A little generator maintenance goes a long way. When you invest in a generator – whatever its size – it’s important you take the time to look after it properly. This will not only maximise the life of the generator but will keep you safe and also save you money in the long run.
Don’t wait for your unit to break down before you do some generator maintenance. Whether your generator sits in the shed for months between uses, or you run it regularly, it pays to follow some simple generator maintenance and safety checks.
Use these generator maintenance and safety tips:
STOP! Read the manual.
Before you do anything, read the manual. Refresh yourself on how to use the generator safely. And check the maintenance schedule to see how often you should be making checks and replacements.
GENERATOR MAINTENANCE TIPS
- Check engine oil
Always make sure the generator’s engine oil is in good condition. Even if your generator is used for a short time, as soon as you kick it over, you need to make sure you change the oil at least every 6 months. If you’re using it more regularly, change the oil every 100 hours. This is easy generator maintenance – drain the old oil completely. Then place the generator on a level surface to fill up the oil again. Wipe off any excess. This quick customer video shows the oil change process for a Yamaha Inverter Generator:
- Check spark plug
Like the oil, you should check the spark plug every six months or 100 hours of use. Look for discolouration of the spark plug. The normal colour should be medium to light tan. If it’s any other colour, replace the spark plug – check your manual for instructions.
- Check fuel
It sounds like an obvious generator maintenance tip, but always check you have enough fuel in the generator before you fire it up. Read the fuel gauge (most models have one). Also, look for any signs of a fuel leak before starting the generator.
- Air filter
Check the air filter. If necessary, remove the air filter and clean it by lightly brushing it over. If it appears beyond use, replace the air filter.
- Muffler and spark arrestor
Take off the muffler cover and check the spark arrester. Give both the spark arrestor and muffler a good clean to remove traces of carbon deposits. Are they in good condition? If not, replace them.
GENERATOR SAFETY TIPS
Here are some really important safety tips to help you and your family use the unit safely, and prolong its life.
- Read the manual
Okay, we’ve said this before. But make sure your first stop is the owners’ manual. If you have any questions or concerns about using the generator, go to the manual.
- Check for leaks
The exhaust on a generator gets quite hot and has the potential to ignite flammable liquids. Don’t risk it – make sure there are no leaks from the generator before you start it up.
- Pre-operation inspection
Ready to start? Not so fast. Check the oil, check the fuel hose and check the fuel before you kick it over. With new units, some retailers don’t include the oil inside – so always check the oil first. This is a great practice to get into and will make sure your generator lasts longer.
- Refilling the generator
If you need to top up the oil or fuel, don’t tilt the unit while refilling. Ensure you tighten all caps securely. And don’t overfill – this will damage the engine.
- Cool down
Always let the generator return to room temperature before you change the oil and fuel, or do any other generator maintenance.
- NEVER operate in enclosed space
Not in your tent, caravan, inside the house or garage. Not even under an awning. The reason for this is that the generator emits carbon monoxide gases which can be deadly if you are in the same enclosed space. Also, never partially or fully cover the generator for the same reason. Always make sure the area is well ventilated and away from where you’re staying.
- Solid surface
When using the generator, place it on a solid and clean surface, such as an MDF board. This stops sand and dust from getting sucked up inside the generator and blocking the gear and filters.
- Get it up and running first
Before connecting any electrical appliances or devices, get the generator up and running. And when it’s time to go, first turn off your electronics, then unplug them, then turn off the generator.
With these essential generator maintenance and safety tips, your generator should continue running smoothly and safely for many years to come. Check our website for more Generator Related Information.