Friday, October 12, 2012

Generator test day

In light of my generator's difficulties during the last power failure, difficulties which were attributed to poor maintenance by me, I hauled it out and gave it a test-run today. It was a bit slow to start until I treated it to a taste of starting fluid, and then it fired right up and ran without a hiccup for fifteen minutes. At the end of the test, I shut it down by turning off the fuel flow from the tank, starving it out and ensuring that the carburetor float bowl doesn't wind up full of gas or that the gas doesn't trickle down through the carb into the cylinder and eventually into the oil sump as happened before when I left the fuel flow open and let it set for several months. No gas in the oil this time though, and it started and ran great. This is supposed to be a cold, hard winter per the weather experts, and I for one don't plan to get caught powerless if and when the electric goes out courtesy of the first ice storm that comes along.

How about you, fellow generator owners? When's the last time that you ran yours up, either to use it or just to make sure that it still starts? Test them now, or roll the dice later...


  1. I have been testing mine every other week.....though my set up is a Miller Bobcat Welder with on board 10kw generator. I do occasionally do some welding, but have it ready, by the main panel outside ready to hook up. It is an electric start motor, and had found that over time of not running, the battery would die down. I have installed a battery maintainer to keep the charge up for when it is needed.

    Eventually after other things get caught up, I will be investing in solar apparatus.

  2. Mine's a little Honda EU2000i, and I run it every three months or so. I keep StaBil in the gas and the gas can, and never have more than a couple of gallons on hand. It always starts on the first pull, and it's big enough to run the fridge and freezer for our food.
    It's mostly for my portable Amateur Radio operations when I need more oomph than my 100AHr gel cell and 200 Watt solar panels can provide.

  3. You are ahead of me Murph! I have not gotten around to installing the transfer switch yet.

  4. Sigh. I suppose I should check the kerosene supply.

  5. Oh crap. I knew there was something I forgot to do.

  6. you might also want to set the piston to top dead center so that the exhaust and intake valves are both closed, preventing moisture from getting into the cylinder. Gas stabilizer is a good idea too.

    I run my generator about twice a month to supplement solar power (we live in Africa), to top up the batteries or if we're doing something with a heavy draw on the system.

  7. Stabi. Or Pr-G. Either will keep the gas good for about a year.

    Otherwise empty the entire tank.

    And rotate your stored gas every 6 months or so.

    How much gas do you keep on hand?


  8. I start and run the generator when I switch out the lawn mower and snowblower - twice each year along with the gasoline supply.

    Treat the gasoline with Stabil and Marvel Mystery Oil per instructions.

    Run the generator and the snowblower for about 15 or 20 minutes. They both recommend a full tank to start so after running them a while I siphon off most of the remaining gas back into the gas can(s) and let the engine consume the rest.

    I have a small 2500 max watts inverter generator. Enough to run the refrigerators a couple times a day and recharge anything that needs recharging. It will run about 8 or 9 hours on a gallon.

    Will probably upgrade to a larger unit and xfer switch when I redo the aged kitchen and the breaker box but I am ambivalent about "whole house" backup. I would, however, like to be able to run the furnace if necessary although I have a fireplace and space heater.

  9. One thing nobody has commented on, is dual-fuel or tri-fuel operation.
    I can get a conversion kit to run my little Honda EU2000i on propane, but it's an either/or situation between propane and gas. The carb on it is just too small to be dual-fuel capable. Most of the larger sized generators have conversion kits that allow you to select gasoline, propane, or natural gas for fuel.

  10. My wife and I have a 4200 watt, 8 HP, generator. We use the fuel stabilizer from a boating supplys store and run synthetic oil with a fuel change yearly. Test run twice yearly under electric heater, or hair dryer, load.
    Just, and I mean moments ago, finished adding electric start. Waiting for wife to come home so we can do dramatic first electric start together.

    John In Philadelphia