Last week, we explained the benefits of having a backup generator, especially when unpredictable spring weather strikes. While installing a generator is a huge step forward toward keeping your family safe and comfortable during a power outage, there are some steps you need to take when your generator isn’t in use to maintain and care for this important equipment. Here are some generator maintenance tips you can perform to prepare your generator for use, ensuring a reliable backup power source is available when needed.

Before performing any generator maintenance or inspections, make sure the unit is not running. If you are performing maintenance after using your generator, allow time for the equipment to cool down.

Start your generator maintenance routine by inspecting the area around your unit. Plants, trees, and other growth should be cut back so that they are clear of your generator. If your generator is covered in debris, it may not get the proper ventilation it needs to perform effectively, which can cause your unit to overheat. Grass, leaves, and other yard debris can pile up and may need to be cleared on a more frequent basis.

While your generator’s job is to provide power for your home, it needs fuel and its own power source to work when needed. Check the generator’s fuel system and batteries periodically throughout the year to ensure they are working properly. Test your generator’s batteries to check that they are fully charged.

Most residential units are fueled by propane or natural gas, but there are models available which are diesel powered. On average, a residential propane generator uses between one and two gallons of fuel per hour of operation, so plan accordingly for the possibility of an outage. Store all fuel safely in approved containers. Check your owner’s manual for fueling instructions and care.

Like any other piece of machinery, your generator needs a tune-up periodically to keep it operating in peak condition. Your generator maintenance routine should include oil and filter changes annually. Changing the oil in your generator will help the engine run smoothly, and a clean air filter allows for proper air flow to prevent your equipment from overheating. Your generator’s owner’s manual will provide instruction for how to check your oil levels, which should be done every twelve hours of operating time. The owner’s manual will also tell you what type of oil should be used for your generator.

Without proper maintenance, your generator is more susceptible to failures. Lack of generator maintenance and preparedness can leave you without power when you need it. If you have any questions about how to properly care for your generator, contact Frye Electric; our staff is available to answer your generator maintenance and care questions.