How to store a generator

Like most homeowners, you probably wouldn’t think twice about storing a generator in your backyard. After all, generators are usually small and light enough to carry around.

But safety is always a consideration.

How to store a generator when not in use?

When you are finished using your generator, it is essential to properly store it to ensure that it will be in good condition the next time you need it. But it depends on two factors: long-term storage & short-term storage.

Some pro tips of storing generator in winter, summer & rainy season

Short-term generator storage

Here are five professional steps to ensure your generator is stored safely and effectively:

1. Choose a suitable location

First, find a dry, well-ventilated, and easily accessible area to store your generator. This space should be sheltered from direct sunlight, rain, and extreme temperature fluctuations.

Avoid storing the generator near any flammable materials, as well as in living spaces to prevent accidental exposure to exhaust fumes.

2. Clean the generator

Before storing, make sure to clean the generator thoroughly. Wipe down the exterior with a damp cloth to remove any dirt, dust, or grime.

Inspect the air filter, and if it’s dirty, clean or replace it as needed. This helps ensure the generator is in optimal condition for the next use.

3. Drain fuel or use a fuel stabilizer

If you plan to store the generator for more than a month, it’s a good idea to drain the fuel completely from the tank and the carburetor to prevent gumming and varnish buildup.

If you prefer not to drain the fuel, add a fuel stabilizer to the tank and run the generator for a few minutes to circulate the stabilizer throughout the system. This will help keep the fuel fresh and prevent potential damage to the engine.

4. Disconnect the battery

For generators with electric starters, it’s important to disconnect the battery to prevent it from discharging over time.

To do this, first, remove the negative battery cable, followed by the positive cable. Consider using a trickle charger to maintain the battery’s charge while it’s disconnected.

5. Protect your generator

Finally, cover your generator with a breathable, water-resistant cover or tarp to protect it from dust and moisture. Make sure the cover allows for proper airflow to prevent condensation buildup, which can lead to corrosion or other damage.

Long-term generator storage

On the other hand, you need to follow some extra steps for long-term generator storage. If you have a solar generator, then you don’t need to follow these steps. You can keep your solar generator as it is.

1. Perform a thorough inspection

Before storing your generator for an extended period, inspect it for any signs of wear, damage, or leaks. Pay close attention to hoses, gaskets, and seals.

Addressing any issues now will help prevent further complications and ensure your generator is ready for use when needed. This step is crucial for maintaining the generator’s overall health and reliability.

2. Change the engine oil

Changing the engine oil and filter is important for long-term storage, as used oil can contain contaminants that may cause corrosion and reduce engine performance.

Fresh oil provides better protection and lubrication for the engine’s internal components. This action is essential for preserving the generator’s efficiency and prolonging its lifespan.

3. Lubricate moving parts

Apply a light coat of lubricant to all moving parts, such as the pull starter and throttle linkage, to protect against rust and corrosion.

Lubrication also helps ensure smooth operation and reduces friction, minimizing wear on components over time. This step is vital for maintaining the generator’s functionality and ease of use.

4. Protect the fuel system

For long-term storage, it’s best to drain the fuel completely from the tank and carburetor. Alternatively, you can fill the tank with fresh fuel and add a fuel stabilizer, running the generator for a few minutes to circulate the treated fuel.

This prevents gumming, varnish buildup, and ethanol-related issues in the fuel system. Proper fuel system care is crucial for maintaining engine performance and avoiding costly repairs.

5. Seal openings

Cover or plug any openings, such as the exhaust outlet and air intake, to prevent pests or debris from entering the generator during storage.

Use breathable materials or plugs designed specifically for this purpose to allow for proper airflow and moisture control. This action helps protect the generator’s internal components from damage and contamination.

6. Store the generator on an elevated surface

Place the generator on a raised surface, like a pallet or wooden blocks, to keep it off the ground and away from moisture.

This prevents potential rust, corrosion, or other moisture-related issues that could affect the generator’s performance or structural integrity. Elevating the generator is important for preserving its condition and ensuring reliable operation.

7. Regularly inspect and maintain the generator

Even during long-term storage, it’s essential to periodically check the generator’s condition. Inspect it for any signs of damage, corrosion, or pest infestation, and address any issues immediately.

Perform maintenance tasks, such as battery charging and lubrication, as needed. Regular care and inspection help prevent unexpected issues and ensure your generator is ready for use when required.

How to store a generator in winter

If you live in an area that gets cold winters, it is important to winterize your generator before the cold weather hits.

Winterizing a generator helps protect it from the cold weather and keeps it running properly all winter long. Here are a few tips on how to winterize a generator:

  • Clean the generator: Remove any dirt, dust, and debris from the generator’s exterior using a soft cloth or brush. Ensure that the air filter, cooling fins, and other components are also clean.
  • Drain the fuel: Most generators have a fuel shut-off valve. Close this valve and allow the generator to run until it stops, indicating that the fuel has been used up from the carburetor. If your generator does not have a shut-off valve, you can drain the fuel from the tank manually. This will help prevent gumming or varnishing of the carburetor due to stale fuel.
  • Add fuel stabilizer: If you choose to store the generator with fuel in the tank, add a fuel stabilizer to the remaining fuel according to the manufacturer’s instructions. This will help prevent the fuel from degrading over time.
  • Change the oil: Before storing your generator, perform an oil change to remove any contaminants or impurities. Make sure to use the recommended oil type and viscosity for your generator.
  • Remove the battery: If your generator has a battery for an electric start, disconnect it and store it in a cool, dry place. Charge the battery periodically to maintain its capacity.
  • Protect against moisture: Place moisture-absorbing material, such as silica gel packets, near the generator to help reduce moisture-related damage

Is it okay to leave gas in a generator?

There is a debate on this topic. Some say yes & some say no. But the honest answer depends on your storage time.

One is not to fill the gas tank all the way. This will help prevent corrosion growth and keep the fuel from going bad.

Leave about a ½-inch of space at the top of the tank. This will help keep moisture from getting into the gas and causing corrosion. 

You should also run the generator for a few minutes every month, even if you’re not using it. This will help keep the internal parts lubricated.

Long Time: If you’re not going to use the generator for an extended period, you should empty the gas tank and store it with a stabilizer to prevent corrosion. Unused gas can leak from a generator and cause a dangerous fire.

How long can you leave gas in a generator?

It is a question many people have. The answer to this question, however, is not straightforward. It depends on the generator type, the generator’s age, and how often it is used.

Generally, gasoline can last between one and six months in a generator’s fuel tank, depending on many factors.

When Gum activity is spotted along with deposits in your gas, it’s time for you to change your fuel. Other indications that your fuel should be changed include signs of oxidation in the fuel and varnish deposits.