Winter is here in Andover, MA, and it doesn’t look to be going anywhere anytime soon. A generator in your home makes a great safeguard in the event a blizzard or similar trouble. But buying the right generator and installing it in your home is just the first step. You need to keep your generator maintained and ensure that it will work when the time comes. You won’t have an opportunity to correct your course when trouble strikes, and the last thing you want to do in the middle of a crisis is to go out or trust a repair service to come to you.
It Starts With Installation
Part of that starts with the installation itself. Your technician should select a spot that you can easily access, that has proper ventilation and that can be readily connected to the home’s electrical supply. Some models use natural gas piped in from the city, though others rely on diesel or similar forms of fuel; that should be accounted for as well.
In addition, you need to ensure that the generator is sized properly to be able to handle the power load that will be placed upon it, and that everyone in the home knows how to reach it, and start it or stop it if necessary. (Some types of generator, known as stand-by generators, will automatically turn on the minute they detect a power outage.) When your installation is complete, make sure you go through all the steps of operation so that you understand how it works.
Keep It Maintained
Once your generator is in place, make sure you keep it ready to go at all times. If it relies on fuel, make sure you know its fuel consumption rate and always have enough to the proper type of fuel on-hand. (You should also keep extra oil and spare filters ready to go if needed.) If you have an electric-start generator, check the battery once a month and recharge it if necessary. You should also test it once a month or so by running it for 15-20 minutes at a clip. And make sure the venting pipes stay clear of snow or debris: you need the generator to safely vent the exhaust when called upon to function.
But the best thing you can do for your generator is to schedule a maintenance session from a trained technician. Ideally, you should do so before the winter begins in earnest, but if you haven’t done so yet this season, now is a perfect time to schedule one. That allows the technician to tighten electrical fittings, clean the dust off of key components and otherwise ensure that the unit doesn’t have any nasty surprises waiting for you when the power goes out. A maintenance session also gives the technician a chance to set up an ongoing schedule for your unit, helping you get it checked out every fall before the temperatures get too cold.