In the event of a prolonged power outage, can you or your customers afford to be without your service? If not, do you have a backup power supply to keep you online and support the critical IT loads and related infrastructure?

In considering whether you need a generator or not, you should also remember that once a data centre goes offline, it could take at best four hours for even the smallest data centre to get everything back up and running.

“A generator that is set on continuous standby must be able to go from a cold start to fully operational in a matter of seconds. This can impose a severe burden on engine parts. Therefore, your investment in a backup power supply shouldn’t end when you have purchased the generator, what you also need to consider is its ongoing maintenance”, commented Neil Roberts, 2bm Sales Director.

“Regular exercising will not only help keep engine parts lubricated but will also prevent oxidation of electrical contacts, use up fuel before it deteriorates and, in general, help provide reliable engine starting.

“Therefore, we recommend that you exercise your generator set at least once a month for a minimum of 30 minutes loaded to no less than one-third of its rating. Periods of no-load operation should be held to an absolute minimum as unburned fuel tends to accumulate in the exhaust system”, added Neil.

If connecting to the normal load is not convenient for test purposes, in order to maximise engine performance and longevity, you should consider connecting your diesel generator to a load bank of at least one-third the nameplate rating.

Preventative diesel generator maintenance
Preventive maintenance for diesel engine generators plays a critical role in maximising reliability, minimising repairs, and reducing long term costs. By following a maintenance schedule and adhering to specific manufacturer recommendations, will help your standby power system to start and run when its needed.
Due to the durability of diesel engines, most maintenance is preventive in nature and should consist of the following:
– General inspection
– Lubrication service
– Cooling system service
– Fuel system service
– Servicing and testing starting batteries
– Regular engine exercise

Standby generator maintenance checklist
For your generator to be able to power your business when you need it to, you need to create a standby diesel generator maintenance schedule that keeps your genset in good working condition. Most standby generators will be supplied with maintenance guidelines from the manufacturer in an owners’ manual, this should serve as a guide for your emergency generator maintenance checklist too.

Diesel generators that experience more frequent use will require more frequent servicing. If it’s essential your generator is reliable in emergency situations, you will need a strict maintenance plan. Government regulations vary between industry sectors, so depending upon which you are in, may impact upon your maintenance schedule.

In addition, your manufacturer’s warranty is likely to only be valid if you regularly service your generator. That said, even if your facility does not need to regularly maintain or test its generator, you will want to perform maintenance before the time of year you’re most likely to need it.

How to maintain a diesel generator
Each time you service your generator, you should start with a visual inspection. Many of the problems you will encounter, such as leaks, worn-out parts, and dirt, can be uncovered with a quick daily or weekly check.
After looking at each piece of your standby generator, we recommend you complete the tasks outlined in the maintenance checklist below:

Weekly
• Run the generator (typically no-load, automatic transfer switch exercise cycle.)
• Verify that the unit ran and has no alarms or warnings.
• Ensure adequate fuel levels.
• Ensure that the generator is in “Auto” mode, for automatic start-up.
• Check that the circuit breaker is closed.
• Make sure there are no fluid leaks.

Monthly
• Check engine coolant level.
• Check engine oil level.
• Check the battery charger.

Bi-annual maintenance (schedule maintenance with a certified technician)
• Inspect the enclosure.
• Check the battery electrolyte level and specific gravity.
• Check the battery cables and connections.
• Inspect drive belts.
• Inspect the coolant heater.
• Check coolant lines and connections.
• Check for oil leaks and inspect lubrication 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.

Annual maintenance (schedule maintenance with a certified technician)
• Change oil and filter.
• Change the fuel filter.
• Change the air filter.
• Clean the crankcase breather.
• Change spark plugs.
• Check coolant concentration.
• Flush line cooling system (as needed).
• Perform load bank testing