Capable of withstanding full loads for long durations and also able to start at full load within minutes, diesel generators should be maintained to ensure efficiency and peak performance. Following the maintenance schedule provided by the manufacturers is the best way to keep your engine in top shape. Regular maintenance for diesel generators is vital.
Having invested money in a generator, it would be a shame to have the equipment fail, due to poor maintenance. In facilities such as healthcare centers and hospitals, a standby generator is a critical piece of equipment, and failure could lead to life-threatening situations for the patients. Commercial establishments could end up losing money or find themselves in precarious situations without power backup in case of a grid outage.
Preventive maintenance guarantees that your generator will operate without hitches and supply uninterrupted and consistent power. Brett Patterson from Able Sales says that diesel generators require less maintenance than petrol generators. They are also cheaper to operate. But maintaining them is a must. Some of the aspects of generator maintenance are listed below for your understanding. However, it is recommended that maintenance and service be performed by qualified technicians only.
Routine General Inspection
It is important to keep a check on the fuel, exhaust, and electrical systems when operating a diesel generator to ensure that there are no leaks that can cause a hazardous situation. The generator must be inspected at regular intervals by a qualified technician. Generally, oil change and service are recommended every five hundred hours of operation. However, depending on the usage, some generators may require this at a shorter interval.
Engine oil is critical for the smooth functioning of the engine. Using a dipstick, engine oil has to be checked at regular intervals. However, it must be remembered to allow the engine to cool down and the oil to drain back before doing so. Always follow the manufacturer’s recommendation regarding API oil classification and viscosity. Ensure that the oil level is close to the maximum mark by topping up the same quality and specification of oil as used earlier. The oil filter also needs to be checked and changed as per the manufacturer’s recommendation. It is recommended that the oil be drained out and new oil be filled after a filter change.
Diesel generators heat up to very high temperatures during operation and it is important that coolant is always present to maintain the temperature within operating limits. Always add coolant to the radiator when the engine is cold. Larger engines may require a combination of water, coolant, and antifreeze. While topping up the coolant, check the radiator exteriors for any signs of damage or obstructions. Low-pressure compressed air or water spray will help clean the radiator without damaging the fins.
While not volatile like gasoline, diesel gets contaminated and is subject to corrosion within a year. It is thus important to calculate the amount of diesel required and store it accordingly. If the generator is not used regularly, testing and replacement of fuel if required has to be done between three and six months. Fuel filters need to be drained as per the manufacturer’s recommendation based on the usage hours. Fuel pipes need to be inspected regularly for cracks which will lead to leaks.
One of the most common causes of standby generator failures is an undercharged or weak battery. Testing as part of your regular maintenance for diesel generators to ensure that the battery is fully charged will help to avoid problems in the long run. Maintenance of batteries includes checking the electrolyte levels, specific gravity and cleaning the contact points.
Generator exhaust is harmful and can even cause death. Regular checks along the exhaust line, especially at the connection points, gaskets and welds will ensure that there are no leakage problems. Before starting a generator after a long lay-off, remember to get a qualified technician to check and service the unit. Normally a standby generator needs to be serviced after 150 hours of usage.
An engine needs to run to keep the parts lubricated and ensure that there is no oxidation of the electrical contacts. It is also important that fuel in the system be used before it deteriorates. The engine should be run for at least half an hour at not less than one-third load every month.
Prevention is Better Than Cure
Dirt, oil drips, and other issues can be spotted during a visual check of the machine and cleaned. Regular preventive maintenance is better than reactive maintenance. However, it is important to follow the schedule recommended by the manufacturer.
What regular maintenance for diesel generators do you recommend?