The average life expectancy of a properly maintained service vehicle is around 5000 hours, and the traditional standby generator can last from 10K to 30K hours.
On the other hand, though, standby generators may operate for just 26 hours a year (based on 30 minutes of weekly use and no outages) or up to a few hundred hours per year, depending on the duration and number of power outages.
With preventative generator maintenance and service, it is possible to extend the life of any unit. Keep reading to learn more about the required maintenance.
Conduct Routine Inspections
When it comes to maintenance, you need to understand the difference in diesel vs gas generator units. This will dictate the type of maintenance required.
However, some general tips can be used, including conducting routine inspections on your unit. During this inspection, check out the DC electrical system, fuel system, exhaust system, and more. These units have to be closely monitored for any leaks that may create hazardous conditions.
Just like with any type of internal combustion engine, the right maintenance is key. It is recommended that servicing and oil changes for these units are performed every 500 hours. However, there are some applications, such as generators used daily at construction sites that require shorter servicing times.
Lubrication Service for the Generator
The engine oil has to be checked when you are shutting the generator down regularly. This is done with a dipstick. Let the oil in the upper parts of the engine drain into the crankcase and make sure to follow the engine manufacturer’s instructions for API oil classification and the oil viscosity.
Keep the oil levels as close to the full mark on the dipstick. This is done by adding the same brand and quality of oil that was used to begin with.
You should also change the filter and oil at the suggested time intervals. You can check with the manufacturer for the procedures for draining the oil and replacing the filter. Also, make sure you dispose of the oil properly to avoid any environmental liability or damage.
While this is true, it pays to use the highest quality lubricants, oils, coolants, and more to keep the engine working properly.
The Cooling System
Be sure to check the coolant level during the shutdown periods at the right intervals. Take the radiator cap off so it can cool, if needed, and add coolant until the level of the antifreeze, and the coolant additives are at the highest marks.
Carefully inspect the outside of the radiator for any obstructions and remove all foreign material and dirt using a soft brush or a cloth. Make sure to do this carefully to avoid any damage to the fins. If possible, use a low-pressure source of compressed air or a stream of water that goes in the opposite direction of the usual airflow to clean the radiator.
The Fuel System
Diesel is susceptible to corrosion and contamination within a year. This means that regular generator set exercise is needed to use stored fuel before it begins to degrade. You should also drain the fuel filters at the right times because of the water vapor that will accumulate and condense in the fuel tank.
Regular fuel polishing and testing are often necessary if the fuel isn’t used and then replaced within three to six months. Preventative maintenance needs to include a routine inspection for the generator. This inspection should go over the fuel system, starting system, oil level, and coolant level.
The charge-air cooler hoses and piping needs to be inspected carefully for any holes, cracks, leaks, debris, or dirt that may be blocking the fins or any loose connections.
Test the Batteries
Undercharged or weak starting batteries are a common issue for standby generators. The battery needs to remain fully charged and properly maintained to avoid any dwindling. This is done through inspections and testing.
It is also necessary to clean these. Make sure to check the specific electrolyte and gravity levels of the battery, too.
Keep in mind, just checking the output voltage of the unit’s batteries won’t show off their ability to deliver proper starting power. As batteries get older, the internal resistance the current flow will go up. The only accurate measure of the terminal voltage should be done while under a load.
On some generators, the test is done automatically every time the generator is turned on. However, with others, you must use a manual battery load tester to attest to the condition of each starting battery.
Routine Engine Exercise
Regular exercise of the generator helps to keep the engine parts lubricated. It will also help to reduce the possibility of oxidation occurring to the electrical contacts, using up the fuel before it deteriorates, and helps ensure reliable engine starting.
It is recommended that engine exercise is done once a month for at least 30 minutes.
Don’t Ignore Generator Maintenance
You must never ignore the importance of generator maintenance for yo ur unit. If you do, the system may no longer work efficiently, and they may breakdown altogether.
By following the maintenance tasks listed here, you can feel confident that the unit will keep working correctly and that no issues will arise. This will also ensure your construction site can continue running smoothly.
If you are searching for more information about ensuring the proper operation of your generator or other equipment, check out our blogs. We will help ensure that you have the information you need when you need it.