Having a generator is a godsend in times of blackouts and emergencies. It is a quick and easy power source, not just at home but also in the workplace and distant places. No one thinks of having one unless there are blackouts. Getting one is a great addition to your home, RV, or business.
One important thing to know is that buying a generator is one thing, maintaining it is another. A quick search will give you a dizzying amount of various generator types and brands. How would you know which one to choose? How would you maintain them? In this blog, we will cover the maintenance of different types of generators you will find on the market.
Learning to maintain your generator is an important part of owning one. Much of the work is easy and only needs basic hand tools. No matter how expensive the model is, you cannot use the generator if they become broken, and they often do. Improper maintenance shortens its lifespan and will make your generator unserviceable, wasting your money.
Solar Generator Maintenance
Let’s start with solar generators, which are probably the easiest for maintenance. Solar generators are equipped with solar panels that turn sunlight into electricity for your home. They are composed of a power station connected to solar panels. The power station contains the batteries, the electronics, and the outlets in one package. It is excellent in terms of overall durability, as there are no moving parts other than cooling fans, so they will work reliably for years.
There are only a few things in a solar generator to pay attention to. The battery pack in solar generators usually has lithium chemistry. Like the ones in your smartphone, it has a lifespan of up to 5 years before losing significant energy storage capacity. You can prolong the life of your battery pack by using the solar generator often, charging them up to 80% capacity. Try not to deplete the battery and recharge it once it reaches 20% to 10% using a wall outlet or solar panels. Charge it up to 80% capacity when you will not use it for months.
The next thing you must do to take care of your solar generator is to keep them clean. As you know, dust is bad for electronics. Just wipe them with a damp cloth and keep them away from dusty environments, especially in storage. You might as well clean the solar panels to remove debris blocking sunlight. Also, inspect the wires on the charge controller (if there is an access panel) and check for damage or loose connections. See the best travel-friendly solar generators you can bring anywhere, which is good for your RV or business.
Gasoline, Propane, & Dual Generator Maintenance
Let’s talk about the rest of the generators. Maintaining these generators requires more work to keep them running perfectly. There are several types of generators according to their fuel source: diesel, gasoline, propane, dual-fuel, inverter, and solar generators. Diesel generators run on diesel fuel and are often large units that power malls, factories, and warehouses.
Gasoline generators need unleaded gasoline to run and are the most common.The Pulsar portable gasoline generator is pictured above. Propane generators are the ones that burn cooking gas, and it is advantageous because you can power them with the same tank you use to cook food. Propane has a cleaner burn and emits fewer emissions than gasoline and diesel, and you can store them for a long time and not worry about fuel becoming stale. Both types of generators are available in portable models and can be used for homes.
On the other hand, dual-fuel generators (like the Ecoflow model pictured below) can run on both gasoline and propane. Most of them have a switch to select the fuel to be used. These generators are convenient for camping and home use, as they can be run with gasoline or hooked to a propane tank. Now you only need to bring a single fuel source to get power.
Meanwhile, inverter generators (like the Nature’s Generator model pictured below) have an inverter that turns alternating current to direct current and back to AC. Inverters generators reduce engine output and noise when hooked to low-wattage appliances, so they can be quiet and have good fuel efficiency. These generators are all suited for use in homes or small commercial spaces.
These generators have internal combustion engines, and maintenance is quite similar. As with your car, you should check oil levels regularly and do routine oil changes. Most modern generators nowadays use multi-grade engine oil, similar to cars. Regular oil changes prolong the life of the engine. Only use the motor oil type specified in the manual. If they were in storage for a long time, change the oil before using the generator.
The next thing is maintaining the fuel lines since gasoline can become stale and cause problems. Over time, certain chemicals in the fuel cause buildup on the fuel lines and even on the components resulting in gumming up that causes rough running or even failure to start. This often happens when the gasoline becomes old when you store the generator for long periods. A fuel stabilizer keeps the gasoline fresh, and regular use slows down gumming up.
All gasoline and propane-powered generators come with one, two, or more spark plugs, which need replacement over time. The spark plug uses electric current to ignite the compressed air-fuel mixture. A close inspection of the electrodes and the gap will state the condition of your generator. Changing a worn-out spark plug may help solve a misfiring generator engine. Much of the maintenance work in generators requires common hand tools and basic knowledge of how it works. Make sure to keep and refer to the manual.
Generators, whether used frequently or every so often, have crucial parts that need inspection at regular intervals. Check the belts, hoses, and air and fuel filters, and change them when they show cracks and visible signs of wear. Open the fuel cap and use a flashlight to peek at the fuel tank to check for rust and other contaminants. Regardless of the generator you own, do inspect the electrical lines, cords, and plugs, and make sure they are properly grounded and insulated. You can make things easier by making a maintenance checklist on a regular schedule so you will not miss anything.
A generator is a good purchase for your home, RV, or business. You may not appreciate it until power is cut. With a good generator, you now have backup power to power up devices such as CPAP machines, nebulizers, laptops, computers, and power tools. There are several types of generators, which includes traditional gasoline-powered and solar generators, so choose one that will fit your needs.
Regardless of your chosen generator, you will get the best use of them through regular maintenance. Make sure to refer to your manufacturer’s manual for maintenance and troubleshooting. Much of the maintenance work can be done at home with simple tools.Decide which type of generator is best for you by browsing our extensive collection of generators here at Solar Paradise. We have gasoline, propane, dual fuel, inverter, and solar generators. Contact our very helpful and knowledgeable Solar Paradise Customer Support team to get answers to any questions you may have. Make a call and order now!