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How Much Service Do A Home Backup Generator Need?

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The anticipated lifespan of a typical emergency generator can be up to 30,000 hours of operational capacity. Depending on how often you use the generator, that could be as much as ten years, perhaps even longer. But this is only feasible if you perform the required amount of service on the unit that it might require based on how often you run it.

Think of it like any piece of equipment upon which you rely over any given time. Proper maintenance is essential for ensuring that it remain in good working order and runs at peak performance at the times when you need it most. So, consider how many engine hours you are cranking out of your generator and then decide on a maintenance schedule that makes the most sense.

Every backup generator and manual transfer switch is going to require some level of service over time. For most portable units that level of maintenance could be determined by a variety of factors that go beyond how often you use the equipment. There are other things to consider such as the surrounding environment in which the generator is operated. Consider the air quality of your region, generators that runin areas where the air is free of airborne contaminants will need less frequent service than those with dirtier air.

The temperature also plays a role. Units that operate in humid or hotter climates will require more service than generators that are operated in cooler, dryer conditions.

Service Tips

The amount of service your generator will need is going to depend on how often you use the unit. Servicing the equipment will typically incorporate routine inspections and maintenance along various components of the generator. The various systems that work together to ensure the equipment is operating smoothly must all be taken into account without anything being overlooked.

The important thing to remember is that every system and component must be maintained properly, if one of these systems or parts is not operating, that can have a major impact on the others. The result is an inoperable backup generator at the time when you need it most.

So, here are the systems and components that you should be checking and servicing on a regular basis depending on how often the generator is used.


All gas-powered equipment must be routinely checked to ensure that fuel lines are not clogged and free, so as to avoid any disruptions of fuel reaching the engine. Fuel lines should also be inspected for any leaks. Doing this every two to three months, as an average, should be sufficient.


Any generator that is low on coolant can run the risk of getting overheated. Check your levels periodically to prevent your unit from getting damaged.


Friction is one of the worst things that can happen to an engine. Ensuring that all your generator’s moving parts are properly lubricated will avoid any unwanted damage from taking place. Inspect your parts with regularity.

Air Flow

Much like with coolant, air flow is another important part of keeping your backup generator cooled at all times so it doesn’t run the risk of overheating. This is important for any generator, regardless of whether it relies on combustion or cooled air as a way to regulate its operating temperature.


The batteries and charger of a generator are important for making sure the unit can turn over and start when you need it to provide you with power. Give these components some attention every six months, so you won’t have a problem with your generator starting at the worst possible time.

Cleaning the Generator

Don’t overlook the importance of cleaning the generator. This is a critical aspect of typical service that must be performed on every generator from time to time. Dust and debris should always be cleared away and ensure that all vents and routes of air flow are unobstructed.

But another thing to watch out for are the tiny critters that will seek out shelter inside of your generator during long periods of downtime. When you aren’t using the generator for months at a time, it can be an attractive hiding spot for tiny creatures who want a place to get out of the cold and rain.

Check the Levels

We’re talking about coolant, oil, fuel, anything that requires some form of liquid to make sure the generator is working properly. You should do this every time you are about to run the generator and it’s a good idea to keep all of these things handy should you run low and need to top off your unit’s reservoirs.

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