Best Practices for Maintenance, Safety, and Troubleshooting Standby Generators

Houston Electrician and Home Generators

Best Practices for Maintenance, Safety, and Troubleshooting Standby Generators

Standby generators are critical for ensuring a continuous power supply during outages, especially in areas prone to severe weather. Proper installation, maintenance, and safety practices are essential to keep your generator running smoothly and to prevent hazardous situations. Here, we’ll cover the best practices for maintaining your standby generator, highlight key safety measures, and outline troubleshooting steps. Remember, while some tasks can be handled by the owner, many require professional expertise to ensure safety and efficiency.

Maintenance Best Practices

A picture of Best Practices for Maintenance, Safety, and Troubleshooting Standby Generators with Brotherly Love Electric LLC

Regular Inspections

Perform regular visual inspections of your standby generator. Check for any signs of wear, corrosion, or damage to the exterior, wiring, and connections. Look for fluid leaks around the unit, as these can indicate issues with the fuel system or engine.

Oil and Filter Changes

Just like a car, your generator’s engine needs regular oil and filter changes. Typically, this should be done after every 100 hours of operation or once a year, whichever comes first. Consult your generator’s manual for specific recommendations.

Fuel System Maintenance

Ensure that the fuel system is clean and free of debris. For diesel generators, check the fuel filter and replace it as needed. For natural gas or propane generators, inspect the fuel lines and connections for leaks and damage.

Battery Maintenance

The battery is crucial for starting your generator. Inspect it regularly for corrosion, and ensure the connections are tight. Test the battery voltage periodically and replace the battery every three to five years or as recommended by the manufacturer.

Exercise the Generator

Run your generator under load for about 30 minutes every month. This helps to keep the engine lubricated and ensures that the generator is in working condition. It also helps to prevent fuel from becoming stale and clogging the system.

Cooling System Check

Ensure the cooling system is functioning properly. Check the coolant level and top it off as necessary. Inspect the radiator and cooling fins for debris and clean them to prevent overheating.

Air Filter Replacement

The air filter should be inspected and replaced as needed. A dirty air filter can restrict airflow to the engine, causing it to run inefficiently or even fail.

Safety Measures

A picture of Best Practices for Maintenance, Safety, and Troubleshooting Standby Generators with Brotherly Love Electric LLC

Proper Installation

Ensure that your generator is installed by a professional. Improper installation can lead to carbon monoxide poisoning, electrical hazards, and potential damage to the generator and your home.


Generators produce carbon monoxide, a deadly gas. Ensure that your generator is placed in a well-ventilated area, away from windows, doors, and vents. Never operate a generator indoors or in an enclosed space.

Fuel Storage

Store fuel in approved containers, away from the generator and any heat sources. Follow local regulations for fuel storage to prevent fire hazards.

Electrical Safety

Do not attempt to connect your generator directly to your home’s electrical system without a transfer switch. This can cause backfeeding, which poses a serious risk to utility workers and can damage your generator and home wiring.

Personal Protective Equipment

When performing maintenance, wear appropriate personal protective equipment, such as gloves and safety glasses. This helps to prevent injuries from sharp edges, hot surfaces, and chemicals.

Troubleshooting Steps

A picture of Best Practices for Maintenance, Safety, and Troubleshooting Standby Generators with Brotherly Love Electric LLC

Generator Won’t Start

  • Check the fuel level: Ensure there is enough fuel in the tank.
  • Inspect the battery: Make sure the battery is charged and the connections are clean and tight.
  • Examine the oil level: Low oil can prevent the generator from starting.
  • Look for error codes: Some generators have diagnostic displays that show error codes, which can help identify the problem.

Generator Runs But No Power

  • Check the circuit breaker: Ensure that the generator’s circuit breaker is not tripped.
  • Inspect the transfer switch: Make sure the transfer switch is functioning correctly and in the proper position.
  • Examine the connections: Check all electrical connections for tightness and signs of damage.

Generator Runs Rough or Shuts Down

  • Inspect the air filter: A clogged air filter can cause the engine to run poorly.
  • Check the fuel quality: Stale or contaminated fuel can cause engine issues.
  • Look at the spark plug: Remove and inspect the spark plug. Clean or replace it if it is dirty or worn.

When to Call a Professional

While some maintenance and troubleshooting tasks can be performed by the owner, there are many situations where calling a professional is the safest and most effective option. Professional technicians have the expertise, tools, and training to handle complex issues and ensure your generator operates safely and efficiently.

Complex Repairs – If your generator requires significant repairs or you are unsure about diagnosing an issue, contact a professional. Attempting repairs without proper knowledge can lead to further damage and safety risks.

Electrical Work – Any electrical work, including installing or servicing a transfer switch, should be done by a licensed electrician. This ensures compliance with local codes and prevents electrical hazards.

Regular Servicing – Schedule regular servicing with a professional technician. They can perform comprehensive inspections, testing, and maintenance tasks that go beyond basic owner checks.

Brotherly Love Electric is committed to providing our customers with the highest quality of service possible, and we strive to exceed expectations every time. Contact us today to schedule a consultation or appointment.