When the electrical grid fails, you will need to depend on your standby diesel generator. Although the top generator brands are built to last, there will be a time to service and maintain your generator. For most people on Long Island, power outages are just an inconvenience. However, for hospitals, healthcare facilities, mission-critical facilities, and data centers, a lack of power is a greater problem. In such instances, power outages can be life or death situations, as well as create costly financial strains.
All of this can be avoided, however. Having your backup diesel generator serviced and maintained regularly will limit your liabilities. A well-maintained standby power system is your best defense against costly and dangerous black outs. Preventative maintenance is key to keeping your generator humming.
Why Choose Diesel?
For most large-scale industries, diesel generators are the top choice for backup power. Diesel will produce more power and will cost less to operate. Furthermore, it is not as volatile as gas, which makes it the safer option. These reasons are also why diesel is used in various engines, such as trucks, trains, farm equipment, etc.
Diesel generators are more durable, reliable, and are cheaper to operate due to lower fuel cost. Being a lubricant, diesel will also reduce friction and wear. Additionally, they run quieter and cleaner due to newer technology.
Why do Generators Fail?
There are many reasons why your diesel engine fails to start. The first thing you should check is for a fuel issue. If the fuel is low, then the generator might not be able to start. The next thing to check is the fuel injection pump, fuel lines, and filter. There are some other less common problems, such as a cracked engine or broken valves.
Backup generators can typically run for 30,000 hours between major overhauls. However, regular tune-ups and maintenance will ensure that your generator will work properly when it is needed. Standby power systems are complex. Choosing a professional for your maintenance needs is the right choice for proper generator functioning.
Generators will fail due to faulty maintenance procedures or neglect. Some examples are:
- Fuel filter being clogged due to old or contaminated fuel
- The start switch not being left on “auto”
- Starting batteries are not fully charged
- Air in the fuel system
- Oil, gas, or coolant leakage
Routine Diesel Inspections
There are general inspections that all diesel generators will require. Monitoring leaks and any breakage is an important routine maintenance activity. NY electric Company suggests a good visual inspection should be done at least once a month. Simple visual inspections for oil leaks and hose or belt condition are very beneficial. Frequent checks of your generator can keep rodents, wasps, or others from nesting in your equipment. The most important maintenance is an oil change, similar to any other combustion engine.
Basic Routine Inspection Tips
- Check fuel and fuel/water separators
- Maintain general cleanliness
- Check oil and coolant levels when it is not running
- Check for loose wire connections and corrosion or damage on terminals
Standby Generator Maintenance Checklist
A standby generator is likely to be subjected to extreme operating conditions on Long Island. This includes ambient temperatures, exposure to salt water, exposure to sand and other contaminates. Creating a schedule is the best way to keep track of maintenance and the dates that services were performed. Bi-annual and annual maintenance checks should be scheduled with a certified technician.
Some Important Items to Check:
Lubricating System: Oil filter, engine oil used, oil sample
Fuel System: Filter, leaks, sediment
Exhaust System: Leaks, hoses, exhaust manifold
Air Intake System: Filter, connection
Cooling System: Water pump, coolant level, belt condition, clamps, hoses
Electrical System: Connections, ground, wires, plugs, battery terminal
Ignition System: Spark plugs, rotor, cap, ignition switch