April 21, 2023

Is It Recommended to Test a Generator Before an Outage?

A man lighting the candle

Power outages are a real drag. To avoid being left in the dark, many homeowners and businesses invest in standby generators. Regular testing is crucial to ensure your backup power source is ready when you need it.

The Importance of Non-emergency Generator Testing

Regular generator testing is vital for a few reasons. Here’s why you should make it a priority:

  • Performing routine generator maintenance helps you identify potential issues before an outage occurs. This gives you time to perform a generator repair so you’re not left without power at a critical time.
  • Regular testing ensures your generator is operating efficiently. This is particularly important for portable generators, as they can experience performance issues if not maintained properly. A well-functioning generator conserves fuel and is less prone to unexpected breakdowns.
  • Testing your generator in non-emergency situations familiarizes you with its operation so you feel more comfortable using it during a power outage. This is especially beneficial if you have a new generator or haven’t used it in a while.

How Often Should Load Testing Be Performed?

Load testing involves running your generator at full capacity to verify it can handle the power demands placed on it during an outage. Industry experts recommend performing load tests at least once a year. For generators that see frequent use, such as those in commercial settings, load testing may need to be done more frequently.

In addition to annual load testing, routine generator maintenance—such as checking the fuel, oil, and air filter—is essential to ensure the generator is in good working condition. These simple steps help prolong your generator’s life and reduce the need for costly repairs.

How to Test Your Standby Generator

Follow these steps to test a residential standby generator:

  1. Before starting, review the owner’s manual for specific testing procedures and safety guidelines. Then, ensure the generator is in a well-ventilated area away from flammable materials.
  2. Check the fuel level, oil level, coolant level, and air filter.
  3. Examine the Generac battery, ensuring it’s clean, free of corrosion, and properly connected.
  4. Flip the mainline breaker off to cut power from the utility line and force the standby generator to turn on. Listen for the transfer switch to click, which may take several seconds.
  5. Allow the generator to warm up and “exercise” for about 10 minutes.
  6. During this time, test the appliances around your house to make sure they’re receiving power.
  7. Monitor the generator’s performance, noting any unusual noises or fluctuations in power output.
  8. After testing, turn the mainline breaker back on. Wait for the transfer switch to click and the generator to return to standby mode.

Seidel Electric Inc, an authorized reseller of Generac generators, specializes in generator installation, maintenance, and repair in the Tri-State Area. We can tailor our services to your needs for the best customer experience. Don’t wait for an emergency to find out your generator isn’t working—contact us today at (908) 362-6191 for all your Generac service needs.