Based on 30 minutes routine weekly exercise and with not power outages, a standby generator runs an average of 26 hours per yearly. Depending on blackouts, it may as well run hundreds of hours per year. Regardless of the case, a well maintained standby generator last for an average of 20 to 30 years. And to ensure long operating life it is must to implement an active Preventive Maintenance Program.
Preventive Maintenance and service of a standby generator is typically done based on two factors; engine running hours, and time intervals. Weather plays an important role as well to determine the service schedule. For instance if generator is exposed to harsh or extreme weather, it requires more frequent services and checkups.
All generator OEMs recommend preventive maintenance schedules. Maintenance includes general inspection and scheduled inspection of critical parts listed below.
- Fuel lines and fuel pump
- Coolant level, and water hoses
- Engine Lubricants and Filters
- Air intake filters and system including turbo chargers
- Ignition system (batteries, starter motor, connectors)
- Transfer Switch
Some basic tips for visual inspection which should be done monthly.
- Make sure generator’s surrounding area and inside enclosures (if it has canopy) are clean and no rodents are making homes their which can be very dangerous, for generator.
- Always check the oil level while engine is idle. If it is running, turn it off, and wait for 15 minutes to allow oil to come down in sump. Maintain the oil level at full but don’t ever overfill.
- Check coolant level and make sure it is full.
- Check the fuel/water separators and drain water if necessary. Check the fuel line for leaks or damage. Sometimes the fuel gets cracked over time. Bend it to check if crack are there and replace it if cracked.
- Make sure there are no loose clamps and wire connections, and no corrosion or damage to batteries, terminals and wiring.
In addition to monthly inspections, annual maintenance of a standby generator begins with changing the engine oil and filter, fuel filters, and cleaning of air filter. Check the belts for cracks and make sure they are in good condition. Check for leaks at front and rear engine seals.
You should also inspect Alternator thoroughly as it is often ignored. Dirt, heat and moisture affect alternator’s performance. Dirt blocks the heat transfer which is necessary to keep the windings cool. Heat damages the varnish insulation on the windings and moisture can cause windings to short to each other or to ground. It reduces the power that a winding can produce. You should consider cleaning and the inside of alternator and test the winding for possible shorts.
You should consider load testing the generator as well, which will ensure the generator’s performance in actual working conditions.
Bi-Annual Maintenance checklist
- Inspect the surrounding and enclosure.
- Inspect batteries, battery cables and connections.
- Inspect belts.
- Inspect the coolant heater.
- Check coolant lines and connections.
- Check for oil leaks and inspect lubrication hoses
- Check for fuel leaks and inspect fuel system hoses and connectors.
- Inspect the exhaust system, muffler and exhaust pipe.
- Check and clean air cleaner units.
- Inspect the wiring and accessories.
Annual Maintenance checklist
- Change oil and oil filter.
- Change the fuel filter.
- Change the air filter.
- Change spark plugs.
- Check coolant concentration.
- Flush the cooling system if needed.
- Do load bank testing.
- Check for water in fuel tank and clean the tank if needed.