Maintain generators in case of a storm

Published 7:00 am Friday, June 15, 2018

With the second tropical storm forming in the Gulf of Mexico so far this year, the hurricane season is off to a busy start.

Fortunately for us, the current weather forecasts predict that Invest 91L won’t be much of a threat to Mississippi, but the news that another storm is out there may have us wondering about the functionality of the generators at our homes.

Generators can be a lifesaver, especially after a major storm knocks out power for weeks at a time. They can also be beneficial during short power outages; ensuring food in the refrigerator doesn’t spoil.

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But their relative lack of use the rest of the year means they sit up a lot, a state that is not good for an internal combustion engine.

Just like with your lawnmower and gas powered weedeater, you probably emptied the gasoline out of your generator at the end of last season. This simple task will ensure the ethanol in the gas sold today does not gum up components within the engine. Adding stabilizer to the fuel helps as well. That means you will need to fill the tank on your generator now that hurricane season has begun.

Even after filling the tank, it’s a good idea to have extra gasoline on hand. Because after a major storm hits, most roads and gas stations will be closed leaving you without a means to buy fuel when you need it most.

A tune up will also be beneficial, including an oil change, new spark plugs and new air and oil filters. Keeping extra parts on hand won’t hurt either.

Even if the generator starts, it’s a good idea to test it by plugging something in to see if power is being delivered to the outlets. If not, check for corroded or damaged wires, possibly from rodent activity or just wear and tear. Before conducting that inspection, ensure the generator is off and the spark plug is removed.

While we hope that this season will be another uneventful one, it’s better to be prepared than go without.