Creating an Inspection Checklist for Your Emergency Standby Generator

Categories Business Tips

Having a reliable, fully functioning standby generator in the event of an emergency can mean the difference between getting through an extended power outage or facing enormous consequences.

In the case of a backup generator failing at a healthcare facility, this could result in life or death situations.

Emergency standby generators supply the power needed to support the critical loads of emergency lighting, fire alarm systems, elevators, and other life-safety functions that are necessary during a power failure.

The stakes are too high not to make regular inspections and testing of your emergency generators a priority. As a facility manager, the best time to identify and resolve any generator issues is during the routine inspections and maintenance.

Weekly Checks

Here are a few ideas to help you create a maintenance checklist for your emergency generator to ensure it is ready to perform when it is needed the most.

Weekly inspection of these basics will catch any problems that may fall through the cracks.

Visual Inspections

  • Do a general overview and inspect for obvious problems
  • Make sure generator controls are in ‘automatic’ to guarantee automatic start up in a power outage
  • Observe for no active alarms or warnings
  • Remove any debris that may be blocking where the air comes in
  • Inspect for fluid leaks, rusting, broken gaskets, or loose connections

Electrical System

  • Check for fully charged batteries and a functioning battery charger
  • Test the generator to ensure that the batteries will perform under load
  • Clean battery connections
  • Make sure that the circuit breaker is closed
  • Ensure that the electrolyte levels are appropriate
  • Inspect all wiring for faulty connections and cracks

Cooling System

  • Ensure that the right coolant is being used and in the proper concentration
  • Check for optimal levels of coolant
  • Look for unrestricted air flow and cleanliness in the radiator
  • Fuel System

  • Check for sufficient fuel and oil levels
  • Replace fuel filters as needed
  • Look for leaks in fuel lines
  • Monitor fuel consumption and take note of any changes
  • Test the fuel to ensure its viability
  • Monthly Checks

    Test the generator once a month for at least 30 minutes under a 30% load. While the generator is running, look for these key indicators to let you know if there is a potential problem that needs to be resolved immediately…

    • Smoke
    • Leaks
    • Unusual noises or vibrations
    • Variations in fuel pressure
    • Rising stack temperature

    It is important to start the generator through the transfer switch to check that the entire emergency power system is working correctly.

    Annual Checks

    On an annual basis, run the generator under 100% load for an hour to ensure that the generator will be able to support and maintain all life-saving functions in the event of an extended power outage.

    It is essential to know that the generator can handle critical loads under dire circumstances.

    Follow this hour run with the necessary maintenance and repairs to keep the generator operational and fully functioning.

    Keep in mind that it is good practice to recheck the generator after any service has been performed on it or if any general maintenance has been performed in the same area as the generator.

    This will help catch any small problems that may have been accidently caused by the maintenance staff.


    FM Issue: Testing Emergency Generators

    Facility Manager: Benefits to Developing a Generator Maintenance Checklist–9401

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