Check Generators Now

Posted On June 11, 2013— Written By James Parsons and last updated by

Can you believe we are only a little more than 1 week into the 2013 Hurricane season and we have already had our first named storm?  Our part of the state has been spared major hurricanes or damage causing power outages over the past several years.  This year’s predictions claim we will have an above average number of storms.  Because of this, now is the time to make sure your standby generator is working properly.


Mr. Walter Petty with Atlantic Power Solutions recently gave a very informative presentation about general generator maintenance.  The first item he mentioned was to get to know your generator system.  Equipment failure during a power outage is not the time to learn your system.


Secondly, he stressed the importance of testing the generator and automatic transfer switch on a weekly basis.  You should do an inspection before and after each test to identify any problems with the entire system.


His recommendations for servicing a generator system are to service it once a year or every 250 hours, whichever comes first.  A qualified technician, especially the electrical portion of the service, should perform the service. 


During routine service, you should not only change the oil, but also:

-Change air filter

-Change fuel filter

-Change tank fuel filter

-Check fuel tank for water, sludge or contamination

-Check fuel supply (cracked hoses, crimped or mashed lines)

-Check all belts and hoses

-Check all electrical connections, both A/C and D/C on generator, automatic transfer switch and panel boxes, especially if aluminum wire was used for wiring

-Clean outside of radiator core (every 3-4 years flush radiator and change coolant)

-Check safety shutdowns

-Replace battery every 2 years

-Check for exhaust leaks inside generator room

-Check block heater

-Check generator output and engine speed (adjust as needed)

-Clean room of debris that could be picked up by radiator cooling fan

-Generator rooms should be closed off to keep out small animals (cats, mice, etc.).  When block heater is working, it is a nice warm place for them and they may chew the wires or get caught in belts.


Other recommendations include keeping an extra set of fuel filters on hand.  If during a power outage you have to fill the tank it will stir up sediment in the of the tank and clog the filters. You should drain sediment from the bottom of the tank periodically and use fuel additives for algae and water contamination.


I hope this general information will help you be prepared for a power outage.

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