This past weekend many of us pulled our generators out of storage and hoped like heck that when we pulled the cord or pushed the button the engine would fire up and there would be electricity to help us weather the storm. For a lot of us in Acadiana, there were no issues with power so that means the exercise in the filling, testing, tuning, and running the generator was simply that, an exercise.

Now that the apparent danger has passed many of us will be putting our generators back into storage. Now, if you’re like me, and had a difficult time getting your generator to crank for this most recent storm then you’ll want to pay attention to the following steps.

Apparently, the way you put up your generator and store it between uses has a lot to do with how easy it will crank the next time. Which, since you never know when an afternoon thunderstorm will knock out power to our area, it’s always a good idea to be ready for the next time.

The most widely debated topic on generator storage concerns fuel. Should you empty the tank or is it okay to store fuel in the tank? The best answer to that question will come down to how long do you intend to store the unit without using it. For long-term storage, which for South Louisiana, usually equates to the winter months and most of the spring, okay any time that is not hurricane season, you should remove the fuel.

You can remove the fuel by simply letting the generator run until it is on empty or you can siphon the gas out of the tank. Certainly, the easier method is to just run the darn thing but if you don’t mind the taste of unleaded on your lips you can do the siphon thing.

Another option to fuel storage is to keep the fuel in the generator but for long storage periods, you will want to add a fuel stabilizer. Those products are available at most automotive and outdoor gear shops and they will help protect the fuel in the tank and the mechanism of the generator that is touched by that fuel.

Just like your lawnmower, you need to clean your generator after every use. You’ll want to wipe it down to remove any excess moisture or debris that may have been attracted to your unit. You’ll also want to wipe down the motor and exposed surfaces too. This helps prevent corrosion or rust and it will also allow you to easily spot a leak in a fuel or oil line when you bring the unit back out for its next use.

Don’t forget to check the air filters and air intake slots as well. If you were running your generator during a high wind there is a possibility that leaves or other debris could have been blown into those systems on your generator unit. Again, if you’re putting your generator away for long-term storage, you might want to go ahead and clean the air filter or any other filter that you can. Just so your unit will operate more easily the next time you need it.

The bottom line for better cranking next time is to take a few extra minutes this time. I know I learned my lesson.

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