How To Store A Generator (Short & Long Term)

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To store a generator short term (less than 30 days) you just want to clean it, let it die out with the fuel valve off, and turn the start button off.

To store your generator for more than 30 days and less than 12 months you take similar steps but add fuel stabilizer to your gasoline tank and drain your carburetor.

For longer periods of time, you preferably store your generator without fuel in the tank.

There are more details involved in where to store your generator but finding a dry, well-ventilated place is often a good start.

In the end, the best way to store a generator is often the one described in your specific user manual.

It is worth noting that many of the generator storage steps relate to equipment that has used gasoline. Propane and natural gas generators typically require fewer storage precautions.

How to store a generator short term

Take the following steps to store your generator for 30 days or less:

  1. Dust off the generator
  2. Disconnect all appliances and extension cords
  3. Start the generator as usual
  4. Turn the gasoline valve to the off position
  5. Wait until the generator stops
  6. Turn the start button to stop
  7. Let the generator cool down
  8. Store the generator in a well-ventilated, dry location

This portable generator store process helps make sure the remaining fuel in the carburetor gets used up.

30 days should be short enough to avoid any issues but playing it safe is often smart.

Where to store your generator depends on how short term you are thinking. In some cases, putting the generator outside with just a tarp or canopy could be enough.

How to store a generator long term

Take the following steps to store your generator for 30 days to 12 months:

  1. Dust off the generator
  2. Disconnect all appliances and extension cords
  3. Fill the engine with fresh gasoline
  4. Add the right amount of fuel stabilizer
  5. Start the generator as usual
  6. Run the generator for 10 minutes to let the treaded gasoline spread
  7. Turn the gasoline valve to the off position
  8. Wait until the generator stops
  9. Turn the start button to stop
  10. Let the generator cool down
  11. Drain the float bowl of the carburetor to remove all remaining fuel
  12. Store the generator in a well-ventilated, dry location

Some generator brands also recommend putting a tablespoon of oil in the cylinder after temporarily removing the spark plug.

How to store a generator very long term

Take the following steps to store your generator for more than 12 months aka a very long time without use:

  1. Dust off the generator
  2. Disconnect all appliances and extension cords
  3. Empty the gasoline tank with a hand pump or provided valves
  4. Start the generator as usual
  5. Wait until the generator stops
  6. Turn the start button to stop
  7. Let the generator cool down
  8. Drain the float bowl of the carburetor to remove all remaining fuel
  9. Disconnect the battery if your generator has one
  10. Remove the spark plug
  11. Put a tablespoon of oil in the cylinder and slowly pull the recoil handle
  12. Reinstall the spark plug
  13. Store the generator in a well-ventilated, dry location

You want to follow the generator maintenance guidelines too so you are prepared to use your machine when necessary.

How long can a generator sit without use?

A gasoline generator can sit without use for up to 30 days if you don’t take any precautions.

Storing your generator longer than that and less than 12 months will require you to do things like add fuel stabilizer and drain the carburetor.

To safely let your gasoline generator sit without use for longer than 12 months you have to drain the fuel tank and take other precautions.

Generators that only use propane or natural gas will require fewer precautions when it comes to long term storage.

Should you store a generator with or without gas?

You should store a generator without gas if you plan to let it sit without use for more than 12 months.

Leaving gas in your stored generator is possible if you have a suitable storage space, use a fuel stabilizer, use your equipment again within 12 months, and take other precautions.

Storing your portable generator with gas has the benefit of allowing you to start the machine relatively quickly.

Can you store a generator with oil in it?

Yes, you can store a generator with oil in it to stay prepared to run the machine more quickly.

Some brands like Honda even recommend adding fresh oil to your generator before long term storage.

At the same time, replacing the engine oil of the stored generator regularly is part of the maintenance guidelines too.

Whether you want to store your generator with oil in it ultimately depends on how prepared you want to be and how much maintenance you are willing to do.

FAQ

Is it OK to let a generator run out of gas?

Yes, it is typically OK to let a generator run out of gas. At the same time, you still want to check your specific generator user manual to make sure.

How to store a generator for winter?

To store a generator for winter you follow typical long term generator storage steps like adding fuel stabilizer, draining the carburetor, or potentially emptying the gas tank completely.

How to store a generator outside?

To store a generator outside you take typical generator storage steps but pay extra attention to providing protection that keeps moisture and debris away from the generator.

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Author:

Mats is the founder and head editor of Generator Decision. With a combination of critical thinking, tireless research, and a healthy interest in electronics he helps people find the right generators and how to use these. At this point in the journey, Mats has done research on hundreds of portable generators.