Having a standby generator is a great way to prepare your home for a power outage. Power outages can happen without much warning, so it’s important to be sure that your standby generator is ready to do its job when you and your family need it most. Luckily, you can take proactive measures to prepare your standby generator for power outages. There are several steps you can take and wise habits you can put in place when you aren’t in crisis and have the luxury of time to perform preventive maintenance and services so that when a power outage does happen, your standby generator is able to power your home. Going without power for any length of time is dreadfully inconvenient at best and desperately unsafe, if not downright dangerous, in worst-case scenarios. Give yourself and your family peace of mind knowing that a power outage will not cause unnecessary harm during what may be a local, regional, or national crisis.
How to prepare your standby generator for power outages:
Determine the needs and specifics of your particular standby generator by performing a general inspection. Whether you have a diesel or gas powered standby generator, you need to perform regularly scheduled inspection and service of your generator’s most critical operating systems. These include the coolant system, the lubrication system, the air system (both combustion and cooling air), the starting system (including batteries and charger), the fuel system (keep in mind that diesel fuel systems may require more frequent maintenance), the alternator, and the transfer switch. These last two items are frequently overlooked.
Conduct monthly visual inspections of all of your generator’s critical systems, and be sure to inspect your generator thoroughly after an extended run time. When you are conducting visual inspections, you will benefit from taking certain factors into account. These include the general cleanliness of the generator as well as where it is placed. It is especially important to watch out for rodent activity in any enclosed space where you may have placed your generator. Rodents are naturally attracted to infrequently used enclosed spaces such as those offered by standby generator housing. You’ll also want to check the oil level when your standby generator isn’t running. If you have been running it, wait at least ten minutes after shutting off your standby generator before checking the oil level. Be sure that the oil level is as close to full as possible without overfilling it.
Don’t forget semi-annual and annual inspections and maintenance tasks. You’ll want to check the coolant thermal-protection level every six months to ensure ongoing readiness of your standby generator. Different coolers need different testers, so be sure you have the right gear on hand for this task. You’ll also want to inspect the accessory drive belts for correct condition and tension. Annual maintenance tasks include changing the oil and replacing all filters, including oil, air, and fuel.
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