How To Care For Your Generator: A Checklist for Maintenance

24th Jan 2020

Here’s a checklist so you can keep your generator in tip-top shape.

In the U.S., residents can expect to lose power an average of 1.3 times a year, for about four hours, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA).

A lot can happen in that timeframe.

Four hours without your HVAC system running can cause your property to get hot and humid in the summer months and can put your house or building at risk for frozen pipes during the winter.

Without power, the food in your refrigerator and freezer can spoil. Your home or property – and its inhabitants – can also be in danger if your security system is down for a period of time. This opens you up to potential theft and vandalism.

Installing a generator – and keeping it well maintained – can help you bypass these issues at your home or business. Generators can provide energy to your property when your main source of power is out, allowing you to keep the necessary appliances, HVAC units and electrical devices and systems running. A proper generator maintenance procedure is also key to your power needs.

Importance of Maintaining Your Generator

While installing a generator is the first step, keeping it maintained to ensure it works when you need it during a power failure is just as important. Proper generator maintenance can provide the following benefits.

Enhance its Lifespan and Efficiency

Maintaining a generator allows it to run at its fullest capacity – for longer. Checking the unit regularly lets you catch and repair small issues early before they become larger, ensuring the unit will operate when you need it. When maintained properly, generators can last about 20 years, according to HomeAdvisor.com, depending on the amount of use. Performing regular maintenance and repairing issues as they occur can help prolong the lifespan of the system.

Ensure Your Family’s Safety

As generators age, they can develop leaks, cracks and damaged parts. Your family’s safety can be put at risk if maintenance isn’t performed promptly to resolve these issues. One of the most dangerous threats is a carbon monoxide leak. While generators emit some carbon monoxide, if a unit is producing more than it should be, it can create a very dangerous situation for everyone in your home or property. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, carbon monoxide – a colorless and odorless gas – kills hundreds of people each year, and causes illness in thousands more. Performing regular maintenance on your unit to check the carbon monoxide levels can help keep your household and everyone in the property safe.

Make Sure it’s Ready When You Need it

You want to make sure your generator can quickly provide power to your home or building when you need it during a blackout. One way to ensure it will kick on when needed is to perform tests. Running the unit intermittently for a few minutes when your property has power can help ensure the generator will work during the next outage.

Generator Maintenance Checklist

To keep your generator functioning properly when you need it most, use this generator checklist for maintenance tips as suggested by PopularMechanics.com, ConsumerReports.org and Energy.gov.

    ☐ Schedule yearly maintenance with a professional.

    ☐ Ensure that the generator is in a dry location and that no moisture is getting in it.

    ☐ Make sure the unit is properly grounded to prevent shocks or electrocution.

    ☐ Check the outlets on the generator and make sure all safety procedures are being followed and appliances are plugged into the unit correctly.

    ☐ Test the carbon monoxide levels coming from the generator.

    ☐ Inspect storage tanks, valves and pipes for leaks, cracks and other damage.

    ☐ Examine all parts. Replace any that are damaged or worn and apply lubrication as needed.

    ☐ Check the fuel levels and refill as needed. Find a safe location to store extra fuel at your property.

    ☐ Inspect the coolant levels and replace as needed.

    ☐ Check the battery.

    ☐ Check the control panel to ensure it’s functioning as expected.

    ☐ Change the oil and filter. If the generator runs for several days, make sure to inspect the oil daily.

    ☐ Check the motor and its brushes. Replace the motor brushes if they show signs of wear and tear.

    ☐ Run the generator occasionally for a few minutes at a time to ensure it will work when you need it during a blackout.

Conclusion

Generators can be useful units for your home or building to help maintain your safety, productivity and comfort during a power outage. To ensure your generator works when you need it most, it’s important to keep the unit properly maintained throughout the year.

If you need more assistance or have questions about your unit, contact our team for more help with your generator needs.