Winter will be here soon are you ready for the long New England winter season? Have you located your ice scrapers snow brushes and shovels? If you are fortunate enough to own a snowblower is it serviced and ready to go? How about a generator are you fortunate enough to have one for the unexpected power outages? Well if you are one of the fortunate, now is the time to ensure it will be ready when you really need it. Some of the things your pre winter generator service checklist should include is an oil change, fresh fuel with stabilizer additive, a general once over for loose broken or missing parts, and if your unit has pneumatic tires then the pressure should be checked also. Your generator should be test run to ensure it will start and it should also be operated under a load, I can not stress this enough many engines seem to operate fine until loaded and then they let you down when needed. Stale old untreated gas is the number one reason for generator operating issues, this problem can be avoided by always stabilizing your gas when you fill the gas can. If you are fortunate enough to not have to had used your generator over the winter, you should run the generator in the spring so you can use up the gas in the tank. If that’s not practical you could also drain it and use it in your mower but be sure to fill the tank back up with fresh gas treated with a stabilizing additive for the spring and fall seasons. An empty or half full gas tank will have air in it which will condensate allowing water within fuel system which will cause corrosion and in this day of ethanol fuel will really foul things up and affect performance. While on the subject of fuel you should be aware of your generators fuel capacity and run time per tank. You will always want to have enough fuel on hand to operate your generator for several days. One trick to maintaining fresh fuel is every 2 months or so empty the fuel from your storage cans into you car and refill cans with fresh gas keep that stock of fuel rotated and fresh. This is the spot where I talk about stabilizer again, you would think I have stock in it but seriously it makes the difference between starting and running or puttering and sputtering. Engine oil is crucial also I really feel it should be changed a minimum of twice per year, once in the fall as you prepare for winter and once in the spring. Your owners manual will also have a maintenance schedule you should follow and there will be servicing requirements based on hours of operation, changing your oil frequently and per the schedule should extend your engine’s life expectancy. Now that you have the generators engine in tip top shape it’s time to focus on the electrical end, there are definitely some things that deserve your attention here. You should inspect all the receptacle outlets for damage and proper operation of circuit protection devices, also operate all breakers and switches. Next you should lend an eye to your power cords or cord set the ends should be inspected for damaged prongs on the plug and the cord should be inspected along its length for cuts or abrasions. If your cords or any electrical components on your generator are damaged or sub par have it fixed or replaced immediately. If you are connecting your generator directly to your homes service panel it must run through an interlock switch with the proper power inlet receptacle. (Lineman have gotten killed because someone hot wired their generator) A periodic inspection, routine maintenance and operation of your generator will allow you to rest assured that when your really in need it won’t leave you in the dark.