If you live in an area where the power gets knocked out often by heavy wind and inclement weather, then you’re likely going to need to use a generator on a somewhat regular basis. But whether you’re using a portable unit or your home has transfer switches for generators, you want to be sure that your backup power supply is always ready to go through any emergency.

But some homeowners aren’t exactly sure what they need to do or how often to do it. Think about your automobile. What type of maintenance to provide to your car and on what kind of timetable? After all, your motor vehicle is similar in that it has an engine that must always run at top performance. You wouldn’t neglect your automobile so you certainly don’t want to do it to your standby generator.

Here are some important maintenance tips to help ensure that your generator is fully operational the next time the power goes down and you’re left in the dark.

Check the Owner’s Manual

You should really read through this cover to cover because it will tell you everything there is to know about operating and maintaining your standby generator. Many generators are designed and manufactured differently and that could affect the maintenance requirements of one versus another. The owner’s manual that comes with your generator has very important information to keep the unit working properly.

Oil

Think about your automobile and how often you maintain it. Same thing with your generator. But while you may change your oil every three thousand miles, your generator’s engine doesn’t need the oil changed as frequently. You should check the levels often, but you only need to change it every two years or after 200 hours of operation.

Changing your oil is also pretty easy to do, just drain the old stuff and pour in the new stuff. That’s it. If you’re not sure where or how to do it on the unit, your owner’s manual will explain.

Air Filter

In order for your generator to work properly, you need to ensure the unit gets proper, clean airflow through the system. That’s where your air filter comes in. You need to change it out every so often so you’re not choking the unit and preventing clean airflow from getting through.

Spark Plugs

Much like your car, the spark plugs are an essential component for ensuring that your generator is operating smoothly. But you don’t need to give these a look every time you plan to run the unit, just pop them out every once a year and check them out. You want to be sure they aren’t showing significant signs of serious wear and tear.

If your generator’s spark plugs do look old, worn out, and ragged, toss them in the trash and put in new ones. Trust me, when the house is dark and you can’t get the generator started, the last thing you want to do is check to see if the spark plugs are in good shape.