All You Need To Know To Winterize Your Generator
One of the most important things to do this winter is prepare your generator for the cold. If you’re unsure of where to begin, follow our guide. Once you learn all you need to know to winterize your generator, start making preparations now so that your generator is ready.
Why Should You Winterize Your Generator?
It’s essential to winterize your generator. The generator is your primary source of backup power that keeps electronics and essential appliances running. However, if you don’t take care of this device beforehand, you could end up without it during a power outage.
You want to winterize your generator to extend your engine’s lifespan and avoid dealing with the hard effects of winter weather. Keep your generator running smoothly by doing daily maintenance and prepping it before snow falls.
Can the Generator Stay Outside in Winter?
If your generator sits outside without a cover, rain and snow could damage it. Place your generator in a storage unit or under a cover; the cover should be waterproof and easy to remove for maintenance checks.
How To Winterize Your Generator
It’s essential to have a guide that shows you how to winterize your generator properly. Here are the things you should be doing now to prepare for the snowy days ahead.
Look Over the Owner’s Manual
The first step is to look at your owner’s manual to see if the manufacturer recommends any unique steps before you place the generator inside its cover or store it for winter. Every brand and model is different, so the manual information differs for everyone. If there’s ever something you’re confused about or think the manual fails to explain, reach out to your manufacturer.
Keep the Battery Warm and Charged
Depending on your battery type, you might have issues with running the generator in the winter. A lead-based battery runs less than its standard capacity in chilly weather, so you should ensure it has a full charge before running the generator. Otherwise, you should opt for a bigger battery for better power.
You can use a warming blanket to keep the battery warm. A warming blanket is a cover that easily slips onto your generator, granting you better temperature control. You will need to connect this heated blanket to a power source for it to function.
Switch Out Your Oil
Why do you need to switch oils, and couldn’t you use your old oil? While it would be great to reuse the oil, this choice is not suitable for your generator. You must change the oil every 100 hours of use to prevent engine part failure. Oil burns up fast, so refilling it entirely with fresh oil relubricates the machine’s inner parts.
Switching from the regular oil to a winter grade protects your gear from freezing in the cold. The winter-grade oil is thinner, which helps the generator run longer. Opting for thinner oils around wintertime is perfect if you expect to use the generator often.
Clean the Generator
The generator is your main line for backup power, so leaving it dirty and riddled with dirt and debris creates more problems.
If you don’t have time to clean it yourself, hire a professional to clean the generator for you. If you want to do it yourself, follow these steps.
- Inspect the generator thoroughly. This step includes removing the base and inspecting your battery, tubing, power, and dust. After you check the machine, write down everything you need to fix, clean, or replace.
- Ensure the fluid levels and pressure for the fuel have an even distribution. You’ll need to flush your system if the oil appears dirty or fails to come out.
- Check the spark plugs—you still need to do this in the winter, so ensure the plugs are in a dry area as you inspect them. If there are signs of carbon buildup or residue, clean it with a wire brush or a specialty spark plug cleaner.
Run the Generator Regularly
The best way to know if your generator has any problems—including internally—is to run it. If your generator hums, makes a cranking noise, or delays, you need to fix the generator. You should perform this step regularly so that you know if there are problems before winter.
Can You Protect the Generator From Water?
It’s never OK to get a generator wet. If it becomes wet while running, the moisture could cause significant internal damage, especially to your outlets. Fortunately, you can waterproof your generator by taking the right precautions.
If you live in an area that always has damp ground, you could benefit significantly by placing the generator on a cement pad. Afterward, place a storage cover on your generator. Investing in a cover ensures the generator and outlet cords don’t get wet.
Signs To Look for if Your Generator Doesn’t Start in the Winter
Not knowing the signs of a damaged generator can cause more problems. Issues can stem from a variety of things, such as remaining dirt or used oil. Either way, you need to know why your generator might not work in the winter to make repairs and return to using this crucial device.
There’s No Gas
Sometimes not having gas is the culprit. If your gas tank is empty or there’s old oil still inside the tank, replace it with fresh oil. Fresh oil relubricates the engine, giving the generator less work.
The Spark Plug Shows Damage
Your generator may not start because of spark plug damage. Typically, damage stems from carbon buildup, which indicates the connection part is weak. Replace your spark plugs once you notice dark, soft deposits on your spark plugs.
Your Electronics Are Overheating and Causing Power Outages
If you have power outages often, your generator may be the problem. Before powering it on, you should unplug all electronics, appliances, and anything else requiring electricity, as they can overpower the generator.
What Happens to My Generator if I Disregard These Signs?
If you neglect to do anything about the warning signs, there are many things that could go awry due to your generator’s potential failure. While a power outage is a problem enough, the issues that follow can be more extensive.
- There could be a delay in the generator’s start time.
- Your computer system could go down.
- You may need to shut down for the day if you run a business.
- Everything in the freezer and refrigerator spoils.
As you prepare your home or business for winter, you should consider installing a propane backup generator. It’s a terrific addition to have in case of power outages. Our customer reps at Our Generators are ready to discuss all you need to know about winterizing your generator, including any questions or concerns you want us to address. We’re always looking to help, so reach out to us!