If you’re lucky and everything goes right, then you should never need to use your Standby generator. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t invest in keeping it prepped and ready for use. You never know when it’s going to be in need and if you go to use it and find it’s not working because of lack of care or maintenance, you’re going to find yourself in quite an annoying and potentially dangerous situation.

Maintaining your standby generator is important, even if you never have to use it.

Standby generators are machines, and any machine needs tune ups and checks, even if it never gets uses—especially if it doesn’t get used. You won’t know there’s issues until you go to use it if you don’t do regular checks on the machine. It requires oil changes, clean ups, and other bits of maintenance that should be done regularly, in accordance with your machine’s owner’s manual.

Below are some things to make sure you look for in your backup generator as you ensure it maintains a working status.


While there are differences between models and usages, a good rule of thumb is to change the oil on your standby generator for every 200 hours of use. When you do this process, fill the machine with 2 quarts of new oil and make sure to also change out your old oil filter as well. Before you do this, make sure the machine has been shut off for some time and cooled properly. Both synthetic and regular oil can be used for your machine.

Spark Plugs

Spark plugs will require replacement after a while. Generally speaking, you should replace them once a year if you find yourself using your standby generator. You’ll notice they build up grime and use pretty quick. Replacing spark plugs is easy and simple and the new ones will show you just how used and worn the old ones can become, even if it’s not obvious at first glance.

Air Filter

The last item you want to check regularly is the air filter. It’s as simple and straight forward as replacing any other air filter in an HVAC unit or in your car. It can get pretty filthy so even if you don’t think you need to do this step, make it part of your yearly maintenance on your standby generator. It’s as simple as taking out the old, dirty filter and putting in a new clean one for the year.

Related Questions

How often should I service my generator?

Even if it gets little to no use, you should still take precautionary looks at the machine to make sure everything looks right and functioning. Beyond that, maintenance should happen after 200 hours of use.

How long can you continuously run a generator?

Standby generators are not designed to be run for an excessive amount of time at once. Most companies recommend no more than 500 hours, or 20 weeks, of continuous use.

Don’t let your standby generator lapse. Make sure it’s functional and safe to use in your home with regular maintenance. If you have questions, concerns or are considering a backup power system, make sure to call an electrical contractor in your area.

Bratcher Electric is a Michigan electrical contracting firm that has been working with, servicing, and taking care of its residential and commercial customers for over 50 years. As a full-service electrical firm, installing and servicing generators are one of our many specialties.

We will work with you regarding every aspect of your home generator. Answering all of your questions and making sure you choose the best generator for your home or business. It’s our priority. Call us to learn more about installing a Stanby generator and how it will bring you peace of mind and convenience during a power failure!