Complete Diesel Generator Maintenance Guide

Diesel generators play an important role in many environments including schools and Government buildings, hospitals, events, construction sites and more – providing a backup source of power should the mains fail.

Whilst being a reliable and cost-effective source of backup power, neglecting proper care and maintenance of a diesel generator increases the risk of failure when they are needed the most.

In this blog, we’ll run through our top tips for diesel generator maintenance, with preventative maintenance recommendations, servicing and inspection frequencies and considerations when choosing the location of the generator.

Preventative Maintenance Tips for Diesel Generators

Whilst a power failure is a nuisance for some, it can be devastating for businesses – bringing manufacturing lines to a halt and in some case forcing the closure of the premises. In addition to regular servicing of diesel generators by a professional, there are a number of checks that can be carried out to ensure your generator runs when you need it most.

Battery Inspections – When generators are left dormant for too long, batteries can fail during the start-up phase. Additionally, chargers, connections and cables can begin to deteriorate, preventing the required electrical current from being passed to the battery. To prevent these kinds of failures, a visual inspection should be carried out to check for any leaks, build-ups of contaminants and general damage.

Running the Generator – Even when a generator is not in use, it should be started regularly to prevent fuel from becoming stagnant and degrading. Should a generator be left for more than 6 months without being started, fuel testing should be carried out by a professional technician.

Fluid Checks – Diesel generators rely on fluids including coolant, lubricating and fuel to operate. Levels of these fluids should be monitored regularly and topped up with the recommended liquid as per manufacturer instruction. Additionally, any leaks in the system should be reported and inspected by a professional technician.

Contaminant Checks – Contaminants found within coolant, lubricating oil and fuel can all causeserious issues within the generator. Inspect your fluids regularly with a dipstick and run the generator at recommended intervals to avoid any stagnation. If you notice any unusual results, call a professional to inspect your system.

Control Panel Checks – Before startup, the control panel of the generator should be checked, this will give you an immediate of any problems within the system. Before startup, ensure that ‘auto mode’ is on, this is one of the most common and easily avoidable reasons for generators not starting.

Diesel Generator Service and Repair

Recommended Servicing Frequencies for Diesel Generator

The recommended frequencies of servicing for a diesel generator will be dependant on its usage and running time. As a rough guide, you should aim to have a full inspection and service of your generator once every 6 months or at 400 hours running time.

Carrying out regular visual inspections enables you to keep on top of any faults within your system and may demand a service sooner than expected, some of the factors that may result in more frequent maintenance include:

Environment – Exposure to extreme temperatures and weather can damage components of the generator. Should your generator be in a coastal environment such as a port or shipyard, care should be taken to prevent excessive exposure to salt water carried in the winds.

Contaminants – Airborne contaminants such as dust and sand may infiltrate the generator, causing damage to its internal components. A generator on a construction site or similar environment may require additional servicing.

Excess Usage – Most diesel generators are designed to provide backup power. Should a standby generator be used for prime power, care should be taken to ensure the generator is inspected frequently and only used for as long as is required.

Lack of Usage – Similarly, if a generator is left dormant longer than expected, engine exercise should be carried out to avoid battery failure.

Standby Generator Placement Tips

Placement of the generator is something that should be carefully considered to prevent any complications when in operation or being serviced. Our top tips for proper diesel generator placement are:

  • Ensure the generator has an adequate and unobstructed source of power – requiring excess wiring and piping can drive up costs and reduce efficiency.
  • Generators require an adequate intake of air to ventilate properly. Additionally, generators give off exhaust fumes which can be unpleasant and harmful to health – ensure that your generator is placed in an open space with an adequate source of air.
  • A canopy or guard may be erected in order to protect the generator from weathering.
  • Accessibility must be considered when placing your generator, clear and unobstructed access should be available for servicing, refuelling and inspections.
  • Generators vibrate when in use, creating lots of noise. Should your generator be running near a residential area, consider vibration isolators to prevent noise pollution.
  • Avoid placing the generator in an area that is at risk of flooding, strong winds or snow drifts.

Nationwide Standby Generator Servicing and Repair

At Mawdsleys, we provide a nationwide service for the routine servicing and emergency repair of all standby diesel generators. If you’re experiencing a fault with your generator, or it’s time for your next service – we can help.

Call one of our team today on 0117 955 2481 or fill out a contact form and we’ll get back to you.

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