A standby generator is one of the best investments a business can make. Powerful enough to sustain entire facilities, these electrical generators also last for literally decades; it’s not unusual for standby generators to last for 20 or 30 years. It all depends on how often the machine is put in to service and how well maintained it is.

There might be a tendency to skip the routine maintenance on a standby or backup generator but that’s a big mistake and it flies in the face of the entire reason you purchased the backup power source in the first place. Without regular maintenance and testing, how can you be certain that the generator will start up and be able to provide the power you need the next time you need it? If you were concerned enough about being without power to buy a generator, then you should be diligent enough to also invest in a maintenance routine for it.

Creating A Standby Generator Maintenance Plan

Not sure what kinds of maintenance is required on a machine you hardly ever use? Start with the manufacturer’s recommended maintenance schedule and tweak it from there. Preventative maintenance schedules are usually based on engine hours and/or time periods.

The schedule you set should be based on your specific use patterns and needs. A generator that is used more often will need more frequent maintenance. One that isn’t used very much will only require the minimum amount of maintenance. Keep in mind the environment, hot, humid, dusty, or very cold conditions may warrant special service.

Create weekly, monthly, bi-annual, and annual checklists.

  • Run the generator once a week to ensure proper operation and that there are no fluid leaks.
  • Every month, check fluid levels when the engine is cool, make sure the surrounding area is clean and free of debris, and check the battery charger.
  • Every 6 months, inspect the enclosure, test the battery, inspect belts, lines, hoses, and connectors, the exhaust system, and air filter.
  • Annually, check the electrical connections, change fluids and filters, and flush the cooling system. Perform load bank testing and fuel reconditioning if needed.

This is not a complete maintenance checklist, but it does give you an idea of the kinds of things to look for and how frequently to do it. For a more comprehensive checklist, consult a generator maintenance technician or check your operator manual. But whatever you do, don’t skip the maintenance!  You’ll regret it the first time the generator fails to perform when you need it!