How to Store a Backup Generator

back up generator

What does a backup generator do?

Maybe you’ve never have given it a second thought, but backup generators are considered essential for many households. Many homeowners in areas of the country where power outages happen hurricanes and snowstorms, can’t imagine going through a season without one. 

Backup generators and weather changes go hand in hand in many areas of the country. Just before the season where the weather that affect power the most arrives, stores can’t keep backup generators in stock.  A power outage may last an hour, some last an entire day, and in extreme weather conditions, they have been known to last several days. 

When you find yourself in one of those situations of hours upon days without power, backup generators are essential. Without one, your frozen and refrigerated foods ruin, there is no computers, television, no lights at night, and if you’re on a modern septic system, it isn’t able to work either. Even your cell phone can become useless because you can’t charge the battery. 

So, we’ve probably made our point about when backup generators are needed, but what do they do exactly? They can provide electrical power to most, maybe all of your home and property so that you can live comfortably. Backup generators can minimize your financial losses during power outages, especially those times you’re without power for days. 

There are three types of backup generators: 

  • Portable: Powered by diesel fuel or gasoline can provide electrical power temporarily to conduct electricity to your home for basic household needs like the refrigerator and lights. These are the most common of all backup generators in weather prone areas with hurricanes, snowstorms, and tornados. 
  • Inverter: Runs from off an engine that has an AC powered alternator that converts energy into DC power. It utilizes advanced electronic circuitry that counts on high-tech magnets. Used primarily in boats, car, and RVs.
  • Standby Generator: Operates automatically with a transfer switch commands this generator when to turn on and can provide a home permanent power protection. Requires liquid propane or natural gas to operate the internal combustion engine and constantly monitors the local utility power. Used for medical and life support, elevators, and fire protection systems. Of all the backup generators, this type is common in rural areas that operate farms and ranches. 

How long can you run a generator without turning it off?

In general, backup generators are not designed to provide continuous and endless power. There are models that provide power for eight hours, twelve hours, and other that can provide power for days. Backup power generators should not be used continuously for days, weeks, or months, and certainly not forever. 

How big of a backup generator do I need?

Most backup generators with 7,5000 running watts minimum will operate most critical household equipment. That includes items like a refrigerator, freezer, lighting circuit running simultaneously.  There are two figures you need to pay attention to when looking at backup generators:

  • Starting Wattage: This is the amount of power needed for appliances with a motor, like a window air conditioner.
  • Running Wattage:  This is how much energy the appliances need to run after startup.

The typical 10,000 air conditioner needs 2,200 watts to start up and a constant 1,500 to keep running. Both of these numbers are important and backup generators will have their starting watts and running watts listed on their labels.

How long do backup generators last?

A well-maintained backup generator longevity is approximately between 10,000 and  30,000 hours. On the other hand, based on thirty minutes a week with no power outages, backup  generators can give several hundred hours in a year.

generator system

What is the best way to store a generator?

Storing backup generators is one of those things you hope that’s where they’ll stay – stored. However, is and when the time comes that you need a backup power source, you’re glad you have it stored properly and safely so it’s ready to go when you need it. Luckily, there isn’t much to know about how to store backup generators:

Short Term Storage: 

If you will be using your backup generator multiple times in a season, like hurricane season, simply keeping it cleaned off and stored where it is easy to access when needed. 

Long-Term Storage: 

  • Routine Scheduled Maintenance – the owner’s manual will tell you everything you need to do for maintenance and experts recommend following this manual to the last letter. Why? Nobody will know how to care for backup generators better than the manufacturer. 
  • Fuel Treatment – the fuel in your backup generator is what will determine if it will run when you need it. So, before you store your generator, fill the unit with fuel and add a fuel stabilizer and then let the unit run a few minutes so that stabilizer gets worked through the generator. 

Backup generators may seem like an extravagant purchase, but when you need one, you’ll be glad you have one. If you’re a good neighbor, the guy next door will be glad you have one too when you offer to let them plug into it too. Need help with your home back up generator? Call us today at 707-229-0482!