Best Maintenance Tips For Your Home Backup Generator

The expected lifespan of a common emergency generator can be somewhere between as few as 10,000 and as many as 30,000 hours of operation. But since this is something you will typically only need in an emergency or, more to the point, operate for a small amount of hours per year, your backup generator should be ready for a couple of decades of use, if not more.  But like any piece of important equipment, whether you have a portable backup generator or standby generator transfer switches in your home, you must take every precaution for keeping it in excellent working condition. That means performing routine preventive maintenance on a schedule that reflects the number of engine hours your generator puts in. 

Maintenance Requirements

You do it with your automobile or motorcycle, you must also do it with your backup generator. The more (or less) you use the unit, the more often it will need to be serviced. But the thing with generators is that they will need to be maintained based not only on the extent of their use but the surrounding environment in which the generator is operated.  For instance, if your generator is being used in an area that has moderate to mild temperature with air quality that is mostly fresh and clean your service requirements may be less frequent than if your generator is being operated in extreme cold or heat with heavy humidity and air quality that contains numerous particles and contaminants.  All of those things can have a serious impact on the operational integrity of the generator and if you aren’t maintaining the unit on a regular schedule, you are definitely shaving years off of its lifespan. 

Best Maintenance Tips

Like we said, the more often you use the generator, the more often you will need to inspect and service the unit. However, there are certain aspects of the generator that will need your immediate attention in order to keep it working to the best of its ability. Some of these areas can be overlooked during a routine inspection or servicing and that’s just defeating the purpose of routine maintenance, not to mention wasting your time and doing the unit absolutely no good.  If every system isn’t serviced properly, then none of the systems are getting the attention they need. The following are some of the most vital parts of your generator that must not be ignored if you want to continue to rely on this vital piece of equipment through any eventuality that might crop up: 

Fuel Systems

This is absolutely essential for any gas-powered generator, however those units that run on diesel fuel will need even more routine maintenance to ensure that everything is good working order and nothing is clogging or disrupting the flow of fuel into the engine. 

Coolant System

If your coolant isn’t getting into the generator you’re risking the unit overheating. 

Lubrication System

Ensuring that everything is operating correctly in this area prevents dry friction between crucial moving parts within the generator. Without it, you’re risking these parts becoming damaged. 

Air system

This is a very important system whether your generator runs via combustion and cooling air and checking it on routine basis will ensure that your unit stays cool at all times while it is being operated. 

Starting System

You need to check your batteries and charger to make sure the system is operating correctly for the purposes of starting the unit when you need it. 


This is where the mechanical energy is converted into electrical power supplying current to those appliances and devices that need to be powered in the event of a blackout. Without it, your generator won’t be doing you much good. 

Visual Checks

Perhaps you don’t run the generator as often as some others might, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be ignoring the unit for long periods of time. Even if you’re not operating your generator’s internal systems very often you should still give it a thorough visual inspection from month to month.  These are some of the inspections you should be conducting to ensure that the unit is always in good working order and ready to step in at a moment’s notice: 


Give the generators a visual check to see if everything is clean on the inside and out. Sometimes little creatures will use a generator as shelter, you don’t want this to take place with yours. 


This includes coolant, oil, and even fuel levels because when these are low your generator won’t work properly. So keep an eye on all your levels and take a look at the catch tank of your coolant as well as fuel and drain water separators on diesel-powered generators.

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