So Hurricane Dorian worried you enough to haul the portable generator out of storage, just to make sure you had backup power if you needed it. And it wouldn’t start. This applies not only to electrical power generators but any type of power equipment fueled by gasoline – chainsaws, lawnmowers, edgers and more. But since many Floridians don’t use their generators except during power outages after storms, preventive fuel maintenance is especially important for generators.
It’s a familiar story. A 2017 survey by Gold Eagle Inc., manufacturer of a popular fuel-stabilizer fluid, showed that more than six in 10 owners of power equipment confessed they had trouble starting the equipment after storage.
Causes can vary. But one cause is varnish, a thick, gooey, honey-like substance that can form in fuel tanks, fuel lines and carburetors or fuel injectors.
“Almost as fast as milk, fuel will go bad and jell up. A clogged carburetor will not allow fuel to get to the engine,” said Matt Kosko, a brand manager with Gold Eagle. “Once fuel goes bad, nothing can restore its properties.”
Before storing any gasoline-powered equipment, Gold Eagle recommends proper maintenance, Kosko says. That includes cleaning the equipment inside and out, removing or disconnecting the battery, changing the engine oil and – this is important – adding stabilizer to the fuel.
If your generator has a clogged carburetor, you may have to take it to a small-engine repair shop to get your carburetor cleaned and rebuilt. It can be costly – Gold Eagle’s 2017 survey found homeowners spent an average of $523 for all types of repairs on all types of equipment.
Remember, never run your generator in your house or in any enclosed area. Learn more at pgmaonline.com/safety.asp.
Here are AARP Florida’s tips for making sure your generator starts the next time you need it:
Properly maintaining your generator will not only save you some headaches next hurricane season, it will lower your stress level as a hurricane approaches. That’s important.
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