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Saturday, July 16, 2011

Parsimony and the Art of Generator Maintenance

Honda generator
  Behold my expensive ($950) generator for the tornado-caused outage. Of course, I still owe for it. Yes, it is a Honda, the only one available. I would have preferred a cheaper one. But, parsimony took a backseat to practicality this time.

I purchased this on April 29, 2011. The manual that came with it details maintenance. A gas additive to preserve the gas from getting gunky is recommended if the generator is to be store with gas in it for longer than 30 days. Okay, I got the Stabil in it 75 days after storage. Good enough? I hope so.

The oil must be changed after 100 hours of use. The Honda generator was in use almost exactly 100 hours. Today, my friend Charlie changed the oil for me. He drained it properly, saving it in an old, cut-off milk jug. We took the oil to Auto Zone for them to recycle.

Here is the problem, getting the oil back into the generator. The fill hole was about 1/2 inch in diameter. And, he wanted a funnel. The only funnel near that size was a kitchen funnel. He saw me hesitate. "You have to remember you will never use this in the kitchen again. Just put it in the basement." I have three funnels in the kitchen other than my canning funnels. One is cherry pink, so pretty, and Tupperware. I am quite sure I did not pay for it. But, it is a good funnel. The other has an opening a little more less than one-quarter inch. This one would be so frustrating to Charlie, even to hold! The other, I cannot find it.

Can you see the small and oddly-angled opening below for the oil? Oh, he has it propped up so he could get to it.
I rummaged under the sink.
My usual funnel, either a coke bottle with the bottom cut out or a milk jug with the bottom cut out was not going to work! Aha! A Dawn bottle might save the day.

Dawn bottle aka oil dispenser worked. He just poured oil in the Dawn bottle and squirted it into the little fill hole. Voila! He commented that the Dawn bottle was perfect for what he had to do. As you may can see. the hole for the oil to go into is on an angle.

See the tiny hole in the Dawn top? Perfect!

See the tiny hole in the Dawn top?

Parsimony pays off. I always save Dawn  bottles for application of anything non-food that must be applied in a small stream. Today, I did not have to replace and pay for my pretty cherry pink Tupperware funnel replacement because I had saved an item that my friends throw away. Now, a Dawn bottle will be put in the trunk with all my other car emergency paraphernalia.

Now, I do not save all bottles, even Dawn, for that matter. But, I do have a good assortment of items that would otherwise be thrown in the trash. I use a small bottle of Original Dawn every 9 months or so. My present bottle will be finished tonight, so the empty, when washed and dried will go under the sink for another use later.

Your turn
Do you save things that people think you should throw out? Do they always come in handy?


  1. great example of a repurposing that saves time and money...saves the time to go out and buy a new whatever!

  2. LOL...I don't mind a purchase here and there, but to destroy something on purpose AND pay for a new one is just not me! Repurposing is one of my strong skills.

  3. That's a great idea and yes, I too save bottles and jars and boxes and...
    Hubby hates it so I try and keep them where he can't see them too often. Lots of times my little stash has saved the day.


  4. Barb,I hope he appreciates your effort that saved the day. Maybe you can share this with him so he will see the usefulness of saved I mean, if two people do this, why it cannot be so do think there might be an upper limit to the number of items of one kind that can be useful in my lifetime. Usually when I find I have saved beyond any reasonable expectation of use, I cull and toss or give away.

  5. I save bottles like that too. We buy dish and hand soap in bulk so we reuse the same dispenser over and over again. I just found out that I can take in my own container to the co-op to buy any of their bulk including liquid soap. They will weigh it at he register and deduct its weight on the scale at point of purchase. Otherwise you pay 14 cents a container for theirs. I plan on doing this from now on.

  6. I go through phases of saving and throwing. If I have a bunch of stuff saved that I haven't used and it starts overflowing it's designated area then I start throwing.

    The dawn bottle is a great idea. I will save the next one I get.

    Mostly I save jars and rubber bands.

  7. Lorie, That's the way it happens here.When saved items start overflowing, some of it goes. I keep a diluted bit of Dawn outside for squirting into water so that mosquitoes cannot breed. Dawn bottles are good for a direct application since the little hole is so small...same with other dish detergents, I suppose. I think the bottle used for oil is the first Dawn bottle that has ever gone into the trash or recyclables. I save jars for sending food home with people. I just bought the first rubber bands in 30 years. Even though I save all rubber bands, I just ran out and needed more.
    LindaM, I wish I had a bulk place.

  8. By 'direct application,' I did not mean standing water for mosquitoes. I just meant a small stream of anything. I cannot even think of an for the small oil hole that needed a funnel or a small stream.


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