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Nov 09

The Basics Of Residential Generator Maintenance

By: Patti Dinneen


Residential generators are complex machines, and like any other engine-powered machine, standby generators require periodic maintenance to run properly. We understand the significance of preventative maintenance plans to ensure that your generator is always in peak condition. Our generator service technicians can schedule visits to your home (at your convenience) so that you don’t go too long without having your generator serviced. After all, you wouldn’t let your car go for years without an oil change, so why should you treat your generator differently? This post will cover the basics of residential generator maintenance.

After you have first purchased a generator, create a log-book, so that you can tell the last time the generator was maintained. Write down important maintenance notes on the schedule and repairs. We advise you to schedule maintenance during seasons with low possibility of storms. On another important note: you may consider performing the generator maintenance yourself; however, we strictly advise against this. First, you can severely hurt yourself if you are not properly changed. Second, you may damage your generator in the process, lastly, you may void your warranty.

How Often Should Your Generator Be Serviced?

At a minimum, Kinsley recommends your generator be serviced at least once per year.  However, if your home is dependent on back-up power, we suggest semi-annual maintenance.

For your generator to be fully maintained, the following items should be addressed:

  • Check/add lubricating oil
  • Check radiator/cooling system
  • Check fuel lines/hoses for leaks
  • Inspect fuel vents for obstructions, check/clean fuel sediment bowl
  • Check fuel/water separator (if applicable)
  • Check warning lights illuminated, gauges/instrumentation function/faults
  • Check fan belts for excessive wear, inspect/adjust tension
  • Check governor belts for excessive wear
  • Check battery charger, adjust if necessary
  • Replace spark plugs, points, distributor cap and ignition rotor (if applicable)
  • Check battery capacity, clean battery and apply anti-corrosion treatment to terminal
  • Perform generator, generator end, ATS & component functional and safety check
  • Run generator – under load when possible (customer authorization required)
  • Conduct electrical frequency analysis and adjust if necessary
  • Replace fuel / water separator (if applicable)
  • Change air filter as needed
  • Perform on site coolant analysis-test freeze point, nitrate levels, corrosion inhibitor levels
  • Change lubricating oil and oil filter
  • Replace spark plugs, points, distributor cap and ignition rotor (if applicable)

Final Thoughts

Proper maintenance for your residential generator will not only improve reliability, it will help to extend the life of your standby generator system. Get the required maintenance your generator needs so that it will perform as planned during a power outage.

Kinsley Power Systems

Our goal is to ensure that your system performs when you need it. Kinsley Power offers customized preventive maintenance programs and extended warranties for all customers - hospitals and cable companies and factories and homeowners alike. Kinsley services all major make and model generators, transfer switches and switchgear. Kinsley also offers such specialized services as load bank tests and rodent screening. If you are looking to discuss residential generator service plans, please email:

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