FAQ: Winter Weather Generator Care

At this time of year, winter storms can bring strong, possibly damaging winds, heavy snowfall, significant icing and coastal flooding. We’ve put together a list of FAQs to help homeowners ensure their generators are ready for severe winter weather and impending power outages.

 

Q:  Do I need to clear the snow from the intake and exhaust vents?

A:  YES – It is essential for generator cooling.  Permanent damage is possible if the unit overheats.


Q:  How do I manually “power off” the generator set?

A:  Open the generator hood or access door and flip the circuit breaker to the “off” position (you’ll find the breaker near the digital controller). This shuts off power to the house (the load). It’s a good idea to run the generator with no load for 2-5 minutes. Then press the “off” button on the controller.


Q:  How long can my generator run before I need to check the oil?

A:  We recommend checking the oil level after every 8-24 hours of operation, depending on the size and model of the generator. Oil change and filter change frequency and other routine maintenance varies per model, especially during periods of extended power outage. Check the Operation Manual included with your generator for a complete list of required maintenance procedures and schedules.


Q:  How do I check the engine oil?

A:  (1) Power off the generator and let the engine sit for two minutes to settle the oil. Pull the dipstick from the back of the engine and wipe with a clean rag. Insert the dipstick back into the dipstick tube and pull it out. Note the crosshatching on the end of the dipstick, from “F” (Full) to “L” (Low), and see where the oil level falls. Add oil if the dipstick indicates that the oil level is low.

(2) Locate the yellow oil-access cap on the front of the engine (look for the oil can icon). Add a few ounces of oil, then recheck the oil level by inserting and removing the dipstick. Add oil until the level is near “F.” Do not overfill the engine.

(3) When you’re finished adding oil, make sure the dipstick and oil access cap are securely in place. Push the AUTO button to place the generator back in standby mode. If the utility power is still out, the generator will start within three seconds. After the generator starts, move the circuit breaker to the ON position so the generator is now supplying power to the house.

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