Diesel generators have been making their way into many businesses and residential buildings for backup power.
Their many benefits have made them a widely popular option. But it’s important to keep these machines well-maintained in order for the investment to be worth it. Diesel generator maintenance isn’t difficult but there are certain things that should be avoided.
We’ve compiled a list of the seven most common standby generator maintenance mistakes to avoid with your diesel generator.
Portable Generator Maintenance Mistake 1 – Using Improper Fuel or Stale Fuel
Obviously, when you’re using a Diesel engine of any kind, you need to only use diesel fuel. Using other options for fuel, like gasoline, can completely ruin the machine.
Not only is the type of fuel important but the quality of the chosen fuel will also make a major difference in the machine’s performance. Moreover, choosing an ideal fuel stabilizer can go a long way in ensuring that your generator functions as expected, without any glitches. This is especially true for a standby generator since they don’t get used as often.
A high-quality fuel source will prevent build-up and condensation in the fuel system of portable generators when not in use. Then again, you must also ensure that the fuel tank, as well as the fuel lines, are all clean, and there are no fuel leaks whatsoever. This ensures that the generator will fire up when needed.
Using stale fuel can also lead to major problems, even if it started as high quality. Keeping the fuel fresh and moving is key to a well-performing generator.
Standby Generator Maintenance Mistake 2 – Avoiding Repairs
It’s easy to put off doing repairs on any kind of engine. You hear something that doesn’t sound right and think (and hope) maybe it will just go away.
But, not making repairs is one of the biggest mistakes diesel generator owners can make.
When you see signs of damage you need to call in an experienced mechanic who will know how to fix the underlying issue. The good news is, most generator repairs are actually much more affordable than other engine types.
Don’t try to save money by not handling a repair. It may end up costing you way more when you have to replace the generator together.
The unfortunate side of owning any kind of machinery is that there is a lot of ‘out of sight – out of mind’ elements that need to be remembered.
One of the biggest things that are often forgotten is the generator’s air filter and fuel filter. These filters allow the machine to function as efficiently as possible to get you the best results.
A filter will get clogged as it does its job to keep only the cleanest fuel moving through the machine.
Thanfully, a filter change is normally a very simple task that anyone can handle. All it takes is locating the filter, getting the right size replacement, and switching it out. It should be done on a regular basis a few times a year depending on how often the backup generator is used.
Standby Generator Maintenance Mistake 4 – Not Letting it Warm Up Before Use
If you’ve worked with a Diesel engine before you know that you have to let the machine warm up some before it can really be used.
This is also true for a diesel generator and is one of the most important generator maintenance tools. The warm-up period helps the machine to effectively use the fuel it’s pushing through and lowers condensation build-up.
It doesn’t take much time but can make a big difference in how well the generator performs, especially on those cold nights.
Portable Generator Maintenance Mistake 5 – Leave it Sitting Too Long
The most important way to warm-up your diesel generator is to turn it on on a regular basis. Letting it sit for long periods of time will result in many problems.
Using diesel generators is often a back-up for a more permanent source of power, like when the power goes out in a bad storm. It would be a waste of money if you couldn’t use the generator when you needed it because it hadn’t been turned on recently.
When the fuel sits for too long it can become stale and even gummy. If that’s the case it won’t flow through the system easily and, therefore, it won’t start.
This is an easy fix though. Just make sure to turn on the generator every few months for a little while. After that, it should be good to go whenever you need it.
Standby Generator Maintenance Mistake 6 -Missing Routine Check-ups
Just like everything in life, a diesel generator needs to be routinely looked over and inspected for potential problems and needed repairs.
This could be done in a variety of ways, either you handling the inspection yourself or taking the machine into a professional mechanic. Whichever way you choose, this maintenance routine is critical to extending the lifespan of the generator.
The benefit of taking the generator into a mechanic is that they may be able to show you new ways to get the most out of the generator.
When you miss these inspections, you’re likely missing little issues that could turn into major problems down the road if they aren’t dealt with properly and quickly.
Portable Generator Maintenance Mistake 7 – Trying to Handle Repairs on Your Own
Even though they are much more simple than other types of diesel engines, a diesel generator is still a complicated piece of machinery. This means that it should be taken to a mechanic for any major repairs.
That is especially true when you know you’ll be counting on your generator in critical situations.
A trained, professional mechanic will be able to make all of the necessary repairs while guaranteeing the work that they do. It’s a huge benefit to have a skilled person work on your machinery to get things done right the first time.
Best Tips for Diesel Generator Maintenance
A diesel generator is often a large investment upfront at the time of purchase. But it’s a great place to put your money because of how long it will live and how much use you can get from it.
It’s important to take the time to have regular, routine diesel generator maintenance in order to keep it performing at its best.
If you’re interested in learning more about diesel generators or getting one for yourself, contact us today!
Frequently Asked Questions About Standby Generator Maintenance
Why is preventive maintenance recommended by generator manufacturers?
Whether it is the inspection of the cooling system or cleaning of the spark plugs, changing the engine oil or ensuring that the exhaust system is clean, spotting oil leaks in time or having the circuit breaker checked, preventive maintenance or even something as simple as a regular visual inspection can go a long way in ensuring that you avoid the dreaded generator failure!
What is the role of Coolant in a Generator?
Ideal coolant levels in the generator can ensure the provision of sufficient heat transfer capability, prevent the metal materials in the cooling system from rusting, and provide adequate frost protection to the generator. Of course, for this to happen, the coolant temperature should be at the optimal level, and coolant leaks should be avoided at all costs.