Like any other appliance, generators also need proper maintenance to run usefully for a long time. Regular inspection and servicing of the parts make the running smooth and effective. It will also give you the required power output and run for extended periods without trouble. The following are six ways to maintain your generator to prolong its useful life.
- Change the Oil
Changing the oil regularly is an important part of the maintenance of a generator. The frequency of changing the oil depends on certain factors such as the brand, model of your generator, how often you use it, and the working environment. So, the best way to decide when you need to change the oil is by referring to your user manual. Generally, it is recommended to change the oil every 50 – 200 hours of operation. However, newer models with advanced technology may require fewer oil changes than the old ones as they burn cleaner. For a brand new generator, you should change the oil after the first eight hours of use. If the working environment of the generator is dusty, you will have to change the oil more frequently.
- Keep Your Generator Clean
The next important step in proper maintenance is to keep your generator clean throughout. Your generator is more likely to get contaminated with dust and debris when being in the same location for long periods. If the components such as the rotor, stator, and bearings build up grime, the parts will wear out faster. Therefore, regardless of the frequency of usage, you should always keep the generator clean. Check the air filter weekly and clean it thoroughly. Increase the number of times you inspect the generator if it is in a dusty area.
- Start and Run It
Since generators are used mostly as an alternative power source, sometimes you may not need to use them for months or years at a stretch. But this damages the generator when kept idle for so long. Therefore, you should start the generator at least once a month and allow it to run for some time. This helps to lubricate the components, charge the batteries, and make sure that the carburetor is functioning properly. Knowing that your generator works can keep your mind at peace in case the power goes off, and you need to turn on the generator.
- Test Your Generator
According to the National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA), there are certain standards that homeowners can follow when testing their generators. According to NFPA70, the non-critical generators used as occasional power sources should be tested at 30% – 50% of the maximum load. The generator should run at that load for 30 minutes at least once every four weeks.
- Avoid Old Gas
You should empty the fuel tank after each use so that you are running clean and efficient fuel every time. This should be followed, especially if you are using the generator occasionally and keeping it stored for most of the time. Old fuel sitting in the generator for a long can cause gum that harms the interior of the tank and the fuel line. So avoid using old gas and add fresh fuel to protect the components from corrosion and premature damage.
- Store Properly
Storing the generator properly is equally important when it comes to extending its useful life. Start by emptying the fuel tank and the fuel lines. Then store the generator in a cool, dry place so that it is not prone to rust. You can use generator sheds or even purchase tents and covers to keep your generator safe. Proper storage helps to keep the generator in optimal condition for a longer time.
Generator Maintenance Checklist
The service intervals of different components may vary with the brand, model, and manufacturer. So you are advised to follow the indications of your user manual. However, here is a basic generator maintenance checklist that will work for most cases.
- Clean Generator: Always keep your generator clean
- Change Oil: Every 50 – 200 hours
- Change Oil Filter: At every oil change
- Change Air Filter: 25 hours or 1 year. But should clean regularly
- Change Spark Plugs: 100 hours or 1 year
- Check Fuel Filter: 100 hours or 1 year
- Check Battery: 100 hours or 1 year
- Add Fuel Stabilizer: When the generator is stored for over one month
- Run Generator With a Load: Every four weeks
Frequently Asked Questions
What Kind of Oil Should I Add to the Engine?
The type of oil that you should add to the engine depends on the generator manufacturer’s specifications. So, you can check this with your user manual or look it up online. Generally, high-quality 30-W oil is suitable for summer conditions and high-quality 10W-30 for winter conditions. This is because the viscosity of the oil varies with the environmental temperature. But you should definitely refer to your engine manual for oil recommendations and follow the indications.
How Can I Have a Generator Installed in My House?
According to the safety standards, you need to get a generator installed by a licensed electrician. They will install your generator and connect it to the house through a transfer switch to prevent any back-feeding to the system. You can determine the type of transfer switch you need; either a manual or automatic transfer switch depending on your requirement. The cost of your transfer switch also depends on these two types mainly, in addition to its brand and model.
How Do I Clean My Carburetor?
Cleaning the carburetor of a generator is a complex procedure that should be done by a mechanic. You need to remove the fuel line to get the carburetor off. Depending on the generator model, you may have to remove the fuel tank for this. Then clean inside the carburetor using carburetor cleaner.
If you know the importance of taking care of your generator, you will never fail to carry out the maintenance schedules. Maintaining your generator properly even when it is not in use will increase its value as you can get it running any time the power goes off. At that moment, you don’t need to keep worrying about whether it will be functioning properly or not. So keep your generator in good condition with proper inspection and maintenance.