A diesel generator is a power-generating machine that combines the mechanisms of an engine and an electrical generator. The engine uses diesel as fuel to drive the generator to work and produce electrical energy.
No doubt that a diesel generator or a diesel Genset is a boon for countering power shortages and providing auxiliary supplies. However, being in a dormant state most of the time can put it out of order. Thus, it becomes crucial to maintain your diesel generator to steer clear of breakdowns in the nick of time.
The following blog discusses the ultimate checklist for knowing how to service a diesel generator. So, without further ado, let’s begin!
Diesel Generator Maintenance Checklist
Below are the checkboxes you need to cross off when carrying out a regular inspection of your diesel generator.
Check the Oil
The first and foremost step is to check the engine’s oil which lubricates different parts of the machine. Before turning on the generator, measure the oil level using a dipstick. It should fall between the H and L marks of the dipstick.
When topping up oil, ensure that the new batch you’re pouring in has the classification and viscosity as recommended by your generator’s manufacturer. Remember to regularly clean the engine, and change the oil as well as the oil filter. For the latter, go through the user manual of your generator and perform the required steps.
Drain Fuel Filters
Contaminated fuel can pose numerous problems to the normal working of the generator.
For example, the water vapour build-up gets accumulated in the generator tank in the condensed form, causing bacterial growth. Diesel with a low amount of sulphur blocks the fuel-injection pumps more frequently. Stored diesel is further prone to corrosion and degradation within a year.
As a result, draining fuel filters at set intervals becomes imperative. Generator exercises are recommended to use up the remaining fuel within time. Fuel polishing is also an option to decontaminate fuel if it isn’t replaced every six to eight months.
Test the Batteries
The health of your generator’s batteries plays a vital role in providing a hassle-free start. Drained or weak batteries often end up failing your standby power system when needed the most. Thus, testing the battery is crucial for a successful start.
Various generators come with an in-built battery testing mechanism and indicator. You can refer to its reading upon turning on your generator. Otherwise, you can use a manual battery load tester to check the battery.
For open-cell lead-acid batteries, check the specific gravity to determine the charge using a battery hydrometer. You must charge the battery if the reading is lower than 1.215. A fully-charged battery has a specific gravity of 1.260. Moreover, check the electrolyte level after every 200 working hours and fill it with distilled water when low.
Check the Coolant
Keep an eye out for low coolant levels to prevent the generator from overheating.
Shut down the generator and wait for the coolant temperature to drop below 50℃ to avoid injury from hot steam. Open the radiator cap and add coolant (if necessary) till it’s 75% filled.
Note that stronger generators require a balanced mixture of water, antifreeze and coolant additives. Thus, add coolant that fits your generator brand and model.
Remove dirt or any other foreign accumulation from the exterior of the radiators carefully. You can perform this using a soft cloth or a brush to avoid damaging the radiator fins.
Check for Exhaust Leaks
The exhaust line is susceptible to leakage at various places like welds, gaskets and connection points. Watch out for such leaks, especially 24 hours before use, and repair them at the earliest.
Clean the Generator
Maintaining cleanliness is the basic preventive care for any generator. Perform regular visual checks to find oil stains, wasps and bugs, and other issues with the equipment.
You can use a handheld vacuum cleaner to collect visible loose debris. While alkaline cleaning solutions are ideal for removing oil stains.
Different parts call for different cleaning methods. Hence, ask your manufacturer or get a technician to perform routine cleaning sessions on the generator.
Diesel Generator Service Ultimately Saves You Money
Regular maintenance helps identify even the most minor problem with your diesel generator and prevents sudden shutdowns. While spending a bit every year on servicing might seem expensive, it’s highly cost-effective in the long run.
By carrying out periodic inspections, you can save yourself from spending huge chunks on major parts or the entire Genset itself. A fairly maintained diesel generator also adds to better fuel efficiency, overall functionality and the machine’s lifespan.
Frequently Asked Questions about Diesel Generator Service
Q. How often does a diesel generator need maintenance?
A diesel generator should undergo maintenance every six months, ideally. However, the period also depends on the usage. For frequently used generators, servicing should be done after every 400 hours of operation, even if it means 2-3 months. On the other hand, if your generator isn’t used much, you must still get it checked at least twice a year to be on the safer side.
Q. How often should I change my generator oil?
Generator oil must be changed after every 100 hours of operation. You can use a dipstick to check the oil level and see whether it needs a top-up. Always stick to the oil brand recommended by the manufacturer to avoid any complications.