The purchase of a portable generator is a reliable step in keeping your vital equipment powered up even in uncertain situations. This piece of intricate machinery takes some care and protection in order to keep it running in top notch condition. Aside from protecting your investment, general care will ensure the tool runs when you need it, and additional accessories will make the generator easier to use and in general a more pleasant experience.
The initial purchase price of your portable generator is only the beginning of your investment. These recommended generator accessories will be well worth the additional costs when you consider the general maintenance and ease of use for your new machine.
Portable Generator Accessories to Ensure Longevity and Smooth Usage
No portable generator owner should be without these necessary accessories.
Portable Generator Maintenance Kit
Begin with the basic assessment that you will be doing routine maintenance on a regular basis. There is no way around it unless you are going to tote your portable generator into the shop for every mundane need. Gather together a tool box with your generator needs and keep it close by. At the heart of your portable generator is the internal combustion engine and you will need to provide it with clean fresh air, stable fuel, strong spark, and clean oil.
Depending on the environment in which you run your generator, the air filter can get clogged with dirt and sand, change your air filter often. Storing your generator away for a season can introduce fuel line problems, make sure you use fuel stabilizer in your tank. The small engine will run hot so the spark plugs will need to be replaced more often than in your vehicle. The oil should also be changed regularly and often, remembering to replace that oil filter every time as well.
Keep spare air filters, oil filters, and spark plugs specific to your engine on hand. Also keep a universal spark plug gap tool, a oil fill funnel, and basic hand tools such as screwdrivers and wrenches necessary to complete these minor maintenance tasks handy. It is probable that you may be changing the oil or replacing a spark plug out “in the wild” if you have the need to use your generator for extended periods and a properly stocked maintenance kit will make the job easier.
Many people have attempted to explain electrical theory in an analogy to the flow of water. The pipes are your wires, the voltage is your pump, and the amperage is the speed of the flowing water. Your generator provides the voltage, the devices you are powering determine the amperage, and the extension cord is the pipe in which that current flows.
If you do not have a sufficient enough extension cord, the pipes can not deliver the expected draw from the generator to the devices. This will result in a tripped breaker or worse, an overheated cord and possibly a fire hazard. Make sure you have a heavy duty extension cord that is of heavy enough gauge to handle to maximum current draw by the devices you plan on powering.
If you are powering a central distribution point, you will need to account for the total generator capacity. Aside from making sure your extension cord is thick enough, make sure it durable, and resistant to damage and fraying which can pose electrocution dangers in wet weather conditions.
Wet weather is only one of many possible environments you may be running your portable generator in. Keeping rain and snow off of your engine is beneficial to the generator as it runs and will make cleaning and maintenance easier as well.
Shielding your machine from strong blowing winds will keep the air filter cleaner longer, and a good shade-producing cover will keep the hot sun from adding to your generator’s already extensive heat build up while in use. A portable generator enclosure can make this a simple add-on.
These accessories may not be a requirement, but they certainly are recommended for ease of use.
The inclusion an electric start button may seem slightly extravagant for some, but if you use your portable generator with any degree of regularity you will come to appreciate this simple addition after a few pulls of that starter rope. Consistent use of the generator is greatly eased with the push of a button for those tired of yanking on the rope, or maybe for those that are unable to exert that level of exertion.
If your generator has the added maintenance of a battery to power your push button start, you may also opt for the remote control starter. Shutting your generator off for the day, or starting it up in the morning has never been easier with the remote key fob you can get that power running without having to leave the comfort your sleeping bag or wherever you happen to be.
This accessory may be more useful for larger generators rather than small ones, but even those mid range portable generators have the power to provide an entire RV with power, or select household circuits. This is where a transfer switch comes in extremely handy.
Without a transfer switch, you would have extension cords running through the house providing temporary power to the critical devices you need to supply with power. Having an electrician install a transfer switch allow you to choose some electrical lines that can be connected to emergency power with the throw of a switch. A manual switch will disconnect the city electrical grid and make the connection to your generator’s output allowing you to avoid making the connection at the generator to live power. An automatic transfer switch will make this connection without you needing to be there which comes in handy when power goes out while you are away.
A portable generator is inherently loud. It is a running engine and there is no way around the noise but it can be mitigated to varying degrees. An after market muffler is an excellent choice for quieting your portable generator as much as possible. Insulated enclosures are another positive way to cut down on some of the sound. If your generator is truly portable and a permanent enclosure is impractical, an improvised enclosure that buffers the sound without inhibiting the air or exhaust of the generator can go a long way toward making your portable generator just a bit easier to be around.
Portable Generator Accessories are Crucial
Accessories ranging from the necessary heavy duty extension cord to the fancy remote control starting button, your portable generator can be outfitted to make your portable power needs for your conditions. Proper maintenance and securing against contaminants can go a long way toward extending the life of your machine. Ease of use accessories will make your experience more pleasure than pain.