How to Maintain a Diesel Generator

Written by  //  August 20, 2020  //  Home Construction  //  Comments Off on How to Maintain a Diesel Generator

Diesel Generator

One point in favor of diesel generators is there relative lack of maintenance. There’s no carburetor to clean. There are no spark plugs to replace. However, this doesn’t mean that diesel generators are maintenance free. Here are a few of the most common tasks you need to do to maintain a diesel generator.

Change the Air Filters

Diesel generators burn dirtier than natural gas generators. Depending on the type of diesel generator you get, it may burn dirtier than a gasoline powered generator. This is why you will probably need to replace the air filter more often than a gasoline or natural gas powered generator.

Furthermore, diesel generators are generally run in dirty industrial environments, resulting in faster clogging of the air filters than gasoline generators running in someone’s backyard or an outdoor campsite. Replace the air filter as often as called for in the manual, unless there are signs it needs to be done sooner. Replace the filter when the filter has turned grey or the unit is struggling to start up due to a lack of air flow.

Maintain the Fuel Tank

Diesel gasoline generators burn energy-dense fuel. One side effect of this is that it has a smaller fuel tank than a comparable gasoline generator. However, that means you may be refueling it as often as an equivalent gasoline generator.

At least you won’t need as many diesel canisters around the generator in order to store sufficient emergency fuel. A side benefit of the smaller fuel tank in diesel generators is that you probably don’t have to deal with such large "gas cans", though you can store diesel fuel in an appropriate gas can.

Diesel generator fuel requires similar maintenance to gasoline. Keep it in a non-flammable, well-sealed container. Keep the fuel away from ignition sources. Add appropriate fuel stabilizer when the fuel will be sitting for a few months. If the fuel is watery or has taken on a sludge like appearance, replace it. Don’t use it unless you want to risk damage to the generator and certain degradation in the generator’s performance.

Drain the fuel tank in a diesel generator before you store it for the season. This reduces the risk from a mild fire hazard and prevents the fuel from deteriorating inside the tank.

Change the Oil

Diesel generators need the oil changed just like other types of generators. Fortunately, diesel generators don’t need that done as often as gasoline generators. If you are running a gas generator, the oil may need to be changed every 50 to 150 hours of use, depending on the model.

For diesel generators, it may be anywhere from 200 to 500 hours. Always read the owner’s manual. Note that this is after the generator has been broken in. You may be advised to change the oil 8 to 30 hours after you initially turn it on for the first time or after you’ve turned it on for the first time this year.

Replace Worn Parts as Required

Motor components wear out. This may be a slower process in diesel generators than gas generators. However, you should start shopping the available selection of new diesel generators once the repairs start approaching a third of the cost of a new unit or you’ve had two major repairs within a few months. Always replace the generator if there are fuel leaks or excessive fumes.

image credit: Pixabay

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