Your home standby generator is your lifeline during a power outage, and as such you need to make sure that it’s kept in peak condition year-round. The best way to do this is through a maintenance contract with a reputable installation contractor, but how do you know whether the work done is worth the cost?
Here’s our generator maintenance checklist of essential tasks, which will give you an idea of what is covered in annual servicing:
Task #1: Checking the overall condition
Your generator maintenance contractor generally begins with an overall check to see if there are any loose wires or connections, buttons that have become stuck or elements showing signs of corrosion. At the same time, he cleans out the area surrounding the unit to ensure that no garden debris can get into the unit and cause problems. He’ll repair any damaged parts or replace frayed wiring where necessary.
Task #2: Battery exam
Your home standby generator uses a 26R Wet Cell battery to start it. The battery needs to be checked regularly as does the smart battery charger. The technician tests these to make sure the battery is outputting the appropriate voltage and that it’s charging adequately, otherwise when the time comes for the generator to start up you may find it doesn’t happen.
If you live in a region where the temperature drops below the freezing mark, the contractor will recommend that he installs a cold weather kit for you. The kits come with a battery warmer and an oil filter heater that has its own thermostat build in to maintain the right battery and oil temperatures.
Task #3: Lube change
Just like a car engine, your generator’s engine needs a range of fluids to operate efficiently. The contractor typically changes the oil annually, whether you used your generator in the preceding year or not. He – or you – should be keeping a log book in which you record the date of each service and note when the oil is changed.
Task #4: Spark plugs
Your generator maintenance checklist includes regular spark plug examinations. It’s preferable to change the spark plugs each year to prevent ignition difficulties in your time of need, but at the very least you should ensure that they get a good cleaning during the annual checkup.
Task #5: Bolt security
Your contractor checks the bolts securing the generator and its cabinet in position, because these are inclined to loosen over time as a result of the vibration of the machinery. At the same time, he checks the gasket head and piston to see if it’s in good condition. If it’s worn or damaged in any way it’s scheduled for replacement as well.
Task #6: Air filter
Your generator needs a new air filter regularly too. Just as the air filter in a car engine picks up every speck of dust that passes through it, so does your generator. The technician will typically replace this each time he services the unit to keep it ready for the next time you need to use it.
Don’t risk needing expensive repairs to your home standby generator. Get yourself a generator maintenance contract that will keep it running in tip-top shape.