If it’s dirty, remove it from the generator, clean it with a wire brush, and carefully place it back inside with a torque wrench. 

Store Your Gas Responsibly

Not strictly a generator maintenance tip, but still very important if you own one. Gasoline needs to be stored properly if you want it to work later on. Most local fire codes have limits on how much gasoline you can store at your home. You may be tempted to buy a larger container to limit the amount of refill runs. This is not advisable, as larger containers are unwieldy and are prone to spilling, especially when refilling the generator. Two smaller containers are preferable, both for reducing spillage and general safety. 

For help selecting and installing the backup generator that is right for you, call us today at 978-569-4775. We offer financing options upon credit approval.

Contact Ryan Gath Electric For a FREE Installation Estimate

So whether you’re building a new home or looking to add a generator to your emergency kit, there are many considerations in deciding if you are going to move forward with investing in a generator. For a business owner running computer systems or electric tools, a generator is an investment that can help employees get more done. For homeowners, the investment into a generator (whether a permanent standby model or a portable unit) might just pay off by preventing expensive home damage and loss that could result from a power outage.

If are unsure of which generator model is right for your home or business, just give us a call. Ryan Gath Electric specializes in the installation of automatic generators throughout all of eastern Massachusetts as well as southern New Hampshire and southern Maine, providing home and business owners with a safe source of electricity they can rely on when the power goes out. We are factory-authorized Generac installers, and offer flexible financing options subject to credit approval! We’ll help you through the whole process and get you a unit that fits both your needs and your budget.


Please check with lender for up-to-date terms, conditions and eligibility requirements. Information on this page is subject to change. Ryan Gath Electric is not responsible for the terms and conditions of third party lenders, or the accuracy of this page.

By Ryan Gath Electric

7 Generator Maintenance Tasks To Improve Longevity

7 Generator Maintenance Tasks To Improve Longevity

  • Electrical
  • Generators
Generator Maintenance From Ryan Gath Electric

7 Generator Maintenance Tasks To Improve Longevity

Whether you perform maintenance tasks around your home or you hire someone to do that sort of work, you’re probably aware of the amount of work that homes tend to create, especially if you’re trying to ensure that problems don’t  come up when you least expect them. Some of the tasks in this list are things you can do yourself, and others, like the first, are things you might want to call in a professional for. These 7 generator maintenance tasks will help protect your investment and keep it running in perfect condition.

    1. Have Your Generator Serviced Regularly
      Generator companies offer a variety of services, including annual maintenance packages for different generator systems. For some units, you may be able to get away with maintenance checkups every two years, but there is a shelf life to some of the components inside the generator. Spark plugs, filters, and other parts will need replacement at some point. Staying on top of that means fewer surprises.
    2. Keep An Eye On Oil & Fluid Levels
      Oil is necessary to protect the engine of your generator. It is a good idea to check the lubricant levels regularly, including after each use of the generator. Top these fluids off whenever necessary to ensure adequate levels.  Many companies suggest keeping an extra bottle of oil handy, just in case.
    3. Check Hoses & Coils Regularly For Holes, Rust & Other Issues
      Rust and corrosion put you at risk of problems when you least expect them. Corrosion can lead to problems with fuel and lubricant levels. This goes along with Tip #2: If there are holes or other issues  that are not taken care of, you could find that fluid levels are inadequate and the unit may not start, or,  the generator may start, but could damage the engine.
    4. Get Your Generator Covered
      To protect your generator from the elements, especially the rain, it is important to create or purchase a cover or enclosure of some sort. You can also build a structure to cover your generator, similar to a doghouse, if you don’t want to buy one.
    5. Protect The Motor From Burnout By Using Appropriate Cords
      The length and gauge of power cords can help to lessen the voltage that comes out of your generator. This protects the motor of the generator, and it also protects the items that you are powering. Heavy duty power cords with the appropriate gauge and length limits the resistance to power flow. If you’re using a longer cord to avoid potential issues like carbon monoxide, you’ll want a 16 gauge wire, which has a limit of 10 amps, based on National Electric Code guidelines
    6. Clean Yard Debris & Grime From The Unit Regularly
      Leaves, grass clippings and dirt can build up over time and cause problems with your generator. Accumulations of dirt can slow down the motor or stop it altogether. Brush leaves and yard debris off of the outside of the system regularly so that nothing unexpected gets inside to tear up the motor.
    7. Check The Battery & Connections Of A Portable Generator
      You’ll want to make sure that the battery terminal connections are tight, free of debris, and that they are free of corrosion. A well-connected battery lessens the chance of startup problems. Also, check to ensure that the battery is not leaking fluids anywhere.  If you find that your battery has an issue, like if it is low on voltage or leaking fluids, its’ time to replace it. Contact your generator dealer, or an auto parts store to learn more about the appropriate battery for your portable generator.

Contact Ryan Gath Electric For Generator Maintenance

Generators are similar, but no unit runs just like another. Depending on the style of generator that you have, they may run differently than your neighbor’s.  Instead of seeking advice from neighbors and friends, it might be best to consult your manual or contact a dealer to find out what annual maintenance tasks are required. Because not everyone is confident in their abilities to maintain a mechanical system like a generator, there are often service packages that can bundle many of these maintenance tasks. There are manuals that explain how to maintain a backup power generator, for those who are comfortable undertaking these tasks on their own. Refer to your purchase paperwork or contact your dealer to see about scheduling annual maintenance. The licensed electricians at Ryan Gath Electric offer same-day generator maintenance when available. So don’t risk costly repairs down the line by not keeping your investment in pristine condition. Call Ryan Gath Electric for a free generator maintenance estimate today.

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By Ryan Gath Electric