Whether you own a portable or whole-house standby generator, it’s important to perform regular maintenance to ensure maximum performance.

Be sure to check the owner’s manual and follow the procedures and service intervals for your specific model, including:

  • checking and changing the oil
  • cleaning the spark arrestor screen
  • replacing the air filter
  • replacing the spark plug

In addition to performing the regular maintenance above, here are a few more tips to keep your generator running smoothly.

Portable Generator Tips

Portable generators are not designed to power your central heating or cooling system or other items that draw a substantial amount of power in your home. But, they are ideal to run critical items, such as lights or a refrigerator.

  • Store the generator in a location where the equipment won’t be exposed to excessive dust, dirt, moisture, or corrosive vapors.
  • Clean it periodically with a damp cloth or soft bristle brush.
  • Don’t hose the generator down with water.
  • When storing the unit for more than 30 days, empty the fuel or add a fuel stabilizer to the tank and run it through the system.
  • If the generator has an electric start, keep the battery charged during long storage.
  • Run the generator for 10 minutes or so every two to three months.

Home Standby Generator Tips

Automatic standby generators are fueled by natural gas or propane and are hardwired into your home’s electrical system. They start automatically when the power goes out and cut off when the power comes back on.

  • A standby generator should run a brief self-test once a week to ensure that everything is working properly. Verify that the unit ran and has no alarms or warnings.
  • Ensure the generator is in “auto” mode, so it will automatically start up.
  • Make sure the unit is clean and free of debris, inside and outside the enclosure.
  • Keep the battery terminals clean and tight.
  • Have your unit serviced every six months by an authorized service dealer.
Editorial Contributors
Danny Lipford

Danny Lipford


Danny Lipford is a home improvement expert and television personality who started his remodeling business, Lipford Construction, at the age of 21 in Mobile, Alabama. He gained national recognition as the host of the nationally syndicated television show, Today's Homeowner with Danny Lipford, which started as a small cable show in Mobile. Danny's expertise in home improvement has also led him to be a contributor to popular magazines and websites and the go-to source for advice on everything related to the home. He has made over 200 national television appearances and served as the home improvement expert for CBS's The Early Show and The Weather Channel for over a decade. Danny is also the founder of 3 Echoes Content Studio, TodaysHomeowner.com, and Checking In With Chelsea, a décor and lifestyle blog.

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