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How Often Should a Portable Generator Be Started?

May 23,2023 | YESGENERATOR

Maintaining a portable generator and regularly starting it are crucial for its reliable performance and longevity. When it comes to the frequency of generator startups, many owners are unsure. In this article, we'll delve into the significance of regular generator startups, explore effective maintenance tips, and provide insights to maximize the efficiency of your portable generator. By following these guidelines, you can ensure your generator is always ready to provide power when you need it.

 

1. Why Regularly Starting Your Generator Is Important:

Regularly starting your portable generator offers several benefits. It helps lubricate the engine, prevent fuel system issues, and ensures the generator is prepared for immediate use during power outages. Regular startups also help maintain the battery charge and preserve the engine's internal components.

2. Maintenance Tips for Portable Generators:

To keep your generator in top shape, follow these maintenance tips:
- Regularly change the oil and inspect the spark plug.
- Check and clean or replace the air filter as necessary.
- Keep the fuel clean and fresh by using fuel stabilizers and emptying the fuel tank for long-term storage.
- Inspect and clean the generator's cooling system.
- Periodically charge the battery, especially for generators with electric start features.

3. Determining the Frequency of Generator Startups:

The recommended frequency for starting your portable generator is at least once every three months. However, factors such as climate, frequency of use, and manufacturer recommendations can influence the ideal frequency. Regular operation and exercising the generator for approximately 20 minutes help prevent engine problems, ensure proper lubrication, and keep the fuel system clean.

4. Steps for Starting and Running Your Generator:

When starting your generator, follow these steps:
- Place the generator in a well-ventilated outdoor area.
- Check the fuel level and add fresh fuel if needed.
- Turn the fuel valve on and ensure the generator is in the "Off" position.
- If equipped, set the choke to the proper position.
- Pull the starter cord or use the electric start feature to start the generator.
- Allow the generator to warm up before connecting any loads.
- Gradually connect the intended appliances or equipment, ensuring the generator does not exceed its rated capacity.

5. Long-Term Storage Considerations:

If you plan to store your generator for an extended period, consider the following guidelines:
- Empty the fuel tank or use a fuel stabilizer to prevent fuel degradation.
- Run the generator until it runs out of fuel to avoid fuel system issues.
- Disconnect the spark plug wire to prevent accidental starts.
- Store the generator in a cool, dry place, protected from moisture and dust.

6. Ensuring Smooth Operation with Regular Generator Exercise:

Exercising your generator involves running it under load for a brief period on a regular basis. This process ensures that the generator's engine, fuel system, and electrical components remain in good working condition. It helps identify any potential issues and allows you to address them promptly before an actual power outage occurs.


Regularly starting your portable generator is essential for its optimal performance and longevity. By following the maintenance tips outlined in this article and determining the appropriate frequency of generator startups, you can ensure your generator runs smoothly when you need it most. Whether you rely on your generator for backup power during emergencies or occasional outdoor activities, a well-maintained and regularly exercised generator will provide you with peace of mind and reliable power supply.

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