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7 Tips for Safely Using Your Generator This Winter

Severe winter weather and unexpected power outages are inevitable. However, losing your electricity and having your family suffer in frigid temperatures is a scenario you can avoid. 

One of the best investments is a standby generator that can supply backup heat if you experience a power loss. While they vary in brand, features, and cost, a generator will generally safeguard your home and protect your family in case of an emergency power outage. Here are a few safety tips to keep your home safe and your generator at peak performance all winter long.

1. Inspect and Clean Your Generator

In addition to following the manufacturer’s instructions and scheduling maintenance or repairs, you should also follow these inspection and cleaning guidelines such as:  

  • Never leaving a generator running indoors, including your garage
  • Keeping it away from buildings and never close to an air intake
  • Cleaning off the exterior of dust and dirt to reduce corrosion
  • Greasing/lubricating the internal components to prevent scraping
  • Wiping it gently with car wax to protect it from the snow, ice, and water
  • Storing it away safely to prevent rust and avoid internal engine component damage

2. Install or Check Carbon Monoxide Detectors

Use a battery-operated carbon monoxide detector in the event of a power outage. Consider purchasing a combination alarm, a smoke alarm, and a carbon monoxide detector.

Because carbon monoxide has no smell, to protect the air you and your family breathe, the alarm will sound if carbon monoxide levels become dangerous. See the next tip for more information. 

Change your batteries annually or per the manufacturer’s instructions.

3. Provide Enough Distance and Ventilation

Never run a generator from your garage as generators produce a harmful gas, carbon monoxide. The odorless and colorless exhaust is toxic to humans if ingested. 

Keep your generator outside, well-ventilated, and away from homes, buildings, windows, and doors. 

4. Use the Right Fuel for Your Generator

Fuel types vary by manufacturer. Let your generator cool down before refueling it, and never use fuel with more than 10% ethanol, which is illegal for outdoor power equipment. 

Only use fresh, store-bought fuel, and if you retain your fuel for 30 days or more, keep it in an approved container and add a fuel stabilizer. Store it away from heat sources.

5. Cover Your Generator

When not in use, cover your generator with a tarp or tent. Please protect it from the elements (rain, snow, dirt, dust, moisture) to prevent the internal components from freezing. Water damage can flood the motor, and it will not run. 

Generators have sensitive electrical systems (outlets, voltage meters), so avoid short-circuits from snow, ice, and water, which can corrode the fuel line.

6. Check Your Extension Cords

Inspect your plugs and cords, and check for any damage, such as cracks or frays. Insert a transfer switch and only use the listed wattage capacity. 

To reduce fire risks, avoid overloading the outlet or using extra extension cords where you plug in the generator. 

7. Charge or Replace Your Battery

Some generators use batteries as power sources, meaning that these will need to charge and eventually replaced. Batteries sometimes malfunction if the temperature drops to 40 degrees or lower. 

At 0 degrees, it can lose about 60% of its power as the cold weather can dry it out. When not in use, recharge or jump-start the battery and store it inside. 

Contact AAA Service Network for Your Generator Needs in Southeast Michigan

Standby generators can prevent life-threatening disasters during power outages. Trust our certified and licensed technicians for expert generator installation, repair, and maintenance.

When you are ready to invest in a home generator for your home's safety and comfort this winter, choose AAA Service Network

Learn more about our generator services in Southeast Michigan, call (517) 548-5040 or contact us online today!

Schedule Service TODAY!


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Proudly Servicing
Livingston, Washtenaw,
W Wayne, SW Oakland and
S Genesee Counties

Howell   |   Brighton   |   Plymouth   |   Ann Arbor
Novi   |   Fenton   |   Northville  |   Canton
South Lyon   |   Pinckney   |   Hartland
Milford   |   Whitmore Lake   |   Dexter   |   Ypsilanti   |   Belleville   |   Livonia   |   Fowlerville   |   Chelsea