Generator Maintenance Checklist
Why perform standby generator maintenance?
While the average life expectancy of a well-maintained service vehicle is approximately 5000 hours (assuming 300, 000 miles at 60 mph), a typical standby generator set can last from 10, 000 to 30, 000 hours. On the other hand, a standby generator might operate as little as 26 hours a year (based on only 30 minutes of weekly exercise and no outages) or as much as several hundred hours a year, depending upon the number and duration of power outages.
Preventive maintenance and service are typically done on a schedule based upon engine hours and/or time periods. The maintenance cycle can—and should—be adapted to meet specific application needs. The more hours per year a unit operates, the more frequently it will require service. Environment also plays a role: The more severe the environment (dusty, extremely hot or cold, highly humid, etc.), the more frequent the need for service may be.
Most OEM-recommended maintenance schedules for generators—whether a unit is powered by diesel or gaseous fuels—are roughly the same. The typical maintenance cycle includes a general inspection followed by scheduled inspection and service of the following critical systems:
- Fuel system (diesel fuel requires more maintenance)
- Coolant system
- Lubrication system
- Air system (combustion and cooling air)
- Starting system (batteries and charger)
- Alternator (a frequently overlooked item)
- Transfer switch (another often-overlooked item)