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I've read that if a generator is not started occasionally that it can loose its ability to produce electricity. Any truth to that? If so, how does that happen and how often should the generator be "exercised"? Thanks.
It could be for a few reasons. I live in high and dry Colorado so can not relate to moisture issues. How ever I can tell you about batteries that are not charged for starting and fuel that gels over a winter or a period of time.
Most of the large systems I am involved with are exercised once a week and load is transferred for an hour. I personally feel that that is over kill and once a month is fine with the gen sets just getting to op temp. I am not an engineer. Just an Electrician and observer.
I don’t think there will be a failure to generate power but a failure of the motor to start to generate power.
I'd have to agree that it's more a matter of the engine starting over the generator not producing electricity. Gasoline motors don't take kindly to sitting, where the fuel can evaporate and turn to varnish, drying and plugging internal parts of carburetors. It is best to follow the manufacturers recommendations for seasonal and long term storage when preparing any power equipment for bed.
As far as the generator not producing electricity, that's hogwash. Even generators idle since WW2 have been restarted and produce electricity. Plus you never see a "sell before" label on a generator.
The problem is with the motors and the fuel if gasoline and possible even diesel. Gasoline is not stable and needs to be used in a relatively short period of time. Even adding a stabilizer only extends its life by months. Gasoline setting in fuel lines and in carburetors evaperate and varnish up lines and parts in time unless new fuel is run through. The reason to run the generator periodically, I run my monthly, is to flush the fuel system and clean the carburetor. Even with stabilizer in the tank I drain mine yearly and put new fuel and stabilizer in the tank. I want it to start and run when needed.
Well, I'll throw out the very unusual case of my generator running but not producing electricity because the diode bridge burned out. I believe that was the part, it has been over 10 years, so I may not be exactly correct.
We were about halfway through a week with no electricity from, I believe, Hurricane Floyd. I was shuttling the generator between our house and the in-laws and my neighbors to keep refrigerators and freezers running. I plugged in the sump pump during one of our run times and I think I had too much draw between that and the freezer. I was able to find the exact part I needed at the local mower repair shop within 2 hours and we were back in business.
As others have said, it certainly wasn't from not running the generator that the diode bridge failed.