Like any engine, a generator requires maintenance. Even if your generator is little used, you must maintain it to assure it functions properly.
Your generator is a backup system, which means you don’t know when you will need it. But an emergency is the wrong time to discover any problems.
How often should a generator be maintained?
“All generators require some maintenance,” says Tobias Sommer, president of Home Generators for Sale. “We suggest an annual maintenance for those who live in the Midwest because of its extreme temperature swings.”
The issue is pretty basic.
“The generator builds up a lot of condensation – just like your car window. That happens inside, and it breaks down the oil faster,” Tobias says.
If your generator runs continuously, maintain it about every 200 hours.
Track the actual hours used
Some people use generators as backups to alternative energy sources like wind and solar. If that’s how you do it, note how many hours you actually use the generator. You’ll likely need it checked more than once a year.
That’s also the case if you have a prolonged power outage for one to two weeks. After that much use, schedule a maintenance check to assure your generator is ready for the next outage.
Liquid-cooled & diesel-powered
Two types of generators need more-frequent maintenance. Liquid-cooled generators need it because they have a radiator and a larger engine. There’s simply more equipment to maintain.
Diesel engines need more maintenance because diesel fuel is dirtier. If it just sits and you don’t maintain the generator, the fuel can go bad.
How do I know it needs maintenance?
In addition to yearly maintenance, look for other signs. All new standby generators give alerts when maintenance is needed. There are green, yellow and red lights on their sides, and the yellow comes on when the generator needs maintenance.
This is just like the maintenance light in your car that indicates an oil change is needed. Generator lights also come on periodically to assure you check its battery and oil, and schedule annual maintenance.
New Generac generators come WiFi enabled. They can be linked to your online service so you get text messages and email notifications when maintenance is needed.
Nature can also wreak havoc
“I’ve seen neglected units where there’s insect or animal infiltration,” Tobias says. “Mud daubers get in and their nest shorts out the rudder, or mice make a nest in the air filter.”
This type of “natural” damage can be prevented with annual inspections by the Home Generators for Sale staff.
“We clean the whole unit and make sure there’s no way the insects or rodents can get back in,” he says.
What happens if I don’t maintain it?
“The biggest problem in the units that don’t get maintained is the engines blow up because of oil breakdown,” Tobias says.
Generators have safety features for oil pressure and temperature, but they don’t have oil viscosity safeties.
“When the oil breaks down so badly it doesn’t lubricate anymore, it causes serious engine problems.”
Contact Home Generators for Sale today at (402) 298-5355 and schedule your generator maintenance.