You don’t want to be low on power when skies start to glower. Keep your generator juiced when the winds let loose with our commercial maintenance guide.

Key Takeaways

  • Even low-level hurricanes can be devasting for business operations
  • Generator maintenance can be carried out daily, weekly, monthly, and beyond
  • Always consult a professional before any maintenance attempts
  • Follow state and federal safety regulations to keep maintenance code-compliant
  • Maintenance today provides a huge ROI on current and future performance

If you’re a Florida business, you’re probably well aware that hurricane season is already underway. It’s a long stretch for commercial generators to endure – from July 1 to November 30, if we’re going by the official meteorological calendar. Winds of 74mph could hit our businesses and the “good” news is that those are the slow ones. Slow they may be, but they’re still classed as “very dangerous.”

If we’re really unlucky, we may be buffeted by gales in excess of 157mph. Those babies clock in at the “catastrophic” end of the scale. This means power lines are likely to be downed, tangled, torn up, and sent airmail clean into the next state. The coming months will very probably require businesses to rely on their commercial generators more heavily than at other times of the year. 

This means getting real about the threat of hurricane damage and showing our hard-working power sources some TLC. This guide will provide pro tips on commercial generator maintenance, so you can keep your operation running while less-prepared competitors are flying blind.

Perform time-sensitive maintenance regularly

Commercial generators can really be checked at any time depending on what you want to maintain. For example, checking fluid levels (coolant, oils, and fuels) and charged air coolant piping can be done every day as can a visual scan for external unit damage. Weekly care can consist of checking the battery for adequate charge and leakage signs.

Monthly maintenance involves drying the exhaust, testing the coolant tank’s concentration, and checking drive belt tension. Semi-annual to annual maintenance involves cleaning your commercial generator inside and out to make sure everything from filters and fans to crankcases and control panels are sparkling clean.

It’s very important that you don’t attempt any form of commercial generator maintenance (other than a visual examination) without the proper equipment, skills, and experience to stay safe. This is why it’s always recommended to call in the pros. Once a year, it’s also recommended to run the big one: A comprehensive generator performance check known as a load bank test.

How a load bank test works

Running a load bank test is one of the best ways to see how your generator is faring now and how it will handle a hurricane in the future. A load bank test is like a full-body inspection and evaluation rolled into one. The commercial generator is slowly brought up to its kilowatt load capacity to see if it can keep operating right up to maximum pressure without burning out or experiencing other performance issues.

This maintenance check provides peace of mind because most generators aren’t called on to run at full steam — which may be necessary in a hurricane. You want to know that your generator will work at max pressure and not let you down. Load bank tests also help burn off any excess carbon, soot, or unused fuel that might be present in diesel generators and could cause a fire hazard. 

This test also provides your electrical contractor with plenty of valuable data on how your unit cools alongside amp ratings, wiring conditions, engine RPMs, and voltage numbers. Make sure the contractor refers to your generator manufacturer’s guidelines so the load bank test will take your specific model design into account and any repairs made won’t void the warranty.

Complying with safety regulations

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) provides essential guidance for commercial generator maintenance and other related best practices in the NFPA 110 resource. There, businesses can read all the necessary regulations that will keep their generators functioning and code compliant.

It’s especially important that medical/care facilities follow these maintenance rules. The Universal Electrical Services team knows first-hand just how important because we’ve assisted in ensuring nursing homes have life-saving generator systems they can rely on in a hurricane.

If you need an at-a-glance guide to which parts of the NFPA 110 are most pressing to read, you can find that here. This second resource offers an even more comprehensive list of suggested maintenance steps based on the weekly, monthly, and annual schedules. It also reiterates that no list is exhaustive and that your manufacturer’s guidelines must be closely followed.

Check everything when the winds subside

We’re all relieved when hurricanes head off, but the commercial generator maintenance work isn’t over yet. External unit damage is easy to see and should be addressed right away, but businesses should also schedule a follow-up visit from their electrical contractor to give the generator another thorough check-up. They can also look for any vulnerabilities in your current maintenance plan and offer advice on improving it.

UES is your go-to team for hurricane generator prep

While maintenance can seem like a chore or an avoidable expense, it’s actually a massive investment in business continuity, customer satisfaction, and the safety and wellbeing of your customers and staff.

The Universal Electrical Services team has over 20 years of experience in helping businesses stay powered up when hurricanes are bearing down. We’re licensed throughout Florida and serve every kind of company from health care hubs to data centers. We get the job done right the first time and no generator issue is too big or too small for us to handle.

Why wait another minute without absolute certainty in your generator? Visit our contact page to get in touch and our commercial maintenance experts will get back to you in a flash!