Commercial Generator UpKeep: Daily Tasks to Keep You Powered Up

Ensure that your generator will be there when you need it, with some preventative maintenance. Mr. Electric can help with these tasks; learn more about what you can do.

The holiday season is a busy time for many businesses, making it easy to overlook many maintenance tasks. Your commercial generator, however, is the lifeblood of your business, keeping you ahead of the game even in the midst of winter storms. Keep your generator running smoothly, ensuring it will be there when you need it with preventative generator maintenance.

Your Checklist to Preventative Maintenance for Generators

Properly maintained, your standby generator should last 20-30-years. Generators come in a wide array of sizes and styles, and may or may not have all of these components. If you are unsure how to identify these components or perform these tasks, refer to the manufacturer product guide for components and essential maintenance tasks, or ask a knowledgeable Mr. Electric professional to avoid system damage. 

  • Change Serviceable Parts
    Serviceable parts, which effect performance and longevity, should be changed regularly, including:
    • Air Filter
    • Spark/Glow Plugs
    • Fuel Filter
  • Check Engine Oil Levels
    Engine oil, integral to the efficiency and lifespan of your generator, must be checked and replaced regularly. Check cold or wait 10-minutes after operation. Do this whenever you add fuel, maintaining levels close to the ‘full’ mark – but do NOT overfill. Change oil after every 1,000 operating hours, keeping extra on hand for emergencies.
  • Inspect/Flush Cooling Systems
    Cooling systems should be inspected and flushed according to manufacturer instruction. Check the catch/overflow tank to ensure adequate coolant levels, as well as lines/connections for leaks.
  • Clean & Confirm Battery Function
    Batteries are the most common reason for emergency generator service. Battery terminals should be free of corrosion, connections tight, and batteries kept at full charge.
  • Inspect Exhaust
    The exhaust should also be inspected for any leaks and repaired/replaced as necessary.
  • Inspect Drive Belts
    Inspect carefully for tears and cracks, replacing belts as necessary.
  • Inspect Fuel Supply Piping (Gas Units)
    Look for leaks/obvious damage, attending repairs ASAP.
  • Attend Fuel/Water Separators (Diesel Units)
    Check fuels levels regularly, draining water from fuel/water separators.
  • Inspect the Alternator & Transfer Switch
    Alternators producing good power need only a simple, visual inspection. For transfer switches, coordinate a planned outage during non-operating hours, checking by turning off power at the switch.
  • Clean & Clear Debris Surrounding Standby Generators
    For non-portable models, clean the area surrounding the unit, ensuring debris and brush are clear for trouble-free operation. Also clean the generator itself. Keeping your generator clean and free of grease and grime will make it easier to spot leaks or issues before they become bigger problems.
  • Run Regularly to Ensure Proper Operation
    Generators should be regularly run at least 30 minutes once a month to lubricate the system, burn off moisture, and recharge the generator battery so your standby generator is up to the task when you need it. Ensure essentials, such as your sump pump, are powered by generator operation.
  • Perform a Thorough Visual Inspection Following Long Run Times
    Whether you operate your generator or not, you should also visually inspect it once a month, at a minimum.
  • Portable Model?
    • Don’t Operate On-the-Fly
      Plan ahead to ensure safe operation, including identifying a generator operation location that is outside, far from windows, doors, and vents where dangerous carbon monoxide could infiltrate the building.
    • Don’t Forgo the Transfer Switch
      This prevents electrical equipment from being overloaded, eliminates the need for multiple extension cords, and most importantly protects against backfeeding that can lead to fatal shocks to utility workers and others down the grid.

Overwhelmed with holiday business tasks? Mr. Electric can help, professionally maintaining your generator to ensure a trouble-free season. Contact us to easily check-off these essential generator maintenance tasks today.

This blog is made available by Mr. Electric for educational purposes only to give the reader general information and a general understanding on the specific subject above. The blog should not be used as a substitute for a licensed electrical professional in your state or region. Check with city and state laws before performing any household project.