Preparing a Winter Readiness Plan for Your Propane Backup Generator

House lit up

Having a backup generator is a great way to protect your family, your home, and your belongings during a winter power outage – but only if it is ready to go at a moment’s notice, when you need it most.

To make sure it does, it pays to take some time to develop a readiness plan for your backup generator that enables you to prepare for and respond to a severe weather power outage.
Here are some items to include in your plan:


  • Review the operating manual – Don’t wait for the storm to arrive before you learn how to use your generator.
  • Get professional maintenance – Invest in an expert inspection before you need to rely on your generator during the winter.
  • Run your system – Run your standby generator for a few minutes at once every three months to make sure everything is in working order (you will increase the run-test frequency during the winter months, as you will see below).
  • Develop a “Plan B” – Know what you will do if your generator does not start.

During winter

  • Fill it with propane – Make sure your backup generator has enough propane to get you through at least a week without power, since conditions may delay propane deliveries.
  • Increase run-test frequency to twice per month – What happens to a generator that hasn’t been run all winter? The same thing that happens when you leave your car in the driveway for three months during the winter without starting it. In the colder months, run your generator for at least half an hour once or twice per month to lubricate moving parts and maintain important seals.

During severe winter weather

  • Keep access to your generator clear – Clear at least a 12” pathway open to your generator and keep its gas line accessible for refueling.
  • Document generator operation – Keep track of how often and for how long your generator is called into service, along with any problems or repairs that may occur.

Postseason record keeping

  • Review /Revise your readiness plan – After the storm, and again when winter ends, assess what worked and didn’t work in your plan, making changes as needed.

Do you have enough propane in your generator to run it for a week during a Pennsylvania power outage? If you don’t, schedule a propane delivery today so you’re ready for anything!