Generator maintenance may not be the first thing on your mind when considering a purchase for your plant or office. That’s understandable since the specs and cost-to-benefit ratio are what command the most attention. And while a generator can save you a lot of money over time, those savings depend on how well you take care of it.

In the following article, we’ll be discussing the importance of preventative generator maintenance for your business.

What Is the Purpose of Regular Generator Maintenance?

Before understanding what to look for in preventative maintenance, it’s important to understand the purpose of maintaining the equipment in the first place. There are two: to extend the life of a generator and to ensure optimal performance out of it.

From there, the components of the maintenance may vary depending on whether you’re using a natural gas or diesel engine generator. Regardless, the purpose remains the same. You want it to last as long as possible and save you money on upkeep and downtime.

Another factor important in cost-savings is warranty expiration. If you’re not properly maintaining the equipment, it can lead to lapses in your warranty due to buyer neglect. Keep this in mind if you’re ever feeling tempted to skip maintenance or a needed repair.

Now that we’ve covered those bases, let’s look at the six major factors important to your preventative maintenance efforts. If you’re looking for a generator to see you through potential power outages, here’s what you should be paying attention to.

1. Past Inspection Reports

Are you buying new or purchasing a generator with a history? There’s no right or wrong answer to this. Some used generators hold up very well.

If you are going this route, however, you’ll want to get your hands on all the old inspection reports to ensure there aren’t reoccurring or inexplicable problems. These are equally important to the five key factors to consider when buying a backup commercial generator, so don’t overlook them.

2. System Inspection

The best way to diagnose a diesel-electric generator’s potential issues is to work broad to small and take a close look at how each of its individual systems are operating from the outset.

If everything is working as it should be, you won’t necessarily have to do a deeper dive beyond the routine maintenance actions we’ll discuss in more depth below.

3. Component Inspection

A faulty system inspection will help you hone in on your diesel standby generator and get down to the component issues that may be keeping it from optimal performance.

That said, don’t skip over looking at all the major parts of a generator just because you don’t hear or see anything odd when testing or using the equipment.

4. Analyze Technical Data

An analysis of technical data after operating a diesel backup generator will lend valuable insight.

It tells you what is working well, what isn’t, and what your potential next moves should be, so learn to read the data and draw conclusions from it.

5. Pay Attention to Part Replacement Schedules

Diesel maintenance guidelines always come with a list of recommended part replacement schedules.

We’ll be using this as our guideline when we get into the typical maintenance timeline below. For now, we’ll just say that it’s important to read your manual, familiarize yourself with diagrams and generator anatomy, and know which parts are the most vital and need to be replaced quickly.

6. Environmental Considerations

The last factor important to when and how often you should schedule your preventative maintenance is environmental influence.

Will you be using your generator a lot, and will you be keeping it in conditions that could either protect or place a heavier strain on it? If so, you may wish to consider adjusting the timeline below accordingly.

Typical Maintenance Timeline

Generators certainly vary depending on type and size, so you’ll want to look at the suggested maintenance timeline below as a guide, not the be-all and end-all. To determine a more specific course of action for yours, talk to your service professional and read all documentation.

Google parts and systems you’re unfamiliar with if you have to. We’ve chosen the diesel generator as our example since it’s a sizable one and predicted to be the fastest-growing between now and 2025.

Daily

On a daily basis, it can help to institute a series of checks that can help you prevent issues before they develop. This would include checking the following:

  • Coolant heater and levels
  • Oil and fuel levels
  • Charge-air piping

It’s helpful to crank up the generator regardless of whether it’s needed. The daily routine of testing it out will get you familiar with its operation and help you understand when there is a potential issue.

Weekly

Once a week, it’s important to drain the fuel filter and any excess water from the fuel tank.

This also is a good time to check the air cleaner and clean it as needed, as well as the battery charger. Don’t let more than two weeks pass without addressing these issues, which only takes a professional a few moments to adequately perform.

Monthly

Check the tension of the belt as well as any batteries and coolant concentration. Additionally, you’ll want to drain condensation from the exhaust.

Bi-Annually

Twice per year, or every six months, you will want to take a look at the radiator hoses and clean the crankcase breather, which allows built-up gas pressure to escape and relieves the strain on the generator.

You’ll also want to change out filters (oil, coolant, fuel) and the air cleaner element.

Annually

The annual inspection isn’t quite as involved, but the task ahead is a major one nonetheless. That’s to make sure the cooling system is working properly.

If your generator is of the smaller kind, then you probably use an air-based cooling process. The larger, more industrial-strength generators operate with a liquid coolant. Make sure that whoever you hire has experience working with whichever type is in your possession.

Keeping Your Generator Maintained Will Make All the Difference

The importance of generator maintenance cannot be overstated. These expensive pieces of machinery can nevertheless pay huge dividends in ensuring that there isn’t any disruption to your company or business.

Are you in the market for a new or used generator? Consider giving Industrial Motor Power Corporation a call today for a no-obligation quote.