9 Tips to Increase the Life Span of Your Generator
January 15, 2024
Taking measures to extend your generator’s working life can help maximize your investment and boost the unit’s reliability. A generator’s average life span depends on factors like brand, type, size, age, usage patterns and maintenance practices. Failing to properly care for and operate your generator can shorten the unit’s life and result in the need for an expensive replacement sooner.
Implementing a few useful tips can help your generator perform at its best and last longer.
Tips for Maximizing Generator Life Expectancy
Regular upkeep and attention are key to running your equipment efficiently for years to come. Follow these nine tips to extend your commercial generator’s working life.
1. Review Manufacturer Guidelines
In the manufacturer’s guidelines, you can find recommendations for maintenance, load capacity, fuel and best practices for running your model. Following these instructions for service and operation will help you take the best care of your unit. Review these guidelines closely to get the most out of commercial generators and lengthen their working life.
2. Keep Up With Preventative Maintenance
Performance testing, inspections and fluid analyses are common parts of preventative maintenance. Follow a routine care plan to maximize your generator’s working life. A professional should inspect your unit at least once or twice a year to determine its condition and ensure it functions properly. By identifying worn or damaged components during these inspections, you can tackle small repairs before they become a bigger issue.
In addition, it’s important to keep records and documentation of preventative maintenance tasks and maintain a regular schedule of inspections and professional service visits.
3. Opt for High-Quality Fluids
It’s critical to choose quality fuel, oil and coolant to maximize your generator’s performance, efficiency and working life. Low-quality fluids can lead to many complications, including:
- Overheating: Using inadequate coolant can negatively impact operating temperatures and cause the unit to overheat more quickly.
- Increased wear and tear: Poor quality fluids can result in more friction, speeding up wear and tear on the unit’s critical parts.
- Contamination: Impurities in lower-quality fluids can make them more corrosive. Corrosion damages the unit’s internal components over time, leading to issues like leaks and blockages.
- Reduced power output: High-quality fluids promote the generator’s combustion process and are key to optimal output. If you use low-quality fluid options, your unit will likely fail to deliver the same amount of power, efficiency and reliability.
- More frequent repair and maintenance: The fluids you choose can impact how often maintenance and repairs are required. Lower-quality fluids can lead to more frequent repair needs over time, increasing the overall cost of ownership.
Performing regular fluid testing can help enhance your generator’s performance and extend its life span. Make sure the fuel in your unit is not degrading and the equipment is ready for use when you need it.
4. Check Oil Level and Condition Routinely
Regularly checking the oil levels can help keep your equipment in the best condition. Pull out the unit’s dipstick every few weeks and examine the oil levels. As a rule of thumb, a dipstick with a low level but clean oil means more oil should be added. A dipstick with a low level and dirty oil means the oil needs to be changed. Regularly scheduled oil sample testing can give you insights into equipment health beyond a visual inspection.
5. Combat Wet Stacking
Wet stacking can occur in generators with diesel engines when unburned fuel leaks or drips into the unit’s exhaust pipes. The result is a thick, black buildup that can shorten the unit’s life span if left unattended.
Factors that contribute to wet stacking include:
- Running the unit with an improper air-fuel ratio
- Overworking the generator
- Using the unit at unsuitable temperatures
- Operating it under 60% of its rate power load
Preventative maintenance and regular load bank testing are key to avoiding wet stacking. Inspect your unit monthly for signs of this problem to keep the generator in the best working order.
6. Winterize Your Generator
Low temperatures, snow and ice can wreak havoc on improperly maintained generators. Before the start of winter, change the oil, store the unit in a secure location and perform routine battery testing and exhaust inspections.
During winter, complete regular inspections and routine service, including checking the unit’s condition and performance, to keep your generator working effectively for longer. You can also consider having a professional perform a comprehensive inspection every few months until spring.
7. Find the Best Location
Storing your generator in a suitable location is essential for safety and proper operation. Place your unit far away from the doors, windows or vents of a building, and avoid proximity to high-traffic areas and anything flammable. A hood or jacket can help protect generators against precipitation, wind and debris.
To extend your gas or diesel generator’s life expectancy, keep the unit somewhere with clean air if possible. Dust, dirt and debris can create an issue if they clog the air filters.
8. Complete Load Bank Testing
Conduct load bank testing on a regular basis to identify how efficiently your unit runs. Load bank testing is typically part of preventative maintenance efforts to combat carbon buildup in the engine and ensure the electrical connections work as expected. Testing is also helpful in identifying parts that may be failing or close to failing, avoiding wet stacking and extending your unit’s life span.
9. Perform Repairs Promptly
Whether you are performing a daily inspection or a professional is servicing your unit, it’s important to complete repairs immediately. You can save considerable time and money by fixing worn and damaged components as soon as possible. If repair needs are left unattended, the result could be more extensive issues within your unit.
Reach Out to Warren CAT for All Your Commercial Generator Needs
At Warren CAT, we have various types of commercial generators available, including gasoline, natural gas and diesel generators by Caterpillar®. We are proud to serve Oklahoma and West Texas as a full-scale solutions provider for sales, rentals, parts, services and more.
Our team understands the importance of having reliable, well-maintained equipment when your company needs them most. Along with new, used and rental equipment, we provide world-class service for Cat generators. Our technicians undergo state-of-the-art training and are ready to help your unit perform at its best for longer.
Browse our selection of generators or contact us today.