If you have made the investment in a standby generator, you’ve taken the first important step to make sure you are protected if your house loses power due to extreme weather such as blistering heat, ice storms, and thunderstorms. Those utility power outages can result in flooding, spoiled food, lost data, etc.
But are you taking it one step further by maintaining it? Standby generator maintenance is critical to help extend the life of your generator and to guard against problems if things go wrong. That is true whether your generator is powered by natural gas, propane or diesel fuel
What Can Go Wrong When You Skip Generator Maintenance
What could possibly go wrong if you don’t care for your standby generator? Without standby generator regular maintenance, here are just a few things that can go wrong.
- Your battery fails either because the battery charger is bad, or the battery is old.
- The belts and hoses deteriorate and become damaged.
- There are problems with the cooling system, ranging from a dirty radiator or low coolant levels to engine coolant that needs to be replaced.
- The engine oil breaks down because it has not had an oil change, leading to low oil levels.
- Your generator safety shutdown and alarm fail.
- Other electrical connections loosen.
- Critters (rats, mice, snakes, wasps, birds, etc.) find a home in your generator and chew through electrical wiring.
- If you are using diesel fuel to power a diesel generator, the fuel can deteriorate.
Maintaining Your Generator
All of these problems can be minimized with regular maintenance. But it’s a team effort. There are some things you can do, and others left to professionals. Hopefully, when you bought your backup generator from an authorized service dealer, you purchased a preventative maintenance plan at the same time. If you didn’t, consider adding one now.
Homeowner’s Standby Generator Maintenance Schedule
Here is a guide to standby generator maintenance that will help you care for the system. First, some things you can do:
- Run the generator and ensure it runs without alarms or warnings.
- Ensure that the generator is in “Auto” mode for automatic startup.
- Make sure that the circuit breaker is closed.
- Check for fluid leaks.
- Check engine coolant levels.
- Check the oil in the engine.
- Check the battery charger.
Professional Preventative Maintenance Schedule
Now some things that can be addressed through a professional maintenance plan:
- Inspect the enclosure.
- Check the battery electrolyte level and specific gravity.
- Check battery cables and connections.
- Inspect drive belts.
- Inspect the coolant heater.
- Check the coolant lines and connections.
- Check for oil leaks and check the oil level.
- Inspect the lubrication system hoses and connectors.
- Check for fuel leaks.
- Inspect fuel system hoses and connectors.
- Inspect the exhaust system, including the muffler and exhaust pipe.
- Clean air filter units.
- Inspect air induction piping and connections.
- Inspect the DC electrical system, control panel, and accessories.
- Inspect the AC wiring and accessories.
- Change the oil and oil filter.
- Change the fuel filter.
- Change the air filter.
- Change the spark plugs.
- Clean the crankcase breather.
- Check coolant concentration.
- Flush the cooling system.
- Perform a load bank test.
- Fuel testing & reconditioning (diesel-fueled units only).
- Drain water from the fuel tank (diesel-fueled units only).
Ravinia Plumbing, Sewer, Heating & Electric Can Help You with Standby Generator Maintenance
When you purchase a standby generator from Ravinia Plumbing, we will offer you a few maintenance plan options. Your technician will discuss these with you and help you select the one that best fits your needs.
We’ve been in business since 1928 (that’s 95 years!), and we’ve made a name for ourselves as one of the most trusted and reliable HVAC, plumbing, drain and sewer, and electrical companies in Chicagoland. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.