A home generator is a big investment, so you want your generator to keep running for as long as possible. What’s the secret to a longer life? Maintenance and service! A well-maintained generator can last as long as 30 years, but one that isn’t regularly serviced will certainly run into problems well before then. If you want to make the most of your generator investment, start with regular standby generator maintenance. Power Products specializes in Kohler generators, so we will be using those as a reference point, but these maintenance tips can apply to all generator brands.
First: Read the Manual
All generators need to be serviced regularly, and they all have similar needs. However, not all generators are the same. Your specific model may need more frequent service or have specific needs that other models do not have. Make sure that you are familiar with your generator so that there are no surprises later.
Factors Affecting Standby Generator Service Frequency
Every standby generator should be run weekly for half an hour. This exercises the generator and ensures that it is ready to switch on in the event of a power outage. If you’re lucky, this weekly exercise is the only time throughout the year that your generator will need to switch on. However, we know that in New England that is often not the case.
If you experience frequent or lengthy power outages, your generator may be running for hundreds of hours per year. This type of heavy use puts a strain on your machine, so it may need more frequent service.
You should also consider your generator’s environment. Standby generators sit outside your home, so if your environment is particularly cold, hot, dusty, or otherwise difficult for your generator to manage, you may need to have it serviced more often.
There’s no need to have a professional technician come out to see your generator every month, but you also shouldn’t be ignoring your generator throughout the year. Once a month, you should perform some basic maintenance tasks, including:
- Visual inspection. Look at the wire connections and clamps to make sure nothing has come loose. If you have a gas powered generator, check its piping for damage or leaks. Make sure that the generator and the area around it is clean. This may include clearing away snow during the winter months.
- Check oil level. Between oil changes, check that your machine has enough oil. You may need to add some. Be sure to perform this check when the generator is off so that you can accurately measure your oil level.
- Check coolant level. Take a look at the overflow tank. You may need to add some coolant.
- Check fuel (for diesel generators). Be sure to add fuel when you’re running low. You don’t want to find out during a power outage that you’re running on empty.
Schedule Service with a Kohler Technician
There are basic maintenance tasks that you can perform yourself, but to ensure a long life for your generator you should schedule standby generator service with a qualified technician. Typically, this is done yearly, but keep in mind how often your generator runs and your specific generator model; you may need to schedule maintenance more often.
During these scheduled visits, your technician will perform maintenance tasks such as:
- Changing your oil and filter. Just as a car cannot keep running on old oil, your generator’s oil needs to be drained and replaced.
- Replacing air and fuel filters. Your air filter keeps dust and debris from clogging up your engine, so it’s important to have a clean one installed.
- Changing spark plugs. Spark plugs get worn out by frequent use. Your technician can install new ones to ensure your engine will keep running to the best of its ability.
- Other services. Your technician will perform a thorough inspection of your entire generator. If your generator has been damaged or parts are worn out, it may require additional service.
The Importance of Standby Generator Service
Just like your car, your generator needs regular service in order to function effectively. You can do many of the simpler maintenance tasks yourself, but it is essential that you have a professional service your generator at least once a year. Want to make sure that your generator stays in tip-top shape? Contact us today to schedule an appointment with one of our certified Kohler technicians.