If you own or are thinking about owning an Generac automatic standby generator, it’s important to understand that, just like a car or any piece of combustion machinery, backup generators need to be regularly inspected and maintained.
All too often, backup generators get installed by electricians or individuals who don’t specialize specifically in standby generators sales and service. If these generators are not set on a weekly cycle or don’t get bi-annual inspections and regularly-scheduled maintenance, they will have their lifespan shortened significantly when they should last 20-30+ years when properly maintained.
Just like any other combustion engine out there, Generac standby generators need to have regular oil changes. Depending on how often your automatic backup generators had been used during power outages any given year will dictate the frequency of oil changes. Typically, oil changes for Generac generators are needed only once a year but may require bi-annual changes if the generator is used more than 150 hours in any given timeframe. Also, generators exercise weekly in most cases, and as the engine cools it condensates. Because of this, moisture gathers in the oil and we want to remove that yearly at a minimum.
Spark plugs are critical to your Generac generator’s ability to provide backup power during outages and usually don’t need to be swapped out as regularly as bi-annual or annual oil changes. That doesn’t mean they should be ignored during inspection. All standby generators should have annual inspections of their spark plugs to make sure they’re clean and firing properly and should always be replaced if they’re drenched in carbon or have weak ignition.
Generac generators have three primary filters, oil, fuel, and air, that should always be inspected and replaced as needed.
When your generator gets an oil change, make sure the oil filter is changed at the same time. Reusing old oil filters with fresh oil is a bad idea since you would be introducing clean oil to a dirty filter filled with tiny metal fragments and other impurities which can greatly reduce its performance and lifespan.
Fuel filters on Generac generators always need to be evaluated during inspections and if they appear to be dirty or old, they should be replaced. Unlike oil filters that need to be replaced with each oil change, fuel filters can last years before needing to be changed but always inspect them.
All combustion engines have to take in fresh air, so be sure your Generac generator’s air filter is looked at during inspections and general maintenance. If the air filter is filled with debris or appears generally dirty, replace it. If your generator can’t take in fresh air, it can’t properly function or may even fail when it’s most needed.
Smaller home and commercial Generac generators have only one large battery in them coupled with a charger to maximize your battery’s life.
When inspecting and maintaining your generator, make sure the battery and its charger are tested and that the battery has good amperage. If the charger isn’t functioning properly or the battery’s amperage is low, replace them immediately. A failing charger or drained battery will lead to a generator’s inability to start or work at all.
Natural gas regulators have a lot going on and need to be addressed regularly, gaskets, diaphragms and fitting are weak points in your fuel system and can cause serious issues leaving you without backup power. We carefully look at these during annual servicing of units.
Other items that should be inspected and maintained or replaced include:
- Charger (for battery)
- Coolant system (if applicable)
- Alternator (often overlooked)
- Transfer switch (most common problems happen to those exposed to the elements)
If you’ve invested or are thinking about investing in a Generac generator for your home or businesses, don’t forget to maintain it. Bi-annual inspections and regular maintenance of your system will ensure it’s well-oiled and fine-tuned and ready when you need it most.
If you have an automatic Generac generator and need it properly maintained and serviced by certified Generac technicians, call Generator One at 440-942-8449 to speak with a representative.
Generator One also offers several different levels of standby generator service and maintenance plans to choose from for servicing your unit.