OK. So we’re not small engine mechanics but after three years of not having city or county utilities, we’ve gotten to know The Generator pretty well.
That’s because we run the shit out of them.
We have solar also but our system is 1200 watts and it’s limited in the off-seasons. During the summer, however, the sun runs EVERYTHING.
The rest of the year we use generators: small ones, big ones, efficient ones, gas guzzling monsters for the 220 volt jobs, loud ones, quiet ones, two strokers, 1500 watt ones, 3700 watt ones, orange ones, green ones, generators from Walmart, gens from North 40.
We got ’em all in a generator graveyard behind our shed, but not before we go through the “keep ’em alive” checklist before one or the other finally kicks the bucket:
- check the oil when it’s shut down and the oil is in the pan, and do oil changes
- spark plug – pull it out and clean the gap with sandpaper or get a new one. They get carbon deposits on them.
- fuel filter – if it has one. I’ve never seen a generator with a fuel filter but I guess they exist. Replace if it has one?
- air filter – wash and dry it if it’s soaked with oil and/or dust.
- spark arrester at the exhaust – yes, this can impair airflow through an internal combustion system. Remove it and clean it regularly.
- check that the gas doesn’t have water in it. You can add a product called Heat, which gets water out of gas but I can’t say how effectively. You can always drain the tank and refill with good gas.
- the carburetor gets mucked up with hundreds of hours of usage and might need to be cleaned. We take it to a shop for this or, to keep things running in the interim, spray carb cleaner directly into the butterfly port while the engine’s running. It’ll bog it down temporarily then recover.
I’ve probably forgotten something, but there you go. If all else fails, buy a new one and retire the old one to the graveyard or sell it on Craigslist for repair.
We may not be able to fix them after a certain point but there are people out there who can.