Most of the time we’re lucky enough to have easy access to the mains power grid. For times when electricity isn’t available, generators provide a flexible solution, and regular generator maintenance is key to their convenience. Modern electric generators are simple machines. They can provide hundreds of hours of work with some basic maintenance, ensuring you have the power your tools or facility needs. Because generators are self-contained units, their maintenance schedule is often neglected. But maintenance is a critical part of owning and using generators. In this article we’ll go over the how and why of generator maintenance so you can keep your equipment in top condition, something you must know if you are looking for 3 phase generator hire.
Why Do Generators Need Regular Maintenance?
Electric generators are machines just like any other. The diesel engines they use function similarly to the ones found in cars and trucks, and they’re known for their durability and longevity. With that said, you wouldn’t skip a mechanic’s appointment, so you can’t skip generator maintenance either.
Routine generator maintenance ensures your equipment is always ready for action. Many generators are used to provide backup power in facilities like hospitals, nursing homes, schools and commercial areas. These backup power solutions need to work at the turn of a key every single time. When lives are at stake, routine generator maintenance gives you peace of mind and allows you to extend the life of your system.
In addition to the reliability factor, regular generator maintenance offers a range of benefits:
- Maintains the manufacturer’s warranty
- Maximises the generator’s efficiency
- Creates a safer environment for staff and patients
- Avoids the need for major repairs
Who to Hire for Professional Generator Maintenance
Even the smallest generators can output a huge amount of power. That makes them incredibly dangerous for anyone who isn’t trained to perform routine maintenance. You should always contract a professional electrician to service your generators when maintenance is due.
Professional electricians have the skills, equipment and experience needed to safely maintain your generator bank. Not only does this protect untrained staff from injury, it dramatically speeds up the process of generator maintenance. And, much like modern cars, generators now feature diagnostic computers that can help a technician identify and fix issues. These diagnostic computers can typically only be accessed using specialty equipment that you’re unlikely to have on-hand. An electrician handles all this on your behalf so you don’t have to worry about a thing.
What Is Included in Your Generator Maintenance Appointment
Generator manufacturers provide a maintenance schedule that can be used to keep your equipment in perfect condition. This maintenance schedule includes a checklist of items that your electrician will need to review each time they service your machines. This varies between manufacturers, but your maintenance appointment will generally include:
- Running the generator to test its functions
- Lubricating internal components
- Checking belts and pulleys for signs of wear
- Sampling and changing engine oil and coolant
- Load testing and measuring the output
- Cleaning output terminals
- Inspection of controls and circuit breakers
- Running a diagnostic scan
These simple checks are an easy way of preventing major breakdowns. It also gives the technician a chance to check for small issues. Minor problems like squeaky bearings or corroded terminals can turn into a major repair bill if they’re left unchecked. But, a little bit of maintenance can rectify the issue, saving you lots of money in the long run.
How Often Do Generators Need Maintenance
It’s a good idea to have your generator professionally serviced every 6 months, or as per the manufacturer’s instructions. Most manufacturers specify maintenance intervals based on the number of operational hours. For instance, if you run your generator 5 hours a day, 5 days a week, it has been operational for 25 hours. Depending on the manufacturer, you may need to service your generator every 100 hours or so, or it could last much longer between maintenance appointments. You may need to service your generator more often if it is used in harsh or hot environments.
In between professional maintenance you should keep an eye on the system. Watch and listen for any signs that the generator is struggling or that components are failing. It’s more effective to repair a generator before it breaks down, so don’t ignore warning signs.
Finally, you should make sure your generator is run regularly. Backup generator banks often go months without use. Inactivity is a serious problem for the engines that power these generators. If your generators are used to provide backup power, you should ensure they regularly run for 30-60 minutes to keep the internal components lubricated. During this testing you can also check fluid levels and confirm there are no obvious issues such as warning lights, fault codes or failing components.
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