Even a short power outage can cost businesses more than $740,357 per outage. That’s enough to derail your entire month’s productivity and projected earnings.
Commercial generators allow you to keep running even during prolonged outages without losing productivity. And they’re built to last. But no matter what type of generator you have, you’ll need to maintain it if you want to get the best performance from the system.
Use this simple commercial generator maintenance checklist to keep your unit running properly for years to come.
1. Keep It Covered
Your generator sits outside in the elements. And no matter what type of generator you have, that constant exposure will increase the wear and tear on its components.
The best way to protect your generator is to keep it covered. Permanent generators should have permanent hard-shell covers that protect the system from the rain, wind, and hail. These covers allow for adequate air flow when the generator turns on and protect the system even during severe weather events.
Portable units should at very least have a fitted cover that stays put in the wind. Keep in mind that you will have to remove the cover to use the generator.
2. Check the Filters Before You Start It Up
Think of your commercial generator as an engine. It has filters that trap debris and contaminants, just like your car. And the longer the generator runs, the more clogged those filters will get.
Before you run the system, check the filters. The more clogged they are, the less efficiently the system will run. And the more expensive it will be to keep your business powered up.
If the filters look dirty or you see tons of dust and debris attached to the material, replace them.
3. Inspect Oil Levels
Without oil, the generator’s components would grind against each other and break down quickly. That’s why every business owner should check the oil levels in their generators at least once a month.
If the oil is low, top it off. And if it looks black or gunky, change it out. And keep track of how many hours the generator has run since the last oil change.
As a general rule, you’ll want to replace the oil after 500 hours of use.
4. Make Sure the Belts Are in Good Shape
The system puts strain and pressure on the belts inside the generator even when it’s not running. As part of your monthly maintenance routine, inspect the belts.
If they’re frayed, overstretched, or torn, replace them. This will help you avoid unexpected breakdowns when you need the generator to kick on in the first place.
5. Walk Around the Unit
The inside of your generator isn’t the only thing you need to worry about. You also need to inspect the outside of the unit.
Walk around the exterior of the generator. If you have a cover, check it for signs of damage. If you don’t have a cover, make sure the area around the generator is completely clear.
Look for signs of rodents and pests nesting in the system. If you see anything that looks out of place, contact your pest control team immediately and have a professional inspect the generator for damage.
6. Monitor Batteries for Corrosion
Batteries are the most common cause of generator issues and maintenance problems. Over time, their connections can get loose, the terminals can corrode, and your generator won’t be able to start.
Each month, inspect the batteries for wear and tear. Tighten any loose connections that you see. And if you notice signs of corrosion, it may be best to replace the batteries altogether.
7. Test Your Fuel
Believe it or not, your fuel will break down over time. And when this happens, the generator will run less efficiently and can get dirtier faster.
This results in more frequent maintenance and can shorten the lifespan of your generator, whether it’s a portable or permanent model.
Take the time to test the fuel throughout the year. Monitor it for breakdowns and change out the fuel at least once a year. This will keep the internal components fresh and clean longer.
Clean fuel can mean the difference between a generator that runs well and one that breaks down right when you need it most.
8. Start It Up
Generators start to break down when they don’t get used. Try to run your generator for at least 30 minutes every month.
This redistributes the fluids, oil, and lubricants throughout the system. Without regular use, many of the components stiffen up and can get damaged when you need to run the generator at all.
Don’t worry—running the system for 30 minutes once a month won’t cost you much in fuel. But it can save you hundreds in unnecessary repairs.
And if anything is wrong, you’ll have the chance to make minor repairs before you need to use your generator in an emergency.
9. Keep the Fuel Tank Full
Yes, letting fuel sit is a great way to gum up your generator. But letting the tank go empty can be just as bad.
Remember, you have a generator to provide power during emergencies. Without fuel, the system can’t run. And no one wants to run out in a bad storm or severe power outage to fill up the fuel tank.
Instead, always keep the tank filled and test your fuel for quality at least once a year.
Stay on Commercial Generator Maintenance
Regular commercial generator maintenance is key in keeping the system running well for years to come. Use this checklist as a starting point and always let a professional service the system for major repairs.
When the time comes to replace your generator, save yourself the frustration of buying a system on your own. Speak with our experts and let us help you find the right generator for your business’s unique needs.