A Guide to start a generator that has been sitting for a long time

  • Post last modified:January 16, 2023
  • Reading time:7 mins read

Key Takeaways

  • Conducting a basic check-up, such as checking the oil level, fuel valve, and choke, can help troubleshoot issues with the generator. 
  • Stale fuel can prevent a generator from starting, so it is important to use fresh fuel. 
  • The fuel valve and in-line filter should be checked for clogging, and the choke should be in the proper position. 
  • The ignition coil and spark plug should be in good working condition and free of deposits or build-up.
  • Regular maintenance and running the generator dry after use can help prevent future starting issues.

Are you tired of being in the dark (literally) during a power outage? Do you have a generator that has been sitting idle for far too long, gathering dust and cobwebs? 

Well, have no fear! 

This blog will teach you everything you need to know about how to start a generator that has been sitting for a long time. Just follow our simple steps, and you’ll be back up and running in no time (or at least as long as it takes to pull the cord a few times).

time for new start indicating to start a generator that has been sitting for a long time

What should I do before attempting to start a generator that has been sitting for a long time?

You have to check the following:

  1. Oil Level
  2. Fuel Filter
  3. Battery
  4. Carburetor
  5. Spark Plug
  6. Control & gauge functionality

     

Related: Generator Refuses to Cooperate? Here’s What to Do

 

Oil Level

It’s important to check the oil level in a generator before starting it, especially if the generator has been sitting for a long period of time. If the oil level is low, the engine may not receive sufficient lubrication, which can cause it to seize or fail. On the other hand, if the oil level is too high, it can cause the engine to malfunction or even catch fire.

 

Fuel Filter

A fuel filter in the fuel line protects the generator’s engine from dirt, debris, and other contaminants. A dirty or clogged fuel filter can prevent fuel from reaching the engine, which could prevent the generator from starting or making it run inefficiently & may also cause backfiring. If a generator has been sitting for a while, you shouldn’t try to start until you’ve ensured the fuel filter is clean and in good working order.

 

Battery

A battery is commonly used to power the electric starter on many types of generators. When the key is turned or the start button is pressed, an electric starter on the motor is activated, which spins the engine’s crankshaft and gets it running. 

A weak or dead battery will not provide enough energy to turn on the starter motor and start the engine. For this, it is important to check the battery if your generator is sitting for a long period of time.

 

Clean Carburetor

If a generator has been sitting for a long time, dirt, debris, or varnish from old fuel can build up in the carburetor and stop it from working. This can make it hard or impossible to start the generator because the carburetor might not work right. Cleaning the carburetor can help get rid of any gunk that has built up, making it easier to start the generator. 

A dirty carburetor can also make the engine run poorly or inefficiently, so cleaning it can help the generator run better overall. If your generator won’t start after sitting for a long time and you’re having trouble, cleaning the carburetor may be a good way to fix it.

 

Spark Plug

A spark plug is a small electrical device that generates a spark when voltage is applied. Most generators have an internal combustion engine that runs on fuel & the spark plug provides spark to the fuel to start the engine. 

Roughly a spark plug last up to 100 hours of operation. When trying to restart a generator after a long period of inactivity, it is prudent to first ensure that the spark plug is in good working order.

 

Control and gauge functionality

Before turning on a generator after an extended period of inactivity, it is essential to verify that all controls and gauges are in working order. This is because the generator’s functionality depends on the accuracy and reliability of its controls and gauges, and if they break down, the generator might not work. 

For example, if a generator has an auto shut-down feature & if the control panel is not functioning properly, then it will not shut off when it is supposed to. 

By thoroughly checking the control and gauge functionality before starting the generator, you can ensure that the generator is operating safely and efficiently.

 

FAQs

No, you can’t. Over time, gasoline can break down and become less stable, which can cause it to gum up the fuel system and potentially damage the engine. Additionally, old gas can often have a lower octane rating, which can cause the engine to run poorly or even fail.

You can do the followings:

  1. Use the generator regularly 
  2. Store the generator properly in a dry, well-ventilated area 
  3. Cover the generator to protect it from the elements 
  4. Perform regular maintenance, including checking and changing the oil and replacing the spark plugs 
  5. Use a fuel stabilizer to prevent the fuel from breaking down 
  6. Run the generator periodically to keep it in good working condition