If you stay in RV parks with full hookups for extended periods of time, you probably never think about your generator, and just take for granted that it will be be running perfectly the next time you pull into a rest area and want to run the coffee maker or microwave. However, one of the most common problems with generators is actually caused from lack of use.
RV generators are very dependable and will provide years of service if properly maintained and cared for. Exercising your generator is one of the most overlooked aspects of routine maintenance, yet its the simplest to perform. Just like you and me, regular “exercise” is an important part of keeping your generator healthy.
To maximize reliability and minimize repairs, it is important to exercise your generator at least once a month. This applies to both gas and diesel generators. When generators sit unused for even as little as 1 month, moisture can build up that can damage your generator, and the fuel in gasoline-powered generators can begin to break down into gums and varnishes that clog the fuel system. Fuel varnishing results in hard starting and surging.
Regular exercising keeps engine parts lubricated, prevents oxidation of electrical contacts, uses up fuel before it deteriorates, eliminates moisture build up and, in general, helps provide reliable engine starting.
To properly exercise your generator, start and run your generator under at least half the rated load for two hours every month. For example, with a 4,000 watt generator, turn on the roof air conditioner, which is about 2,000 watts, and let it run continuously for two hours. It is always best to run the generator for longer periods of time rather than for multiple short periods. Check your owner’s manual for load ratings for your generator.
Don’t take the health of your generator for granted. In addition to the routine maintenance that is based on hours of use as recommended in your generator’s owner’s manual, every time to flip the calendar to a new month, remember that its time to exercise your generator.