Generators are an emergency power source that can provide electricity when the power goes out. They’re handy to have around, but they need proper maintenance in order to keep running smoothly and efficiently.
How to maintain your emergency generator
Regular maintenance is the best way to keep your emergency generator in tip-top shape and because they are not used every day are fairly easy to maintain.
It is best to have a written maintenance plan that can be followed on a weekly, monthly, or quarterly basis. The generator owner’s manual will provide detailed information regarding the generator you own. If this manual does not provide enough information regarding services and repair work you may want to consider contacting a generator repair service professional.
Some common maintenance tasks include making sure it uses a battery to start that it is charged. You might want to consider using a battery maintainer to keep it topped up.
Check the air filter, make sure it is clean and free from debris including animal nests.
If you have a gasoline or diesel powered generator it is usually recommended to empty the fuel between uses, although some manufacturers say it is safe to store fuel in the tank this is probably a case of better safe than sorry. If you do keep fuel in the tank make sure it is stabilized using products like Sta-Bil Fuel Stabilizer. Same goes for any extra fuel you keep on hand.
Make sure the engine oil is clean and free from contaminants. Oil change periods can vary between generator types and the environments they are operated in, for example dusty environments require more attention, so consult your owners manual for specifics, but most experts recommend you change the oil every 50 to 200 hours or every 2 years.
Run the generator monthly for about 30 minutes to make sure that the engine stays lubricated, fuel is circulating though the system, and if equipped with an electric ignition the battery is charged and the ignition system is working. During your monthly startup you should also test the generator under load to make sure it is producing the output that it should.
When your generator is not in use, the best place to store it is inside of a shed, basement, or garage. This prevents weather related damage and keeps animals from nesting or chewing on cables. However NEVER run a generator in an enclosed space. If you decide to keep it outside make sure you cover it up, this will minimize damage and extend the life of the equipment.
Keep the generator clean. Because most emergency generators sit for long periods of time, tucked away, they can collect dust, spider webs, and other debris. This buildup over time can cause problems with operation. A good way to clean everything out is to use compressed air and or wipe everything down with a damp cloth.
Warning signs that indicate the emergency generator may need service or repair work
Prevent breakdowns by understanding any warning signs that may indicate your generator needs service or repair work.
Warning signs that may indicate the generator needs service or repair work are when it starts to make unusual noises. This includes grinding, squealing, or anything else that is not typically part of the initial startup. If you observer any of these signs the generator should immediately be shut off to prevent any further damage being done to the generator itself.
Another warning sign that emergency generator may need service or repair work are if you notice any puddles of liquid . This liquid may be coolant, oil, gasoline, or anything else that could cause damage to the generator. If any of this occurs inspect for damage and make any necessary repairs. Make sure the generator is clean and dry before restarting it.
Emergency generators are an integral part of emergency preparedness. If you don’t conduct proper maintenance, the generator could break down when your home needs it most, during a power outage or hurricane. To avoid this problem, make sure to maintain your generator by following your maintenance plan and all maintenance guidelines. Pay close attention to any warning signs that may indicate the generator needs service or repair work. By keeping up with routine inspections and maintenance before these issues arise will help extend its lifespan so it is always ready for emergencies!