Tropical storms and hurricanes used to leave me without power at least once a year, so I invested in a back up generator. I learned a few things along the way and thought I’d pass some generator tips on to all of you so you wouldn’t have to haul an almost new generator to the repair shop or find out what not to do the hard way!
Always use Stabil or another gas stabilizer if you don’t completely drain out the gas. We ran our generator twice and noone put Stabil in it after the second use. When I tried to start it up this Spring, the fuel lines were clogged and it had to go in for a repair.
Find a place to store the generator that is accessible, waterproof and not indoors. (Never run a generator in an enclosed space. The fumes are really dangerous.) I put mine under an over hang. I was glad I added a tarp for additional protection when I saw the water that collected on it.
Never, ever just plug your generator into the house to run part of your load. I’ve heard that if you do that without a special switch, you could electrocute your repair guy, who is innocently sitting up on the electric pole 100 yards away, when the power comes back on. Since I don’t have a special switch and I have no idea how to plug a generator into a house, I run an extension cord to the generator from a few essential appliances.
Consider getting a yearly tuneup for your generator so you can be sure it will run when you need it. If I wouldn’t have tested mine this Spring, I would have gone to use it during a Summer blackout, only to discover it was in need of repair.