Generators can be life-saving in an emergency. However, if you want to ensure your generator will work during the next emergency, you need to store it correctly. Here are some tips to keep in mind:
1. Protect it from the elements with a tarp or shed.
Most generators are designed to withstand the elements. However, if possible, you should protect your generator from prolonged exposure to the outdoors so that it doesn't rust in the rain, get dented in hail or collect a lot of debris during a windstorm. To do so, put it in a shed or cover it with a tarp.
2. Thwart thieves with locks.
If you are storing your generator in a locked shed or garage, you don't have to worry about extra locks. However, if you are storing it outside your home, you should find a way to secure it. The easiest way is to set an eye bolt in the ground and run a chain with a padlock through both your generator and the eyehole.
3. Empty or stabilize the gas.
Ideally, you should not store your generator with gas in it. Old gas can corrode the inside of your generator, or it may simply stop working if it is in there too long. If you don't want to remove the gas, add a stabilizer to it to help it last as long as possible. In addition, if there is a fuel shut-off valve between the gas tank and the carburetor, close that valve so that gas doesn't migrate from the tank to the other parts of the engine.
4. Store extra gas carefully
Whether you keep gas in your generator or not, you should have some extra gasoline on hand. You can decide how much you want, but in most cases, you should plan to have enough gas to run your generator for at least a few days -- that should be enough to get you through most power outages.
Keep the gas in a well-sealed container in a storage area with moderate temperatures. You don't want the gas to get too hot and accidentally burst into flames. Ideally, you should not keep gas for more than a season (3 months). Have several cans on hand, and rotate your stock so that when one can is old, you can use it in your car and replace it with a new one.
5. Start your generator occasionally.
Many generators have small batteries in them connected to their electric starters. To ensure these are working, you should start your generator once in a while. Many manufacturers have recommendations on how often you should start these machines if they are in storage. Contact a company like Anderson Water Systems for more information on standby generators.