Winter in the south can be cold and wet – a time to take particular care of your generator. Standby and emergence generators may be getting more use while sets used for other activities are less used. In both instances, it is worth noting some maintenance tips:
1. PREPARATION FOR STORAGE / FUEL CONDITION
2. LOGBOOK - RECORD KEEPING
3. PROTECTION FROM THE ELEMENTS
First and foremost in preparing petrol-powered products for storage or infrequent operation is awareness of petrol condition – unleaded petrol, when stored in an un sealed container (like the generator’s fuel tank), will lessen volatility. ‘Stale’ petrol will not only seriously inhibit cold starting performance but can also create varnish like deposits and blockages in the carburettor jets. The easiest way to deal with this is adding a fuel stabilizing product such as Stabil.
Condensation can lead to water accumulating in the fuel tank. The old-school addition of a splash of methylated spirits or a specialized additive is suitable for petrol motors. Diesel engines have the additional problem of fungus forming if water is present – very important to avoid this by using a demulsifying agent such as found in Valvoline Injector Cleaner.
Battery lead acid and lithium batteries will degrade if left discharged. Starting and running the generator for 5 or 10 minutes every 3 or 4 weeks is one way to ‘exercise’ the electrical system or using a trickle charger such as the CTEK range of Smart Chargers. In some instances disconnecting the battery may be beneficial. Store battery in a warm place if possible and never leave resting on concrete.
Rotating the engine until maximum resistance is felt on the starter (‘compression stroke’) will ensure protection from sticking valves and moisture entering the engine.
Record keeping is very effective for maintenance - keeping a small log book of service and repairs is highly recommended. Although most modern generators feature an hour meter, digital versions like the $25 Motor1 HourMet can be easily affixed to your set, allowing you to record service intervals. Refer to owners-manual to confirm these service requirements.
Generators are very susceptible to corrosion – always take the utmost care they are protected from the weather. The application of a light spray coat of protectant such as Valvoline WD will offer extra resistance to corrosion. Areas such as carburettor linkages and key barrels warrant an extra spray.
Regardless of the season, a generator is an essential tool when a backup power supply is needed. And when the winter months occur, the power generation system must be in excellent condition to maximize its potential. That is why you have to monitor the proper usage and maintenance of the unit to avoid a breakdown that may cos possible losses and delays or cancellation of work.
Make sure your generators are ready for the challenges of the cold winter months. MacGen service team will gladly assist you in the best way we can and we've got extensive parts to prevent your gensets from breaking!