Monthly & Annual Maintenance Tips for Keeping Home Standby Generator Running Smoothly

You’re the kind of person who understands the importance of preparedness. You’ve seen a hurricane— or five!— and you know that you have your food and water supply, your medications, your evacuation plan, and your first aid kit. Your pets are microchipped. Your tires are full. Your important computer files are backed up. And your standby generator is ready to go.

At least, you think it is. For sure… Isn’t it?

How do you really know? If your generator has been sitting untouched in a storage room for the last year, you don’t, and while a standby generator can save your lifestyle or even your life in the event of an extended power outage, not just any generator will do: you need a generator that works.

But there you’ll do different things to maintain a permanently installed standby generator than you would a portable generator.

Get in the swing of a routine maintenance schedule with these tips:

Monthly Standby Generator Maintenance

Like a car or any other complex machine, generators require regular maintenance. If you were to find an older, rarely-used car in a relative’s garage, you wouldn’t just hope it starts up when you need to drive it, would you? No! Before driving it, you’d have it checked out, or at least test the obvious: Does it start? Do the brakes work? Does the engine sound okay? Are the tires full, or at least full enough to get to the nearest filling station? Is there gas in the tank? Does it need an oil change? Is it clean? Is it leaking? Have any critters taken up residence inside? (Yes, this is absolutely something to check for.) Does it have fuel, oil, and coolant?

Here are some basic things you should check on a monthly basis to ensure your home standby generator is up to date and the generator is in good working condition: 

  • Run the standby generator
  • Make sure there are no alarms or warnings 
  • Ensure the unit is clear of debris and pests who may try finding shelter in the housing
  • Check fuel levels 
  • Ensure that the generator is in “Auto” mode, for automatic startup
  • Make sure there are no fluid leaks
  • Check engine coolant level

Most people have the ability to check on their generator at this basic level, but being systematic about it is key. Having a whole house generator maintenance checklist on hand to remind you of what to look for (and how often) absolutely helps. 

Here are a few other signs your generator may need repair or servicing.

generator maintenance

Semi-Annual & Annual Maintenance 

Twice a year or so, you’ll want to perform more thorough home generator maintenance, looking more specifically at individual parts. Things like batteries, drive belts and cooling lines all need to be inspected. Filters and spark plugs need to be changed on an annual basis.

Even if your generator is rarely used, parts still need to be replaced over time. Even just knowing what the individual pieces and parts are and what they should look, feel, and sound like can go a long way towards making you feel more confident that your generator will do its job in an emergency. 

Here’s what they’re going to be checking for you semi-annually: 

  • Inspect the enclosure
  • Check battery cables and connections for signs of corrosion 
  • Inspect drive belts
  • Check coolant lines and connections for damage
  • Check for oil leaks and inspect lubrication system hoses and connectors
  • Check for fuel leaks and inspect fuel system hoses and connectors
  • Inspect the exhaust system, muffler and exhaust pipe
  • Check and clean air cleaner units
  • Inspect air induction piping and connections
  • Inspect the DC electrical system, control panel and accessories
  • Inspect the AC wiring and accessories

Because home generator maintenance you should be done regularly and can be time-consuming and require specialized knowledge, working with an electrician is important. 

Here are a few more items to check annually: 

  • Change oil and filter
  • Change the fuel filter
  • Change the air filter
  • Clean the crankcase breather
  • Change spark plugs
  • Check coolant concentration
  • Flush the cooling system (as needed)
  • Perform load bank testing
  • Fuel testing & reconditioning (diesel-fueled units only)
  • Remove water from the fuel tank (diesel-fueled units only)

Some people are nodding their heads right now saying, “Yeah, yeah, got it, no problem.” Others who are not the DIY-type may seem overwhelmed,

For anything out of your comfort zone— especially an annual inspection— it’s best to have the work done by a professional. 

Southwest Florida Electric is here for you, and all your whole house generator maintenance needs.


Trusted Maintenance Near You

The worst moment to realize you need a new part for your generator, or you have neglected generator maintenance, is the same moment a storm hits. 

A regularly maintained generator doesn’t just power your home or business, it also empowers you to develop a sense of calm, knowing that you’re ready for anything, whatever the weather may bring.

Let us help with your home standby generator maintenance, today!