When it comes to an emergency generator for your home, propane provides an low-maintenance choice. Propane produces less harmful emissions compared to gas and diesel, and it’s easy to store if you purchase the cylinders. Keeping your generator in top shape ensures it will be ready to provide you with heat or electricity when you need it most.
Tip #1: Don’t Let It Idle
Unlike gas and other fuel sources, propane is stable so it can sit indefinitely without going bad or gunking up your generator. This doesn’t mean you should let your generator sit idle for months at a time, though. Starting it up periodically ensures that the motor remains well lubricated and that clogs don’t develop in any of the fuel lines. Running the generator for a short period of time once a month is sufficient to keep most propane generators working smoothly.
Tip #2: Maintain the Fuel Level
Fortunately, propane is often still readily available even during an extended power outage. This is because gas generators are still more common, so a gas shortage usually occurs long before there is a propane shortage.
Even with its availability, it’s still best to keep your generator topped up or to keep extra fuel on hand. In the event of a storm or natural disaster, you may not be able to receive any propane deliveries. Since propane doesn’t degrade, it’s possible to keep your generator full and ready to go at all times.
Tip #3: Keep It Clean
Although the inner workings of the generator are enclosed, the outside of the unit will need regular cleaning. Whether you have a fixed generator or a stand-alone unit, install or store it in a protected location. A generator shed is a common method for keeping it out of the elements.
Wipe down the exterior of the generator with a damp cloth once a month to keep dust out of the works. If you noticed a build up of residue or dirt, remove it with a soft brush. Residue build-up around hoses may indicate a leak, so these will need to be checked out by a generator technician.
Tip #4: Get a Tune-up
Just like a car, a propane generator requires a regular tune-up. Common necessary procedures include:
Oil and filter changes
Spark plug replacements
Air cleaner inspection and air filter replacements
The frequency of these procedures depends on your generator model and how often you use it. For generators used infrequently for emergency purposes, one yearly oil and filter changes, along with the inspection of the air cleaner and spark plugs, are all that’s necessary. If you use the generator regularly, you may need to change the oil more frequently. The owner’s manual will provide specific recommendations. Usually, it will recommend an oil change after a set amount of operational hours.
Although propane fuel isn’t quite as efficient as gas, these generators are generally easier to maintain compared to their gas counterparts. This makes a propane generator the simpler choice for infrequent home use. Contact professionals, such as Redwood Fuel Oil & Propane, for further information.