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Old 01-26-2016, 02:07 PM   #1
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Exercising Generator

Hi all,

I recently bought a portable generator and was wondering how often I should fire it up and for how long. My wife's a teacher still so we only camp during a three month window.

Dale
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Old 01-26-2016, 02:38 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by fdhealy4 View Post
Hi all,

I recently bought a portable generator and was wondering how often I should fire it up and for how long. My wife's a teacher still so we only camp during a three month window.

Dale
Here is my reply to a similar post on this subject,

As for the generator, the purpose of running it is to keep the generator windings dry. It has nothing to do with the engine.
In order to do that properly, you should run it for at least an hour with as much load as you can muster. Say a couple of heaters or heat pumps. It needs to run long enough to come up to full operating temperature and dry off any condensation that may have developed during start up. Again, anything less will cause more harm than good.
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Old 01-26-2016, 03:09 PM   #3
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For our portable generator at the barn we run it once a month for 30 minutes with a load on it. That load is a portable heater in the winter and a big barn fan in warmer weather. Ours is 5 years old and runs without hesitation so we keep doing the same. We service it once a year. If we are repairing fences and using it, I count that as the once a month run.
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Old 01-26-2016, 03:18 PM   #4
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Run a portable generator until it runs out of gas. Store it in a dry place.

I can't imagine millions of portable generators running every month in warehouses all over the world.
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Old 01-26-2016, 03:46 PM   #5
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Hi all,

I recently bought a portable generator and was wondering how often I should fire it up and for how long. My wife's a teacher still so we only camp during a three month window.

Dale
Welcome Dale....

Your question will generate (pun intended) considerable conflicting responses. You may choose from the litter and pick the one that makes the most sense to you. Obviously, you want to do the right thing. A portable genny...gasoline fueled?????

In 2003, Hurricane Isobel ripped through central Maryland. We were very lucky to get one of 23 gennys trucked in to our Tractor Supply in Mt. Airy. Two days later the power went down for 6 1/2 days. With all roads blocked, and to conserve fuel I only used it when needed and logged maybe 18-22 hours.

I put an hour meter on it right after Isobel and it presently shows 20 hours. So maybe 40-50 hrs total. I use it from time to time of yard work and once in a blue moon to power fridge and freezer in a rare outage. It may sit for 3 - 6 months at a time before I "exercise" it. I change the oil ...well, when ever I have a fit and fall in it... Like maybe ever three or four years. It does not have many hous of use. With some 13 years of experience....here's my thoughts.

Unless you need it for life protection, like making power for an oxygen generator .. frequent, & my humble opine, needless "exercise" is wear, tear, expense, and air pollution.

Like all OPE...when you start it up....USE it. Use the heck out of it.... Put it away till next time.

If it is gasoline powered, the big deal is gunking up the carb due to fuel evaporation over time. If you have a fuel shut off....when finished using your genny turn the fuel valve OFF & let it run till it runs out of gas. This will do the most good at avoiding a crapped up carb...the bane of small engines. (Fuel shut offs are the hot tip for any OPE or rarely used gassers with carbs.)

Use 87 UL fuel. Higher octane is sometimes more difficult to start in cold weather, IME. I'd not be using a bunch of additives.... Although Stabil may help ... or not... More feel good.

Use the correct grade of oil for your expected use...see your manual! Synthetic might be best.
The newer oils have much greater resistance to corrosion and "crapping up" than the junk our Paps used back in the day. Little need to heat it up to drive off the moisture in the crank case. Modern additives will take care of it. (Besides....as soon as it cools off its coming back.) With limited use...you can probably go a couple years and just follow the "hours" recommendation.

Unless you are in a "marine" environment or maybe Washington state where it monsoon rains for months... The unit is designed to handle high humidity and even damp conditions. Running it to "dry" the alternator is .... Well, not necessary. It will get hot..dry out...and as soon as it cools below the dew point...start collecting moisture on the cool surfaces.

I do pretty much the same on my LP genny on my RV.

So here's my data point.... Yesterday (really!!!!) I fired up the genny. It has not been run since maybe mid to late September.... Fuel ON. Choke ON. Switch ON. A three second push on the starter and it lit right off. Its done that for 13 years.


I hope this is helpful...
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Old 01-26-2016, 05:31 PM   #6
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Generator rule
Once a month (Same date or close to it) 30 minutes under 1/2 load

For most portables one or two electric space heaters will do as the load.

NOTE: IF you have a portable generator have an electrician (If you are not up to the job) Do the following:

INstall a proper GENERATOR transfer panel in your house, it should be able to transfer Refrigerator, Freezer, Furnace, SOME but not all lights, Microwave and Television/Radio..

A proper INLET on the outside of the house

And make up a proper extension cord to go from Generator ot Inlet

WHEN (not if) power company fails you.. IT's time for the generator's regular unscheduled exercise session.. Plug in, Fire up, Switch switches, TURN ON one of the lights NOT on the transfer panel.> When Light comes on Exercise session is over.

All that work $$$$$

Warm Wife in january when POwer fails:::: PRICELESS.
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Old 01-26-2016, 09:41 PM   #7
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With the small portable generators the biggest issue is the gas sitting in the carb and drying out, gunking it up. Like said before run it until it's dry, or on mine there is a drain screw to let the gas out of the carb before storing. Most small generators can be stored in the garage and don't require exercising them. Ours sat unused one time for about 2 years, changed the oil, put some gas in it and it ran great.
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Old 01-26-2016, 10:59 PM   #8
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I have a 1750 watt Coleman portable that I use at home for power outages and occasionally for usage in remote areas where I needed power. I never have "exercised" it between power outages. I've had it for 25 years and it has never failed to run and provide ample emergency power for the house or in the field. I think I changed the spark plug maybe twice.
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Old 01-27-2016, 03:09 PM   #9
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I would run it for at least 30 minutes with 1/2 load or more, once a month!
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Old 02-11-2016, 09:02 PM   #10
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I run mine once a month with about a 50% load, for 1/2 hr. The generator on my house which is natural gas auto starts once a month and runs for about 1/2 hr.
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Old 02-11-2016, 09:16 PM   #11
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So I was a nut about running my EU6500i Honda generator once a month. I changed the oil once a year. Kept ethanol free gas in it. Drained the gas every few months, put it in my car and kept my home gas cans (with ethanol free gas) rotated every few months by dumping it in my car and then refilling. Generator never failed to start.

Until I went to sell it. Guy called me and said he'd be over in an hour to pick it up. Went home to get it ready to go. Battery was deader than a door nail. I guess after 3 years it had had enough. Even worse, after running for an hour flawlessly, the engine started stuttering and coughing as the guy who came to buy it was checking it out. I have to imagine the generator just did not want me to sell it.

Fortunately, the guy really wanted it and I knocked a few bucks off and he took it anyway. The think was virtually brand new with only 25 hours on it.

So much for "excersize".
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Old 02-11-2016, 09:25 PM   #12
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With the small portable generators the biggest issue is the gas sitting in the carb and drying out, gunking it up. Like said before run it until it's dry, or on mine there is a drain screw to let the gas out of the carb before storing. Most small generators can be stored in the garage and don't require exercising them. Ours sat unused one time for about 2 years, changed the oil, put some gas in it and it ran great.
I had to replace the carb on my Boliy because I let it set for several months with gas in the carb while we went to AK. Draining all gas, or preferably using it up would have eliminated that.
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Old 02-11-2016, 09:26 PM   #13
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Our Onan manual says to run ours for two hours a month with at least half load. That means 6250 watts so two heat pumps or more. Even both AquaHot elements is only 4,000 watts

Quote:
Exercise the genset at least 2 hours each month of use is infrequent. Run the genset at approximately 1/2 rated power.
A single two hours exercise period is better than several shorter periods.
Exercising the genset drives off moisture, re-lubricates the engine, replaces stale fuel and removes oxides from electrical contacts. The result is better starting, more reliable operations and longer engine life.
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