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If there’s one time of year when a power outage is a special inconvenience, it must be winter, which is exactly when you’re most likely to experience one. The adverse weather conditions, freezing, and thawing will play havoc with your electricity lines. Those of you who are well prepared will have your Briggs generators close at hand because even in Myrtle Beach, SC, the temperature can get below freezing.
However, if you wait until the cold months of the year, from October through to February, to bring your generator out, or even until the moment you have a power cut, you may discover it’s not just your electricity that’s not working but your generator too.
A good brand like Briggs generators, or even Generac or GE generators, will stand the test of time but you can still run into problems without a few simple considerations. Anyone in the area can contact Mister Sparky Generators for repair. In addition, however, there are a couple of things you can do to prepare and winterize your Briggs generators.
Storage considerations are perhaps more pertinent when you have a portable generator – Briggs generators come as standby, portable or inverter types for instance – but the key here, is to safely store it away when you’re not using it. Problems start arising with cold weather, so choose a climate-controlled space, like the garage, or another shelter to shield it from extreme elements. Every now and then, check the space around your storage area for leaks, and even take it out periodically for a test run. You’ll also do well to ensure it’s clean before you store it away as salt, dirt and debris can fall into the mechanics and give it start-up problems.
Cold weather can also have a direct effect on the fuel in your generator. Diesel, in particular, can turn into a gel-like consistency. It is something that is easily fixed, however, through a cold flow improver (CFI), which will develop the fuel, although this should be used in limited amounts as it can also restrict the performance of Briggs generators.
Other alternatives include using a special diesel for cold weather that doesn’t turn into a gel, and storage tank heaters can heat the diesel fuel.
Risk of freezing is another reason why you should drain the water separator and replace the filters before you store your generator away, as this will cause Briggs generators damage if water gets into the engine and freezes. You can also use an antifreeze coolant to help lower the freezing point of your fuel.
Full Body Check
Just before you place it in storage, give your Briggs generator a once over for routine wear and tear, and common issues that occur, such as radiator leaks, cracks or loose fastenings. Briggs generators also have vents on their exterior that can get blocked by ice or debris and that could cause them to overheat and to falter. Greasing the generator’s metal parts with wax will also protect them from snow, debris, road salt and other particles that are floating around during the winter months.
If you do find yourself with a generator that simply doesn’t start then contact Mister Sparky of Myrtle Beach, SC, for repair. Mister Sparky can also install Briggs generators as well as repair them if you find yourself needing a new one.
Check the Battery
Cold weather can drain a battery easily too but there are a few things you can do to prevent this. Firstly, you can clean each battery unit and disconnect the ground cables when the generator is not in use. You can also use a trickle charger, leaving it connected to your generator to help the battery remain charged, giving you one less thing to worry about when the time comes to use it. If you find the generator’s battery is running too low then it may not even work when you recharge it. At this point replace the battery and get a cold weather kit with a battery warmer, which will turn on when the temperature drops. An engine block heater or heating coolant also works with a standby generator to aid starting the engine and battery in cold weather.
Looking After a Gasoline Fuelled Generator
Gasoline fuel generators will benefit from a premium fuel stabilizer on the engine or generator’s fuel supply. This is because when oil gets cold it becomes thicker, so it’s better to drain the generator’s crankshaft and refill it with the fuel stabilizer. Then replace the oil filter. In addition, a fogging oil will help alleviate condensation or moisture, which can damage steel in an engine. Spray it into the spark plug to avoid water meeting a charge of electricity.
Now Run the Generator
Even if you’ve prepared and winterized your generator, taking into account the different precautions explained above, it might still serve you well to give the generator a trial run before the moment you need it. It is recommended you run it for about 10 minutes before applying a load to it, warming it much like a car.
When you test run your generator, clear snow from around it, five feet either side, and from on top of the generator itself.
The caveat to all of this of course is to check any products can be used with your particular generator, whether you use any of the Briggs generators or other brands, or you could risk damage to the engine.
If you’re in doubt, contact Mister Sparky, as our experts can easily assess any situation regarding your generator. We can make a swift and safe diagnosis on how to fix your generator or replace it if needed, offering the most competitive service in the area.
For peace of mind, contact us today.