A Complete Guide to Power Generator Maintenance Schedules
Your generator is not just essential equipment for your operation; it also represents a significant investment. Like anything that is both critical and expensive, you want to ensure that you get the most value out of your power generator, and that means following its maintenance schedule to the letter. Better-maintained generators run smoother for longer and more efficiently too. In addition, you’ll avoid repair and replacement costs. That is, if you can give your specific generator the maintenance it needs.
Your guide to generator maintenance schedules is always outlined by the manufacturer, and most generators of a similar type and size will have similar maintenance schedules. For example, your gas generator’s maintenance needs are fairly similar to the maintenance requirements of all similarly sized gas generators. However, you should always get expert advice to adapt your schedule to the exact conditions your generator is in.
In this guide to industrial generator maintenance, we outline how often a typical generator needs to be serviced. However, you should always rely on expert guidance to fit the schedule to your power generator’s unique needs.
Measured in Hours & Maintenance Kits
The first thing you’ll notice about most OEM maintenance guides is that they list how often the generator needs maintenance based on the hours it has been running. This is more precise than simply listing “weekly” or “yearly” maintenance needs. You will need to know how long your generator runs on a typical day and keep an accurate count of its hours for your records.
However, because these numbers are a little different for each manufacturer, we’ll list the maintenance requirements in less precise terms below.
Also, don’t forget that even if a generator has not been running, it still requires maintenance. This is especially true of standby generators, which need to be kept in good form, so they are available for use during emergencies or power failures.
Lastly, check out your manufacturer’s guide for a maintenance kit list. Many OEMs offer maintenance kits containing the parts and consumables your generator needs. If you’re hiring a professional to do your maintenance, you may or may not need to purchase a kit.
Generator Weekly & Monthly Maintenance
On a weekly basis, you should do the following for your generator:
- Keep the area around the generator clear and free of debris, other equipment, rodents and more.
- While the unit is no longer running and has cooled down, check the oil level. If you’re unsure if it is cool enough, wait at least ten minutes after it stops running.
- Inspect wires, clamps, connections, and terminals. Nothing should be loose or corroded.
- For diesel generators, check the fuel level and the fuel/water separators. You may need to add fuel or drain water.
- For gas generators, look at the fuel supply lines for leaks.
At least monthly, your generator should get a maintenance cycle that includes a full inspection. A full inspection should cover every part of the generator, but it especially needs to cover these essential components and systems:
- Air system
- Starting system
- Coolant system
- Fuel system
- Transfer switch
Not only should this be a visual inspection, but some parts may need work done, especially for a diesel generator which requires more maintenance.
How Long Should I Run My Generator For Maintenance?
Standby generators may need to be run on a monthly basis in order to keep them in good shape. However, the length of time depends on the model and its fuel. You should check in with your manufacturer or your service provider to be sure.
Semi-Annual Generator Inspections
Roughly every six months, or every six months’ worth of working hours, generators need more substantial maintenance. This includes doing the following:
- Check the coolant-thermal protection.
- Inspect accessory drive belts for their condition and proper tension.
- Change the oil and the filter (though this may also be required monthly.)
- Check the alternator for dirt, moisture, or high heat conditions.
- Check the transfer switch; you will need to turn off its power.
- Inspect the enclosure.
- Clean air cleaner units.
- Check for oil leaks.
- Check the battery.
- Check all other major components with a monthly maintenance check.
Standby generators will likely not use their fuel every six months, so the fuel typically needs to be drained and replaced at this point. However, you can sometimes use fuel stabilizers to avoid this task for longer.
Annual Generator Maintenance
If you’ve been doing some of the maintenance tasks yourself or having someone on your team do them, we strongly recommend that you at least get a professional in for your yearly maintenance. They can spot things others may miss and help you adjust your maintenance schedule to account for your specific power usage. Here are some of the things that should be done with an annual maintenance appointment:
- Change the oil and change the oil filter.
- Change the fuel filter.
- Change the air filter.
- Change the spark plugs.
- Check the coolant system.
- Check air induction piping and connections.
- Inspect the control panel and all related components.
- Inspect all drive belts.
- Examine for any potential leaks from any liquid systems
- Examine the battery electrolyte level and gravity.
- Potentially flush the coolant system.
- Perform load bank testing on generators not in use.
For diesel generators, additional maintenance is needed for the fuel system. That includes testing the fuel, reconditioning the fuel, removing water from the fuel tank, and more.
Get Power Generator Maintenance from 24/7 Compression
Your custom natural gas, diesel, and propane power generator packages from 24/7 Compression have their own maintenance schedules. We can help you analyze your equipment’s needs for maintenance and provide that maintenance ourselves.
Don’t wait until you have to do an emergency call-out—trust us to maintain your power generator equipment on schedule and keep it running reliably. Contact us today to learn more.