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Your Generator: The Essential Safe Storage Checklist

March 2, 2022

When you purchased your portable generator, you either filled it up with gasoline and oil to give it a test run or you waited until you actually needed it. Once you tested it or used it the first time, you probably put it away and moved on. 

Has a month or more passed since you put your generator away? If so, the gas left in the carburetor can start to go bad. Gasoline that has not been treated with fuel stabilizer can gum up the carburetor creating blockages that will affect the engine’s performance. 

Blockage warning signs to watch for: 

  • You’re only able to run the machine on choke.
  • Surging.
  • Your generator won’t start at all.

When an outage occurs, you pull your generator out of storage, trusting it to get your lights back on, keep your food from spoiling, and heat or cool your home. What if it doesn’t work? What then? 

If your generator was stored improperly, it may not be able to come through for you. 

Just like your generator, your log splitter, snow blower, and other gasoline-powered products need to be stored properly. Whether you need to keep the power on, split logs to stay warm during cold days and nights, or clear snow after a heavy winter storm, it’s important to keep the fuel fresh in any of your gasoline-powered products so they’re ready to go when you are.

Take a little bit of extra time now and go through this safe storage checklist to ensure your peace of mind later.

Use the Right Type of Fuel: We recommend unleaded gasoline with an ethanol content of 10% or less. It’s perfectly fine to use 85 to 91 octane fuels. The difference between them won’t be noticeable. Using non-ethanol fuel is beneficial since it reduces fuel storage issues. Visit www.Pure-Gas.org to find a station that offers this kind of fuel. 

Add Fuel Stabilizer: Storing your generator without the addition of fuel stabilizer means the gasoline can go bad within a month, causing major problems. Using fuel stabilizer can help extend the gasoline’s lifespan for up to 24 months. If you do have older fuel sitting in the carburetor, we recommend that you run it at least once a month for about 15 minutes to prevent any older fuel from corroding it. You can get stabilizers at your local auto parts store or online. 

Clean or Replace Your Carburetor: Bad fuel produces debris that prevents fuel from flowing the way it should. If your generator has been stored improperly with gasoline in the fuel tank or carburetor, all the fuel must be drained and the carburetor has to be cleaned to remove the debris and clear up blockages so you can use your generator safely. 

Want to skip the cleaning process? Replace your unit’s carburetor and your generator will fire right up. 

If you did store your generator properly by draining the fuel tank and carburetor according to your owner’s manual, great! You have a much easier job ahead of you. 

Removal from Storage: Take your generator out of storage and place it outside. 

Add Fresh Fuel: The first thing you’ll need to do is add fresh, regular octane fuel. Make sure you don’t overfill the tank so you can allow for fuel expansion. 

Check for Fuel Leaks: Next, you’re going to want to check for fuel leaks. Make sure your engine switch is off, then, turn your fuel valve on. Wait five minutes and then check the carburetor and air filter areas for leaks. If you do happen to discover a leak, you’ll need to disassemble your carburetor to clean it or replace it. 

Check the Oil: If you don’t find any leaks, you can go ahead and turn your fuel valve to off, use a dipstick to check the oil level, and add fresh oil if necessary.

Check the Air Filter: Next, take a look at your air filter and make sure there are no obstructions like bugs or cobwebs. Remove any obstructions you find and clean and replace the air filter according to your owner’s manual.     

That’s it! 

Fresh fuel, no leaks, fresh oil, clean air filter, and you’re good to go.

The next time you’re ready to store your generator, log splitter, snow blower, or other gasoline-powered product, resist the urge to just put it away quickly because you have other things to do. During an emergency, you may not have the luxury of time to complete this checklist properly.

Take the time now to do it right, and you’ll save yourself time and hassle later. Your future self will thank you!