Possibly the only thing worse than not having your electrical service up and running is discovering that your backup power generator is on the fritz, too. For many businesses, engineers, and homeowners, having a constant supply of electrical power is crucial, regardless of the weather, time of year, or time of day. To ensure that your backup source of juice is always ready and waiting to spring into action, follow these handy maintenance tips.
Whether you are doing tests or performing a routine task, your first priority is your safety. Most generators create carbon monoxide, a tasteless, odorless, colorless gas that can kill you before you are aware of a leak. Always use the generator in an open space to avoid the possibility of carbon monoxide poisoning. Remember that safety goggles, work gloves, and boots are the best attire whenever you are servicing mechanical equipment.
The Eyes Have It
Visual checks are quick and easy to perform and can save you a lot of time and hassle in the future. While you can’t see every key part of your generator, the ones you can see tell you a lot about the wear and tear on the machine. You should look for any corrosion or other signs of break down in the parts. Check for loose parts. Generators are subject to a great deal of vibration, which can loosen nuts and bolts and other connections. Checking for these and tightening any you find can save you from a complete breakdown.
Regularly changing the generator’s oil and oil filters ensures that the machine has the proper amount and kind of lubrication it needs to function properly. Follow manufacturer’s suggestions for weight and even brand (if specified) to keep your generator working smoothly every time.
Out With the Old, In With the New
Some parts should be replaced on a routine basis to avoid breakdowns and problems down the line. Just as your car’s engine needs a good tune up, so does your generator. It’s an engine in its own right. Some of the parts that you can, and shoulder, replace regularly on your own include:
- Spark plugs – Without a good spark plug, there’s no spark. No spark means no ignition. No ignition means you’re in the dark should the lights go out. Spark plugs are essential to your generator’s function. Keep them fresh, clean, and working properly.
- Bolts – As we’ve already mentioned, generators create a great amount of vibration. That vibration can wreak havoc on the bolts that keep everything held together. Visually inspect every bolt, then physically inspect them. Make sure they are in good condition and neither worn nor bent.
- Gasket heads and pistons – The gasket heads and pistons in your generator can wear out under the strain of consistent use. Check them frequently and replace any parts that look cracked or worn. “Blowing a head” can be an expensive repair.
Call in the Pros
Some maintenance tasks vital to the operation of your generator, especially calibration, may require the skill and knowledge of a professional. Unless you are properly trained to check and recalibrate your generator, don’t attempt to do so. Leave that job to the professional maintenance guys. That’s what they do. Besides, if you try but mess things up, they’ll just have to come in and fix it for you anyway, right? It’s best just to skip that whole frustrating step and go straight for the phone now to schedule a professional generator maintenance.
Generators are wonderful things to have when you need them, but only if they work when and as needed. Keeping your generator in good repair ensures you that you’ll have the power you need, when and where you need it.