Small Business Brief

Safety & Loss Prevention

7 Generator Maintenance Tips to Keep Things Purring Along Smoothly

Having a generator to hand is critical for keeping your business ticking over during power outages. Make sure it doesn’t let you down when the lights go down with these important generator maintenance essentials.

If your business requires electricity to power equipment or even just to keep the lights on, a generator is an important tool.

It can help you stay up and running in case of a weather emergency or other power outage. It allows you to take your work to areas where outlets might not be accessible. It helps provide some extra power when a job demands more than you have access to.

But investing in a generator requires more than just buying and using one for regular or even occasional work. Generators require regular, routine maintenance if you want to keep them running smoothly now and in the future.

Whether you already have a generator in use or are thinking about investing in one, keep reading to learn 7 generator maintenance tips you need to put to use.

1. Cover it Up

Even though generators are designed to step in and provide power when conditions are at their worst, they aren’t indestructible.

Like most equipment, the elements can have a damaging effect on them. Rain, sleet, snow, and hail can damage your generator while you’re using it or while it’s in storage if you choose to keep it outside.

While cover it up may not technically be maintenance, it is an essential part of routine generator care.

The type of generator you have will affect how you should protect it from the elements.

If you have a portable generator, which is smaller then a standby and designed to take with you to job sites, you’ll want an enclosure. These are designed to protect your entire generator while also still making it easy to transport your unit.

If you’re using a larger standby model, then a cover might be a better choice. These are often too large to place in an enclosure. A cover will still protect your unit when it isn’t in use and is easy to remove and recover quickly.

2. Change the Oil

A generator at its most basic is an engine. And just like the engine in your vehicle, it requires oil to run.

Unlike newer cars that let owners know when the oil needs to be changed, generators have no such technology. Instead, it’s up to the owner to remember to check and change the oil regularly.

Most new generators need to have their oil changed after the first 25 to 30 hours of use. After that, an oil change after every 100 hours of use is usually the norm.

3. Don’t Let it Sit Unused Too Long

While many generator tips are designed to care for your generator during or after use, this one is for owners who are looking for backup generator maintenance tips.

Generators are made to be used. If you only use yours as a backup generator, using it every once in a while and then leaving it to sit, you could cause rust and deterioration to start.

That’s why it’s a good idea to run your generator regularly to keep this from happening.

You should also drain old fuel if you plan to not use your generator for some time, and prepare it for storage properly.

4. Check Your Coolant

Besides checking the oil and draining fuel if you won’t be using your unit, another gas generator maintenance tip is to keep your coolant topped off.

You’ll find the coolant in your generator’s radiator.

Depending on the type of generator, you’ll need to top it off with a mix of anti-freeze, water, and other additives to keep your unit from overheating while in use.

5. Use the Right Cords

The voltage produced by generators varies depending on the size and make.

Different power cords are designed to handle different levels of voltage. If you use a cord that can’t handle the amount of voltage your unit produces, you could cause your generator to burn out before its time.

Use the proper cords to keep this from happening. Always replace cords if they begin to fray or are otherwise damaged. Not only is this an important generator maintenance tip, but its also important for job site safety.

Besides using the right power cords, it’s also important to make sure that your actual generator is right for the job. Trying to pull too much power from your unit can put a quick end to your costly investment.

Research your options before you buy a unit. Whether you’re looking for a small, portable unit or a large generator, Generators Perth can help you find the right option for every job.

6. Keep the Tank Full

When you’re in the middle of a project, it can be easy to forget that your generator is even there.

But if you make the mistake of letting the fuel tank run dry, your power tools may keep pulling electricity for several moments, which can cause serious damage to your machine.

Topping off your gas tank regularly can help keep this from happening. Just remember not to leave old fuel sitting in your generator for too long in between uses, to prevent rust and corrosion.

7. Check Your Batteries

Like an empty gas tank, a dead battery can put a quick stop to your work.

Before you start a job, and in between jobs if you’ll be leaving your generator sitting unused, always inspect your batteries. Look for bad wires, corrosion, or other signs that it could be damaged.

It’s also a good idea to regularly charge your batteries, whether you’re using your generator regularly or not. That way, when you need your unit in an emergency, you won’t be left scrambling to buy a new battery at the last minute.

Maintaining Your Unit With Regular Generator Maintenance

From changing the oil to emptying the gas tank when your unit isn’t in use, regular generator maintenance is key to keeping your equipment in tip-top shape.

If you’ve been using your generator more often than you might like, you might be experiencing other energy issues at your business.

Check out these 7 common electrical problems that could be to blame for your troubles, and what you need to do about them.