For many businesses, standby generators are an essential purchase. Power outages can cause expensive downtime and, for businesses that deal with food, could cause merchandise to go bad as refrigeration systems deactivate. Keeping a generator ready to go at all times will certainly save you a lot of trouble. It naturally follows that the best way to keep that generator in working order is to implement preventive maintenance procedures to stop any problems before they start.

Your Generator Maintenance Schedule

Your regular maintenance plan should be divided into four categories: weekly, monthly, biannual, and annual inspections. Sticking to this schedule gives you a clear image of your generator’s condition, in addition to keeping it ready to switch on at a moment’s notice. Here’s a closer look at each maintenance schedule:

  1. Weekly
  2. Monthly
  3. Biannual
  4. Annual 

1) Weekly

Weekly maintenance largely consists of making sure the generator is, in fact, still working. Your checklist for weekly maintenance is:

  • Run the generator briefly and check for problems
  • Make sure automatic startup is turned on
  • Check for fluid leaks
  • Check for warning lights
  • Close the circuit breaker if it is open
  • Refuel as needed

2) Monthly

Every month, you’ll need to inspect the generator’s engine closely. Your tasks will include:

  • Inspect the battery charger
  • Check oil levels
  • Check engine coolant levels
  • Add oil and engine coolant as needed

3) Biannual

Semiannual inspections are broader than more frequent checkups, encompassing a larger service area. Your biannual tasks will include:

  • Inspect the battery: cables, connections, electrolyte level, gravity
  • Inspect coolant lines, connections, and heater
  • Check for oil, coolant, or fuel leaks
  • Inspect lubrication systems
  • Inspect fuel system and pipes
  • Inspect oil system and connections
  • Inspect and clean as necessary air pipes and cleaning units
  • Check the exhaust system and piping
  • Inspect the AC and DC electrical systems and connections

Pro Tip: For your biannual and annual generator inspections, schedule an appointment with a certified professional to help you out.

4) Annual

Finally, your annual generator inspection ensures your generator is in excellent condition and ready to go at any moment. Every year, you should:

  • Test and recondition fuel, as well as removing water from the fuel containment space (if the generator uses diesel fuel)
  • Inspect coolant concentration and clean the system as needed
  • Change spark plugs
  • Change air filter
  • Change fuel filter
  • Change oil and oil filter
  • Clean crankcase breather
  • Perform a load bank test

Service Your Generator on Schedule

Most businesses hope to only need their standby generator on a few occasions every year. Since you don’t need it every single day, it can be easy to forget about that piece of machinery that just seems to take up space. But neglecting your generator can leave you hanging in a power outage. Stick to your standby generator maintenance schedule and make sure it’s ready to go when you need it.

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