Confidence In Your Emergency Power: How Often Should You Test Run Your Backup Generator? | Dillon, SC

Confidence In Your Emergency Power: How Often Should You Test Run Your Backup Generator? | Dillon, SC

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Generator maintenance and testing are the keys to ensuring that you can count on your backup generator for reliable power when you need it. At Mister Sparky Generators, we provide maintenance and testing for customers in Dillon, SC and neighboring communities. In most cases, your generator sits and waits for the moment when a car hits a power pole, storms arrive and disrupt power, a transformer failure cuts power to your neighborhood, or even a widespread power outage occurs, such as was anticipated during the Y2k transition, and may be even more likely today. Power distribution systems are complex, and your backup generator keeps life simple for you, by letting you fall back to your own generated power when larger power systems aren’t providing what you and your family need.

The Bottom Line On Backup Generator Testing

Typically, a backup generator should be test run weekly for a brief period, longer on a monthly basis, and with a full load about once per quarter of a year. This ensures that it’s in good operating condition, the starter and battery along with the battery charging circuit are doing their job, and the engine is running smoothly while the generator provides stable power. Maintenance visits will further check your backup generator’s performance and operating condition, as well as servicing necessary items such as filters, belts, and hoses. Test runs can be run by you, initiated by a timer device, or performed by our service personnel.

Automatic Self-Test Options On Newer Generators

To make generator operation even more convenient for homeowners, some manufacturers are now including features to monitor and test generator operation automatically. They typically have an internet connection so that you can monitor their operation when they are providing emergency power, and make note of any irregularities in operation so you can easily schedule maintenance or repair, using a smartphone app usually. The self-test feature is integrated in some generator control systems, and it automatically performs tests on a regular schedule, often weekly, while monitoring the results. It’s still helpful to have manual testing, especially during maintenance visits, but taking “test the generator” off your weekly activities is a bonus for many homeowners. While safely installed generators are always protected against adults and children gaining access while they’re running, you might want to warn your family that yours can start on its own, which could cause curiosity.

Backup Generator Testing In Colder Climates

Here in Dillon, SC, there’s not much risk of a deep freeze, but in northern climates it’s important to let test runs continue for a while so that the generator reaches operating temperature and clears any condensation from the lubricants and fuel. Otherwise, repeated testing can, over time, lead to the contamination of these critical elements. Those areas also employ heaters in many cases to ensure that extremely cold weather doesn’t prevent the backup generator from starting. After all, one of the sources of power failure in states like Minnesota is icing of the power lines. If you have friends and relatives considering backup generators in colder climates, they will discover these issues!

What Happens If Test Runs Don’t Go Smoothly?

If your generator doesn’t start during a periodic test, our repair team will respond quickly to diagnose and make repairs so your emergency power protection will continue to be available. In many cases, it will probably be a matter of the starting equipment such as the battery, battery charging circuit, and starter motor. It could even be that someone shut off the power to the generator that is used to keep the battery charged, and a simple reset of that circuit is all that’s needed. Our team is thorough, so we will make sure that we’ve performed a thorough diagnosis and test of your system before returning it to service. If your system does start but runs irregularly, our engine specialists will respond to check fuel quality and engine status and locate issues that need attention. Finally, if the power being produced is varying in frequency or voltage beyond the specified values, our experts will diagnose and repair that issue as well. Though the generators we install are reliable and long-lived, having an expert team of maintenance personnel and repair professionals on call is an important part of your generator ownership.

Testing Under Load

When we test your generator under load, we come as close to normal operation as possible, ensuring that your system is working as expected and ready to take on the load for which it was installed. Though this test is about the generator, it is also an opportunity to make sure that there haven’t been any significant changes to your home’s wiring or your generator connection that added more load than your unit is designed for. For example, if your HVAC system has been connected to backup power or you’ve plugged in a large chest freezer on a circuit that the generator supplies, you might need additional capacity to safely and reliably run your generator for an extended period of time, or it might not even handle the load at all. We can do the math, figure out what capacity you need, and plan for an upgraded generator installation if you like, or help you adjust your home’s load to bring it under the limit while still meeting your family’s needs.

Added Benefits of Regular Testing

An added advantage of regular generator testing is the noise and vibration that discourages nest building inside the enclosure and the damage that can result from those inhabitants. It’s also a good time to ensure that the vibration and noise protection of the generator installation is still working correctly.

For All Your Emergency Power and Backup Generator Needs

Mister Sparky Generators serves Dillon, SC homeowners with backup power systems including installation, repair, and all-important maintenance. We’re area experts on backup power, providing residential and commercial systems from several manufacturers. Call us for the best emergency power help.