Generator Maintenance Checklist

A generator is there to provide power in remote areas or to deliver electricity during a power outage. To ensure you always have the power you need, when you need it, regular maintenance is critical.

Some maintenance tasks should be performed each time you use the generator, while others can be spaced out over weeks, months or years. You may perform certain maintenance tasks yourself, but it’s best to leave more involved tests and procedures to maintenance professionals.

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What Is an Ideal Generator Maintenance Schedule?

Ideally, you’ll divide your generator maintenance tasks into daily, weekly, monthly and annual tasks. The preferred schedule for your generator depends on how frequently you use it and under what conditions.

Some maintenance tasks should be performed each time you use the generator, which means you may need to perform basic maintenance daily. Others can be reserved for weekly or monthly updates. The big maintenance tests, such as an inspection by a certified technician or oil and filter changes, can be performed once or twice a year.

Benefits of Regular Generator Maintenance

Whether you use your generators for standby power or to supply electricity in a remote area, there are multiple benefits to keeping them in the best condition possible:

  • Helps you detect issues early: Early detection is the best way to mitigate performance problems. When you spot an issue while it’s still small, it typically requires less effort to fix. Conversely, if a problem goes undetected, it can cause significant damage to your generator equipment.
  • Saves time: Small problems take less time to fix than bigger issues. That means your generator will be up and running again with less downtime, increasing your productivity and minimizing time waste.
  • Saves money: It’s often more cost-effective to fix small problems. If an issue with a generator becomes large enough, you may need to replace the entire piece of equipment, which can be very costly.
  • Extends the life of your generator: You want to maximize the life of your generator and make the most of your investment. Ongoing, regular maintenance helps you get your money’s worth.
  • Increases the equipment’s efficiency: The less fuel your generator needs, the more money you save. Well-maintained generators burn fuel more efficiently, which will keep your energy costs in check.
  • Reduces carbon monoxide production: Diesel-powered generators can produce carbon monoxide, an odorless, potentially fatal gas, if they aren’t maintained. Regular maintenance ensures the engine burns fuel correctly and vents properly.

Ensure Your Generator’s Optimum Performance Before Its Too Late

Our skilled technicians are steadfast in their commitment to maintaining the peak performance of your generators, conducting routine inspections and attentive maintenance services. And when unexpected need arises? We’re always ready, offering around-the-clock emergency services, 24/7 for unprecedented peace of mind.

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Generator Inspection Checklist

Whether performed daily, weekly, monthly or annually, every generator inspection should start with looking at the equipment to see if there are any notable or new signs of wear. You should also look for signs of leaking or dirt on the generator.

After a quick visual inspection, the tasks you perform depend on where you are in the maintenance schedule.

Daily Maintenance Checks

If you run your generator daily, here’s what to look for:

  • Oil leaks
  • Signs of rodent, insect or other pest intrusion
  • Alarms or warning lights

You’ll usually be able to see signs of an oil leak on the floor or ground around the generator. Signs of a rodent or insect infestation can be harder to spot. Keep an eye out for chew marks, droppings or the critters themselves.

When you power the generator on for the day, pay attention to any warning lights that come on or alarms that sound. Never ignore warning lights — you’ll want to correct any issues they indicate quickly, before they cause damage to the equipment or lead to more problems.

Weekly Maintenance Checks

If you only run the generator weekly, you’ll perform the daily maintenance tasks at that time. On top of those tasks, there are a few other things you’ll want to check:

  • Overall appearance of the generator
  • Fluid levels
  • Signs of leaks

You’ll want to run the generator in automatic mode to ensure that feature is functioning properly. It’s also a good idea to turn the generator on and examine the exhaust system weekly. Inspect the manifold, muffler and exhaust pipes to ensure they aren’t leaking or overheating.

Listen to the engine — it should purr, not buzz. It shouldn’t smoke or vibrate excessively either.

Monthly Maintenance Checks

Certain inspection and maintenance tasks need to be performed monthly, such as battery and coolant inspection.

Inspect the coolant level and the oil level, making sure there aren’t any leaks in the lines. It’s also a good idea to inspect the coolant concentration. A 1:1 ratio of antifreeze to water is ideal.

You will likely need to clean the battery cables and cell ports monthly, using a soft toothbrush to remove dirt and corrosion.

You may also need to replace the oil and spark plugs monthly as well, depending on how much use your generator sees. You might consider performing load testing each month to confirm the generator operates correctly.

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Yearly Maintenance Checks

Most maintenance tasks should be performed annually to keep your generator operating smoothly, as doing so will extend its service life. While you can perform daily, weekly and monthly tasks yourself, you may consider bringing in a certified technician to perform an annual maintenance inspection.

Some of the tasks that should be performed as part of an annual maintenance schedule include:

  • Changing the oil and oil filters
  • Inspecting the air intake system
  • Inspecting the electrical system and wiring
  • Performing load bank testing
  • Performing a function test
  • Cleaning the generator

The exact maintenance procedures your generator needs during its annual inspection will depend on the type of equipment you have, its age and your technician’s recommendations. If you keep up with weekly and monthly maintenance, your generator will likely need less care and attention during its annual tuneup.

Turn to H.O. Penn for Generator Maintenance Service

H.O. Penn is a full-service provider of Cat® commercial power systems, which provide reliable electricity even in remote locations. Our technicians can provide regular inspections and maintenance service for your generators. We’re also on call and available to provide emergency service 24/7.

To set up your generator’s maintenance and inspection schedule, contact us today for a quote.

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