Winterizing Your Generator
UPDATED: FEBRUARY 2022
We all know the importance of investing in a generator as a part of our disaster prep plan, as well as how to operate a generator safely – but did you know that generators also require frequent and proper maintenance so that they could run more efficiently?
As the winter weather approaches, we tend to stay indoors and use up more power in our home. We run our water heater, lights, appliances, and other electronic devices all day long, which means a greater chance of overloading our home’s electrical system.
Strong winds, snow, ice, and sleet also pose a threat to power lines and electrical equipment. And when the extreme weather hits, it becomes more difficult and dangerous for technicians to repair damaged equipment. When this happens, we could be without power for hours – even days.
We all want to feel comfortable and safe during the cold temperatures of the cold weather, and the last thing we need is to find ourselves without power. Fall is the perfect time to maintain our generators in preparation for the cold weather. Winterization of your generator allows you to identify and fix issues with our generators before the low temperatures set in.
Here are some tips on how to winterize a generator:
DO A DEEP CLEAN
Clear the area surrounding your generator and remove all dirt, branches, leaves, and other debris. Wipe down your generator with a damp cloth while avoiding getting the panel wet. Get into the nooks and crannies with an air duster.
Deep cleaning your generator will not only keep it looking shiny and new, but it will also ensure it operates smoothly while avoiding overheating and mechanical damage.
INSPECT FOR DAMAGE AND LEAKS
Whether your home has a portable generator or a standby generator, you should check yours for rust, dents, oil/fuel leaks, and frayed wires. It is dangerous to operate your generator with damaged parts, so make sure to contact a professional for repairs immediately.
Addressing minor issues now will save you from a larger, more costly repair later on – or worse, having to replace your generator altogether.
CHECK THE AIR FILTER
Air filters prevent dirt from getting into power generators. When your filter becomes too clogged, you risk poor generator performance and permanent damage down the line.
To clean your air filter:
- Remove the air cleaner cover
- Remove the air cleaner element
- Clean the air filter element in mildly soapy water
- Rinse the air filter element thoroughly in fresh water
- Dry the air filter element completely (it is preferable to let it dry overnight)
- Place a small amount of oil into the center of the sponge filter
- Wring the filter to distribute the oil
- Place the air filter into the housing
- Replace the air cleaner cover
KEEP IT LUBRICATED
During your winterization process, you should ensure that your generator is lubricated. A properly oiled generator will prevent overheating and allow your generator to use power more efficiently. It is important to check your oil after every use.
Brand new DuroMax generators require an oil change after the first 6-8 hours of running to flush out the engine. Afterwards, an oil change is required after every 20 running hours (after every 50 running hours for the XP15000E and XP15000EH).
To change the oil:
- Place a pan (a paint roller pan works well) under the generator to catch the oil
- Remove the oil drain bolt
- Remove the oil fill plug
- Drain the used oil into the pan
- Replace the oil drain bolt
- Fill the generator with 10w30 motor oil
- Replace the oil fill plug
INVEST IN A COVER
A simple cover will extend your generator’s lifespan and keep it looking new for the years of the freezing temperatures to come. A cover provides protection from rainfall and cold weather, prevents water damage and corrosion, and will keep dust and debris out. DuroMax offers an array of weather resistant covers for generators of all sizes.
STOCK UP ON FUEL
Always prepare for emergencies and stock up on enough fuel for long-term use. The last thing you want is to run out of fuel in the middle of a winter storm and power outage. Power outages could last for days, so make sure to plan ahead.
Our Dual Fuel line of generators run on gasoline or propane, with the latter having a shelf life of up to 30 years. Make sure to store your fuel tank in a safe, cool and dry space. If you anticipate leaving fuel in your generator, use a fuel stabilizer to prevent oxidation and chemical breakdown.
DON’T FORGET YOUR ACCESSORIES
Make sure everything you plug into your generator is in good condition to prevent electrical damage. DuroMax offers a variety of Extension Power Cords in different lengths to suit your needs. These cords are Outdoor Rated for safe use at home or on the job site. Features include reinforced blades, lighted ends, and grounded plugs.
PERFORM A TEST RUN
Make sure to conduct a test run of your generator every 3 months, for at least 30 minutes at a time. Your generator could lose its efficiency if it sits unused for months at a time. It’s almost like your car — running power generators periodically will help charge the battery, and will reduce the chance of it not turning on.
For a more in-depth guide on how to winterize a generator before the cold weather hits, follow this tutorial: