The Importance of Proper Maintenance on Standby Generators
Extended usage means more maintenance
The rough Western New York winter caused not just headaches this past winter and into spring, but major power outages too. With extended usage, many don’t realize that standby generators need periodic maintenance to ensure proper working order.
Just like cars need an oil change every 5,000 to 7,500 miles, a standby generator should have a tune-up once every 2 years or after about 200 hours work for Generac models (Kohler models recommend maintenance ever year or after 150 hours of operation.) The generator will do some of the maintenance itself, when it cycles on for a low energy test weekly.
Electricians should be advising and educating their clients on good proper maintenance, including:
1) Standby generators need oil changes. Manufacturers recommend synthetic oil for its superior high and low temperature viscosity. Since the majority of standby generators in our area are used during the cold weather, this will help protect the engine running at high heat. Homeowners should be sure to check oil levels monthly or after 24 hours of continuous operation.
2) Spark plugs can get pretty dirty and nasty. The last thing a homeowner wants is for faulty startup or a standby generator that won’t turn over. Change them!
3) Air filters help keep the motor running in tip-top shape. Standby generators are often set outside a home with shrubbery and landscaping all around. Bits of dust, dirt, grass and even pollen can clog the filter restricting air flow.
4) Speaking of air flow. Many homeowners with standby generators want to cover the apparatus with plants and shrubs. Make sure the area has proper clearance for maximum air flow.
5) A few other items electricians should be on the look out for include:
-transfer switch
-starting system batteries
-exhaust lines and clearance
Remember, just installing a standby generator is not enough. The periodic maintenance by trained and qualified electricians is a must. It is a smart idea for electricians to bundle service of outdoor A/C units and standby generators. Your customers will get a good deal, and you will ensure their loyalty when they have power during and electrical outage!
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