The Importance of Performing Maintenance on Your Standby Generator

If you’ve had a standby generator installed at your home or place of business, you’ve already taken the first really important step to ensure your power stays on in the aftermath of a storm or natural disaster. Are you maintaining your generator properly to ensure it functions at its best when you need it most?

It’s possible that your investment will last decades—20 or 30 years—if well maintained (after all, it’s not working all the time and top-quality generators are built to run for tens of thousands of hours over their lifetime). To protect that investment and your home, preventive maintenance is necessary and should be done by a certified technician. If you are in a severe environment or have experienced numerous power outages, more frequent service may be needed.

As we shared in a video earlier this year, you as the owner, can perform a visual inspection every month or have your contractor do so, especially if the generator has been running for any extended period of time. You’ll first want to make sure the area is clean of debris and that no critters have set up house inside an enclosed unit. When the unit is not running, check the oil level and maintain the level as close to full as possible. Do not overfill it.

NOTE: if the generator has been running, wait 10 minutes after it shuts down so all of the oil in the engine can drain back into the sump.

What the generator technician will check semi-annually or annually

Make sure the company you call for maintenance follows this general systems and parts inspection list, which are key to your generator’s performance:

  • Air system (combustion and cooling air) – air filters should be replaced.
  • Starters (batteries and charger)
  • Transfer switch

These last two items are often overlooked so be sure your HVAC/generator contractor is checking these, as they help power the unit.

Other routine maintenance services are to replace, clean and/or perform a visual inspection of the following:

  • Oil & oil filter
  • Spark plugs & spark wires
  • Battery terminals & cables
  • Air intake & exhaust system
  • Engine starting system
  • Fuel lines & hoses
  • Voltage input & electrical connections
  • Vibration & insulation conditions
  • Control board operation
  • Transfer switch operation & controls

This is not a complete list of standby generator maintenance points, and there may be other preventive maintenance actions required for your particular unit; your installer or your new maintenance contractor should review these with you. Of course, having a preventive maintenance contract will ensure the inspections are done right, done on time, and that proper actions are taken without out having to think about them. Want to know more? Contact Bloomfield Cooling, Heating & Electric at (973) 237-0505 or info@bloomfieldcooling.com to set up a consultation for your standby generator.