If you own a generator, you may have heard that you need to let it exercise regularly. But what does this mean and why is it important?

Exercising a generator simply means to allow the generator to run even when it’s not actually needed.

Why do you need to exercise your generator?

The main reason for exercising a generator is to be sure it’s in proper operating condition. Most of the time, a homeowner chooses to have a backup generator installed so they will still have power in an emergency. Now, imagine how frustrating it would be to realize that your generator isn’t working, in the middle of a storm.

There are a few other reasons it is recommended to exercise a generator. Periodically running your generator helps to prevent moisture buildup and wet-stacking. It ensures all parts remain properly oiled, and prevents fuel from degrading. It’s important to helping detect and prevent bigger issues down the road. Keeping up with proper maintenance now will go a long way toward extending the lifespan of your generator.

How do you exercise your generator?

Most backup generators automatically turn on to exercise at a day, time, and frequency set by the owner. In general, manufacturers recommend exercising your generator between once a week and once a month. Depending on the purpose of your generator, local, state or federal mandates may require specific exercise cycles as well.

It is usually a good idea to choose a day and time that you are typically home to exercise your generator. That way, you can keep an eye on it to watch and listen for anything that may indicate a problem.

Here are some thing you want to check for while your generator is exercising:

  • Normal engine sounds, vibrations, and temperature
  • No alarms or alerts
  • Normal oil pressure
  • Proper fuel transfer
  • Stable voltage and frequency
  • No leaks – engine oil, fuel, or coolant

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