For those who will feel the effects of extreme cold over the next few months, we highly recommend ensuring that your Generac products are prepared for the looming winter weather. If you do not plan on utilizing a portable or stationary product this winter season, performing any long-term storage or maintenance-related tasks is recommended to keep your unit safely stored until the next time it’s put to use. Following these tips will keep your product safe during the winter, so that it’s ready to operate when warmer weather returns in spring.
To avoid engine problems, the fuel system should be emptied before storage of 30 days or longer. In an outdoor setting, drain fuel in an approved container and away from an open flame (do not smoke in the vicinity or light a cigarette). Be sure to only do this when the engine is cool. Once the fuel has been removed through the use of an automatic style siphon, start and run the engine until it stops from a lack of fuel. If emptying the fuel tank is not practical, add a commercially available fuel stabilizer to the gasoline to increase the life of the gasoline—do not store untreated gasoline from one season to the next.
After adding a fuel stabilizer or running the generator, allow the engine to cool, and drain oil from the unit’s crankcase. Then refill the crankcase with 5W-30 synthetic oil; 5W-30 is the optimal option for freezing temperatures. Be sure to check your unit’s owner’s manual to ensure that alternative oil is not required.
Another important aspect of preparing a portable generator for long-term storage is lubricating the piston rings and cylinder bore. To do so, remove the unit’s spark plug and pour about ½ ounce (15 ml) of engine oil into the cylinder. Then cover the spark plug hole with a rag. Next, pull the recoil starter a couple of times to provide the proper lubrication; it is important to avoid spray from the spark plug hole when cranking the unit’s engine. Once lubricated, re-install and tighten the spark plug—do not connect the spark plug wire.
Once the aforementioned steps have been performed, clean the generator’s outer surfaces. Ensure that cooling air slots and openings are open and unobstructed. If possible, the unit should be covered and stored indoors to keep it warm and away from dust and dirt; any cover that does not retain moisture would be suitable for storage use. Never cover the generator while the engine and exhaust area are warm.
If your product features a battery, it must be charged at least once every 30 days (for no longer than 48 hours), even if you don’t plan on using the product for the next few months.
Automatic Standby Generators
While automatic standby generators require maintenance for the winter season, they do not require storage prep, as they are permanently installed and should be set to run whenever an outage occurs. Considering this, we recommend that you change the unit’s oil to 5W-30 synthetic if you have not done so already. If your unit is new, however, please know that SAE 30 conventional oil should be used for the duration of the unit’s break-in period prior to changing to an alternative oil option.
In regards to maintaining the generator when inclement weather hits, we recommend keeping the unit clear of snowfall on all sides, including the top of the unit. At least 5 feet of clearance should be provided at all times. Failure to do so can cause the unit to overheat and may jeopardize the functionality of the generator.
Check that the battery is not low or dead to ensure the unit is prepared to operate when the next outage occurs. If a battery is too low or completely dead, it may not take a charge and will need to be replaced. Also, follow the unit’s scheduled maintenance requirements for product use in the winter months. For a complete breakdown of the maintenance required for your home standby generator, we recommend referring to the Maintenance section of the product’s owner’s manual. If you no longer have access to this documentation, a duplicate copy can be obtained online, or by calling us directly at 888-GENERAC (436-3722) with the serial number of your generator.