Suddenly your whole world turns upside down and you now don’t have access to any of your basic needs. You’re worried about the food in the fridge, you wonder how long your cell phone battery will last, and you’re fumbling around in the dark. The power is out!
A power outage, if you’re lucky, is a minor inconvenience for a few hours. However, if you’re a small business or the outage is lasting longer than you anticipated at your home, your losses can start to add up.
When it comes to protecting your home or business, a generator is key to avoid a costly catastrophe.
You might think the need for a generator isn’t necessary unless you live in a high-risk area with lots of natural disasters. On the contrary, it’s smart for everyone to have at least one generator for their home or business no matter where they live. Power can go out for long periods of time for dozens of reasons, and your products, home, or even your personal safety could be at risk without power.
Whether you decide to buy new or used, owning a generator also means taking care of the generator! Keep your purchase in top shape with these must-know generator maintenance tips.
Top 7 Tips For Overall Generator Maintenance
Generators do more than you think. They’re not only short term solutions to disaster situations. In fact, did you know that generators power sea rescue vessels all around the world?
Generators can save your skin in an emergency situation, but they can also help power your home or small business intermittently or on a long-term basis. Government agencies, private businesses, and thousands of households around the world use them.
Before you spend your hard earned cash only to have a melted, broken down generator a few years later, make sure you know how to care for it properly. If cared for, a standby generator can last from 10,000 to 30,000 hours! That means the potential for decades of use.
1. Timely Removal of Worn Out Parts
If a part in your generator is getting old, replace it before you know you need to. While it may seem like an unnecessary expense, replacing the parts of your generator at the end of their documented lifespan will save you money in the end and ensure a longer life for your generator.
It’s best to document when you replace these parts and write down the date of service so you know how long it will last and when it’s due for another upgrade.
2. Maintain General Cleanliness of the Generator and Its Surroundings
This may sound like a no-brainer, but it’s the simplest and easiest way to ensure a full life for your generator, whether it’s diesel or gas powered.
Do a visual inspection at least once a month and make sure you clean in and around the generator before and after storage. If your generator is operating outside, making sure it stays as clean and dry as possible is important to maintain efficiency and longevity.
A generator cover to keep dust and dirt off your generator is never a bad idea, especially when it’s not in use.
3. Inspect Batteries and Wiring Regularly
Units that stay outside, especially those used during a storm, can take a beating. Regularly inspect the unit to confirm that there are no loose clamps or wire connections.
You’ll also want to regularly check for corrosion happening on or in the generator. Corrosion can weaken connections and joints, causing the generator to malfunction at the time you need it most. Inspect batteries for cleanliness and signs of corrosion as well.
4. Replace Fluid and Lubrication Oil In Your Generator
You don’t always know when the next big storm is going to hit, so it’s best to have these items on hand before you need them.
Much like a car, your generator will need an oil change at some point. For a small, standby generator used for emergencies, you will need replacement oil after only 24 hours of continuous use. Then, every 50-60 hours of operating time after that. It’s best to stock up well on extra oil so you won’t worry about running out while you’re using your generator.
5. Air Filter
Again, much like your vehicle, your generator will need a replacement air filter at some point. When to do so depends on how often you use your generator and whether it’s standby or continuously in use.
Air filters protect the engine from dirt and debris that could otherwise get into combustion chambers of your generator. If this happens, premature wearing of the materials inside your generator can cause failure and permanent damage. An old air filter will do no good in keeping out harmful debris, so you’ll need to regularly change it out.
Depending on the type of generator you have, you can either clean it or will have to completely replace the filter. Either way, it’s easy and worth the effort!
6. Lock It Down
Many generator owners overlook this important step when thinking of long-term generator maintenance. The only thing worse than the loud buzzing of the generator is the sound of silence when someone has stolen your costly investment.
“Out of sight, out of mind” is the best method for securing generators: using them inside your garage or shed if possible is the best option. But since generators are often stored or used outside, take some time to secure it to your property. This especially concerns portable generators!
The use of chains and padlocks to secure your generator to your building, tree, or other stable object is a popular way of securing your generator that won’t cost you much extra money.
7. Power Up Your Generator Every Three Months
It’s recommended that you power up your generator every 3 months for 30 minutes or so if you haven’t used it in a long time. This ensures that the battery is sufficiently charged and fluids are still moving through the generator.
This also ensures that you catch any issues with the generator when you are not in an emergency situation so it can be repaired for the future.
Get Your Generator Before It’s Too Late
A generator is a smart investment for your business or your home in the event of a power outage. The amount of potential loss from a lack of electricity is not worth risking when owning and operating a generator is so easy.
In fact, with proper generator maintenance, you may only buy a new generator every 20-30 years! Need help finding the right generator for you and your business? Check out our buying guides or contact us today!