Is Your Generator Ready for Winter?
While parts of the country are experiencing unseasonably warmer weather, others are already buried deep in snow. If you haven’t prepared your generator for winter, now is perhaps your last opportunity to do so before the temperatures drop below freezing. We advise ignoring the weather forecast and proactively preparing your generator as soon as possible to ensure you have as much protection as possible before winter’s icy chill damages your system or disrupts your operations. The following are some generator maintenance tasks we strongly recommend.
Check the Electrolytes
No, your generator does not need Gatorade, but you need to check the battery electrolyte levels regularly. Electrolytes are comprised of distilled water and sulfuric acid; over the summer months, water can evaporate and cause an imbalance within the battery. If the electrolytes are low, distilled water can be added to restore the balance. In some instances, you may need to add sulfuric acid. If you need to add sulfuric acid, perform a thorough inspection of the battery to ensure it isn’t leaking. If it is, replace the battery.
Check the Oil and Coolant Levels
Always make sure that you have sufficient oil in reservoirs and properly circulating through the engine. You should also confirm that you have sufficient coolant and that there are no oil or coolant leaks visible around components or in pools at the base of the generator. If either oil or coolant needs to be “topped off,” make sure to fill the reservoir with the appropriate oil/coolant. This is often overlooked, and it is imperative to confirm that the oil and coolant are rated for your generator and the climate conditions in which it operates.
Check the Resistance
The resistance is designed to heat your antifreeze and ensure it remains above freezing. If it is working correctly, the top of your engine should feel hot to the touch. If it is not, shut the generator off and follow the specific instructions within your generator service manual.
Schedule Load Bank Service
When was the last time you scheduled load bank service or load bank testing? If you can’t remember, it’s a good bet you are due for a maintenance appointment and a load bank test. NFPA 70 and NFPA 110 identify load bank testing and service schedules for industries where power loss is critical, and you will want to confirm that you are not overdue for your industry. For other industries, the schedule is less rigid but no less critical. At a minimum, you should perform load bank testing every month for critical operations and possibly even more frequently. Further, it’s advisable to schedule generator service every year or after every 200 hours of operation.
Is your generator overdue for load bank service? Contact Gen-Tech, and we will be happy to send our EGSA certified technicians to your facility to perform the necessary inspections, load bank service, maintenance, and repairs.