Equipment Notes: Generators

How to Properly Use, Service, & Maintain Your Generator

by John Davis, southwest territory sales manager, Roofmaster Products Company

(Editor’s Note: John Davis is a roofing industry veteran who began his career in 1980 in Houston, Texas. He became a union roofing contractor and rose to a superintendent’s position, which he held with several nationwide commercial roofing contractors. Davis then moved into equipment sales and sales management with Superior Equipment for 13 years before joining Roofmaster.)



While supply issues have hampered single-ply applications over the past few years, it is still far and away the largest segment of commercial roofing. In the past we have discussed the importance of servicing and maintaining high-quality hot air welders, such as Leister, but today we will talk about maintenance dos and don’ts of another key component of single-ply applications, your generator.

  • Read the operator instructions. I couldn’t tell you how many times we have seen a generator in for repair that has the operator instructions still freshly wrapped. Plus, reading and understanding these instructions could have prevented the issue that the generator is currently experiencing.
  • Follow the maintenance schedule, which includes oil/filter changes, spark plug inspections, and air filter cleaning are necessary components to keep your generator running at peak performance.
  • Do not operate in enclosed locations. This seems elementary, but remember that carbon monoxide is odorless and can kill quickly.
  • Always transport with the fuel valve shut off. The gas can splash into the carb during transport, which will cause the motor to underperform or possibly not start.
  • Run your generator at least once a month. This warms the unit up and helps it maintain its residual magnetism.
  • Do not store your generator with fuel. It can turn stale and clog the motor.
  • Do not jump-start your battery while it is connected to the generator.
  • Do not power wash the motor, alternator, or fuel tank.
  • Do not let your generator run out of fuel while under a load. This can lead to a loss of residual magnetism, which means the generator will produce no electricity.
  • You also don’t want to turn off your generator while under a load, as the same loss of residual magnetism can happen. Only a certified mechanic should attempt to restore residual magnetism.

If you do experience any of these problems, Roofmaster® Products Company has service centers with certified mechanics in multiple locations in the West, including Los Angeles, California, and Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas.