How To Store a Generator When Not in Use?

Generators are a must-have in homes and offices as they provide backup power during power outages. Generators are expensive machinery that needs to be properly stored for optimal performance and extending its lifespan. Whether you have a portable generator or a standby unit, it is important to know how to store it safely when not in use. It would help ensure its health, durability, and functionality is not compromised in the long run.  

Generator Storage for Short-Term or Long-Term

If you are not going to be using your generator for a while, you need to prepare it for storage. The preparation strategy and the storage method will depend on how long you intend to store it. 

Short Term Generator Storage

If your generator needs to be stored for just a few days or a few weeks, preparation for its storage is fairly simple. It will save you from the hurdles of emptying the fuel tank or cleaning it thoroughly before storage. All you have to do is place it in a clean, cool, and well-ventilated place. 

Long Term Generator Storage

Generator storage for the long term will need a bit of preparation on your part. Go through the instruction/owner’s manual to learn more about how to clean the generator thoroughly. Every generator model will have specific recommendations that should be followed before they are kept away for long term storage. These steps are – 

·         Step 1 – Thorough Cleaning

The generator must be thoroughly cleaned using a moist cloth. Disconnect the generator from any power source before you start cleaning. Inspect the unit for any fuel leak and remove all dirt debris on it. Don’t forget to clean the small parts like the engine controls, muffler, cooling air slots, springs and carburetor. 

·         Step 2 – Professional Servicing

You can also have your generator professionally serviced to ensure it is in tip-top condition and performs optimally when used later on. The professionals will tune-up the generator and clean it thoroughly before you put it into storage.

·         Step 3 – Fuel

One of the essential steps to storing your generator is to shield the fuel inside it. Depending on the amount of fuel inside the generator, you can choose from the two options. One is to empty the tank, and another is to add a stabilizer to extend the fuel’s life. If you’re unsure how to do it yourself, taking the help of a professional may come in handy. 

The Best Places to Store Your Generator

Once you have prepared your generator for storage, the next thing you need to think about is where you should keep the generator. You will want your generator to be protected and safe during storage. It should also be easily accessible during emergencies. Some of the best generator storage solutions are –

  • Garage – Garages are one of the most popular spots for people to store their generators. A garage offers optimal protection to the generator from outside elements, provides a temperature-controlled environment, and is easily accessible.  
  • Outdoor Shed – For people who do not want to store the generator away from home, an outdoor shed would is a great option. However, it is not ideal during the winters as cold weather can damage the generator or interfere with its performance.
  • Generator Enclosures – Generator closures are an excellent option for those looking for something midway between a garage and an outdoor shed. It allows you to keep your generator outside the garage and protect it from moisture, debris, dirt and is well-ventilated too.

Can You Store Your Generator Inside Your House?

Most homeowners do not prefer to store generators inside the house as it is highly risky, especially if gasoline is in the generator. You might think that storing the generator in the basement might be safe, but it is not always the case. The closest you would want the generator to be is your garage. Apart from fire risk, generators also produce harmful emissions that leave a potent gas smell in the surrounding. The smell it emits will linger around the house for a while and will surely be off-putting. Apart from being a health hazard, you don’t want a generator to be around, especially if you have kids at home.

How Long Can You Store Gas in Your Generator?

It is important to know how to store your generator properly, and one of the main reasons for it is its fuel. Every generator brand and model is different, so the time frame as to how long you can safely store gas in it will differ. You need to periodically inspect the generator in storage to ensure it is still safe. If you notice that the gas is separating (ethanol separates and sinks to the bottom), you should not use the generator anymore and call in for professional assistance. 

Other signs of fuel contamination to look out for include gum formation, deposits in the fuel, oxidation signs, and varnishes. The longer you keep the contaminated fuel in the generator, the more harm it inflicts. Typically, fuel can last in a generator for about a year, but it is not always the case as sometimes it gets contaminated in just over a month. Climate, storage conditions, and generator brand play a huge role in this regard. One way to keep your fuel in the generator for longer is to use a stabilizer to avoid the fuel tank from getting corroded.  

How to Use a Fuel Stabilizer?

The main objective of using a fuel stabilizer is to prevent fuel from separating, and it also absorbs water. It extends the amount of time you can keep the generator’s fuel without clogging the engine or cause corrosion. It acts as an anti-oxidizing agent and prevents rusting of the gas tank. Depending on the weather condition, quality stabilizers can protect gas in the generator for over a year. 

Final Thoughts

Storing your generator properly when not in use may seem like a complex process but is fairly simple once you get the hang of it. A generator is not always needed, so it is important to store it properly for it to come to your rescue when you need it. Following the tips, methods, and solutions discussed above would help you extend your generator’s lifespan considerably while ensuring it functions just like brand new.