Portable Generator Maintenance

Many people living in Florida have purchased a Portable Generator to provide some electrical power if their primary electrical service is lost.

Thankfully, for most of us our primary electrical service is very reliable.

hurricane weatherBut during Florida Hurricane Season (June through November each year) or even during a more common thunderstorm, or as the result of an accident, there can be a power outage that can last from minutes to hours, even days. And to provide a reliable backup source of electrical power, we have a portable generator.

Because our primary electrical power service is so reliable, often our portable generators can sit for months without being needed. If they are not run periodically, they may not perform when we need them.

Briggs and Stratton Portable Generator“It’s a good idea to have a professional service your portable generator once a year.” – Allstate Insurance, on Portable Generator maintenance.
In addition to annual professional maintenance of your portable generator, most generator manufacturers recommend:

1.  Read and follow the instructions in the manufacturer’s Owner’s manual for your portable generator. If you do not understand the instructions clearly, give them a call; most manufacturer’s have a telephone number in the Owner’s manual, and many are toll free.

2.  Put a fresh half gallon of fuel in the generator fuel tank, once each month, and run the generator for at least an hour. Drain any left over gasoline from the fuel tank. Gas goes stale when left sitting in a fuel tank for a month, and is harder to start.

As an alternative, some people add a fuel stabilizer (such as Briggs and Stratton fuel stabilizer treatment) to the fuel in their tank, which helps the fuel stay fresh longer.

3.  Check your generator starting method.

  • If your portable generator is a manual, pull-start, check the pull rope for wear as you pull it to start the generator each month. If the rope is worn, it should be replaced so it doesn’t break when you really need that generator.
  • If your portable generator is a battery started model, check the charge on that battery.
  • Some portable generators have a manual start capability as a backup for the batter starting capablity, and in those cases, you should check both ways of starting your generator.

portable generator with a small engine4.  While running your generator each month, plug in a small appliance; a lamp or a portable drill or kitchen hand mixer, and run the appliance to make sure that the generator is producing electricity.

5.  Remember that Portable Generators produce exhaust gasses when they operate, including carbon monoxide with is colorless and has no odor, and can be deadly.  Always operate you portable generator outside of your home or business. And do not run a portable generator near an open window, because the carbon monoxide can blow into the home or business and endanger anyone inside.

6.  Protect your Generator. When you operate your Portable Generator, shelter it from wet or damp conditions, to prevent shock hazards from the electricity being produced by the generator (and to keep your generator from shorting out, or from being damaged by corrosion). Then store your generator in a safe, dry place, to keep it ready for use during an emergency.

7.  Generator fuel is flammable. Store fuel (usually gasoline) in a safe container, and in a safe, cool and well ventilated place that is not in the same space as where you operate the Portable Generator. Never add fuel to a generator until the generator cools down. Better to use flashlights for a while than take a chance on a fire or explosion!

Generac Portable GeneratorBlack Creek Services, Inc. provides on-site repairs in Middleburg, Fleming Island, Green Cove Springs, Orange Park, and Jacksonville, Florida, as well as in our shop in Middleburg, Florida. We can also provide pickup and delivery of your portable generator.

If your portable generator is hard to start, runs rough, or won’t start at all, before you start pricing a replacement, Call Black Creek Services, Inc.  at 904.449.3986 or Contact Black Creek Services, Inc. for a free estimate. Often, with some minor repairs, we can have your portable generator running right and reliable again in no time.