Whether you use your portable generator at home, the office, or for camping, the last thing you want is for it to fail when you need it the most. Especially in cases of severe weather when it’s important that your generator does its job flawlessly.
Unfortunately, in the real world, things happen. Filters break, fuel lines become clogged, and pull cords can become torn. Luckily, we’ve got your back. We’re bringing you DIY portable generator repair tips so you can be prepared with a quick-fix in case of an emergency.
Portable Generator Tips You Can Do Yourself
Replace a Torn Pull Cord
One of the most common portable generator issues we’ve noticed is the classic case of a broken pull cord. Fortunately, these aren’t difficult to replace and can be done fairly quickly, even with a flashlight during extreme weather.
While replacing the broken cord may seem as simple as wind-it-up and go, there’s one tricky thing to watch out for—the spring. Before you wrap the new cord around the starter, it’s crucial to ensure the spring has been wound as far as it can go. Failure to do so will cause the cord to hang from your generator without a functional spring to bring it back into the housing. This will lead to your generator not starting at all!
Check Your Breakers
An often confusing issue is when your generator starts and appears to run flawlessly except for one thing—it’s not putting out any electricity! This can be especially frustrating if your home experiences a power outage, so make sure to check your breakers before it happens.
In this case, it could be your breakers that are at fault. Have no fear! Replacing the breakers is as simple as ordering the proper set as designated by your generator’s manufacturer and installing them accordingly. (SWFL is happy to help you with that.)
Replace a Fuel Filter
Depending on your generator, you may have a small plastic fuel filter inside. These filters prevent dust, debris, and dirt found in gasoline, from corrupting the fuel system. While these filters often excel at their jobs, some do it too well and can become clogged from all the debris they catch over time. When these filters clog, the fuel system will receive little to no fuel, and the generator will fail to run properly.
Simply detach the fuel line where it attaches to the carburetor (holding it over a bucket or container to catch leftover fuel) and run your generator, paying special attention to whether or not any (or enough) fuel is seeping through the filter. If fuel is not passing through, it’s time to replace the filter.
Unclog Your Fuel Lines
Filters aren’t the only part that can become clogged, either. Sometimes, the fuel lines themselves can become clogged, effectively preventing any supply of gas from reaching the fuel system. The fix can be as simple as clearing out any debris, but sometimes this is not enough (or efficient).
As with any kind of tube delivery system, your fuel lines can also become cracked or torn. In this case, it’s much easier to skip repairs and simply replace the lines. The lines are sold in numerous sizes and are often inexpensive. Fuel lines are also often found in full-size generators, and can be replaced just as inexpensively.
Clear out the Gas Vent
On your gas cap, there should be either a valve or small hole that functions as a vent. The vent allows gas to flow from its storage area to the fuel system, effectively powering your system.
When the vent is clogged, the necessary airflow won’t reach the gas, and the gas won’t reach the carburetor. On the other hand, if the vent is only slightly plugged, your system will run, but will run poorly. Clearing out the gas vent is as simple and poking the small hole with a piece of wire, or even giving it a shot of compressed air.
Portable Generators: Convenient and Efficient
A portable generator can be a convenient for camping, a solid backup plan at home, and even a lifesaver in extreme Florida weather. With the tips we’ve given you today, you’ll be that much more savvy in the event your generator stops working.
At Southwest Florida Electric, we recommend checking your generator often to ensure it functions as designed before it is needed. For the times when you simply need a repair or replacement of your generator and parts, contact our experts and we’ll get you up and running—and quick!