Due to the recent increase and length of power outages across the region, residential standby generator systems are becoming a necessity to protect your home and family. Properly installed residential generator systems can cost from $5500.00 to $50,000.00 or more. In order to get the most from this investment I advise that you make sure your unit receives regular professional maintenance and, if needed, repairs. Generator maintenance is much more complicated than merely changing oil and air filters. I cannot stress enough, the importance of regular professional generator maintenance. The following are a few questions I am frequently asked regarding generator care.
Question: How often does my standby generator need to have maintenance performed?
Answer: Maintenance should be done after 50 hours of run time or once a year whichever comes first. If a generator is older than 5 years, it is a good idea to have semi-annual maintenance performed. The oil level and clarity should be checked after any power outage of more than a couple of hours.
Question: What services should be done to the unit at a minimum?
Question: Who should service the unit?
Answer: Only an authorized servicing dealer should attempt to service these units.
Electricians, even those who claim to have the knowledge to install and service these generators rarely possess the training, knowledge or equipment required to adjust todays sophisticated gensets. The units are now controlled by on-board computers andonly highly-trained individuals, possessing the diagnostic equipment specific to that make (brand) of product should attempt to adjust them. The adjustments are subtle, but are numerous and closely-linked to other functions that are critical to it’s performance. In short, only a professional certified generator service technician should be performing maintenance or service on these units.
Question: Where can I find a factory-authorized, service technician for my generator?
Answer: There is only one place….on the manufacturers website. Most manufacturers have a tab to find a dealer or servicing agent.
Anthony’s advice….The old cliché “you get what you pay for” is strongly evidenced by the experiences of those who don’t heed its warning. Do not attempt to service a standby generator yourself. A small error, or over-adjustment can cause a serious problem. What you wind up paying for professional service can vary, but the quality of the service is usually comparable. In general, If you use a factory-authorized service technician, you are protecting a sizeable investment that was made for the well-being of your family and possessions. This is not the right place to skimp. If you must, widen the time-gap between professional service…do not substitute for it.
Generators PA is written by Anthony Guerrera of Guerrera & Sons Electric, Inc. www.guerreraelectric.com