How to store your portable generator
Are you thinking about storing your generator but you are not sure where to start? I have great news for you! Our team here at Generatorist has helped thousands of people find information about generators and we will help you as well.
We are going to give you the step-by-step guide to both the short-term as well as long-term storage. Let’s begin.
Before we get to the actual tips, there is one thing we want to emphasize first.
If your machine is build to run on ethanol-free gasoline (see the Owner´s Manual), then always try to refuel your generator with it as ethanol can separate from the fuel over a long-term storage period and damage your engine and fuel lines.
Although this fuel is more expensive, it will save you a lot of troubles in the long run.
The short-term storage is pretty simple. Basically, all you need to do is just a basic cleaning and maintenance routine, that includes:
- Dusting off the machine
- Cleaning any dirt and debris
- Removing old grease and grime
- Inspecting your unit (look for loose bolts or fried wires)
- Topping up your fuel tank after your generator cools off
Basically, if you know that you are going to use your machine within the next 30 days, then you don’t need to do anything extra. Just do the basic maintenance you should be doing after each use anyways.
If you need to store your unit for more than 30 days though, then read the guide below.
If you are planning to store your unit for a longer period of time (over one month), then you should follow a different procedure. Although this one is a little bit more complicated, it’s not something that a skilled handyman couldn´t do.
All you need to do is to follow these steps:
- Clean your unit thoroughly – Dust of the machine and clean any dirt and debris with a soft bristle brush. Also, remove old grease and grime that may have accumulated on the surface with a clean cloth and a degreaser.
- Inspect your generator – Take your time to look for anything that seems out of ordinary.
Look for any loose or frayed wires; rusty, corroded, or damaged parts; and loose or missing bolts. Consult anything that seems out of ordinary with a professional serviceman.
- Drain your fuel tank – Bring your unit into a well ventilated area. Close a manual fuel shutoff valve. Use a siphon pump to completely drain your fuel tank and store your gas in an appropriate gas can. Add fuel stabilizer into it if you are not going to use that gas within couple of weeks. Don’t forget to close the lid on the fuel tank on your generator after you drain it.
- Drain your carburetor – This step is pretty simple. Just take your generator outside and start it. Let it run until it stops from the lack of fuel. This will burn off any remaining fuel that may be left in your fuel lines.
- Add oil into the cylinder – The last step you should do before storing your generator for a longer period of time is to turn off your machine and disconnect the spark plug wire. Then, you need to remove the spark plug and add around 0.5 oz (2-3 teaspoons) of new engine oil into the cylinder. After you add the oil, you need to cover that opening by a clean rug (to capture any oil that could spray out) and pull your generator´s recoil starter a few times to distribute the oil around the piston rings and cylinder bore. After you are done, you can reinstall the spark plug and reconnect the wire.
- Store it in a dry, cool place – If you have done everything right, you can store your unit in a dry, cool place. It is best to store it far away from any actual or even potential source of fire or heat. Do not forget to buy a weather-resistant cover to protect your unit from elements.
If you decide to ignore our advice and store your unit with the fuel inside your generator, then top up your fuel tank according to the instruction in the Owner´s Manual and treat your fuel with a stabilizer to prevent the corrosion and clogging.
Also, don’t forget to let your unit run for a while to burn off any untreated fuel that may be left in the carburetor or fuel lines and top up your gas tank again.
As you can see, the main difference between the short term and a long term storage is the draining of fuel out of your machine and adding short amounts of oil into the cylinders. If you are planning to store your unit for a longer period of time, we recommend doing a complete tune-up of your generator as well.
Doing this will make sure your unit is ready to serve the moment you need it.
handyman, loves science
Our aim here at Generatorist is to become the nr. 1 resource to all things related to generators. We helped over 200,000 visitors with our tips and advice and we will help you as well.
Our work has been featured in many publications worldwide. If you have any questions about generators, feel free to leave a comment below our articles and we will get back to you.