Complete Guide: Backup Generator Maintenance Checklist

Whether you’ve recently purchased a generator or you’re still comparing models and prices, home generator maintenance should be a crucial consideration in your backup power plan. 

But what does the perfect backup generator maintenance checklist look like? First-time generator owners might not have a clear picture of the tasks needed to keep their machinery up and running for ideal generator service. Rest assured—we’re here to demystify the maintenance process and help you build an upkeep plan that works for you. 

Follow along as we explore preventative maintenance, describe a few factors that might impact your upkeep generator installation plan, and break down a complete checklist for generator owners. 

Preventative Maintenance for Backup Generators
As we dive deeper into backup power plans, we’ll be discussing preventative and regular maintenance—the tasks you complete to prevent unexpected malfunctions and keep your machinery running smoothly. 

You probably already perform preventative maintenance tasks in other areas of your life:

  • Scheduling regular oil and filter changes for your car
  • Changing or cleaning the filter for your HVAC system
  • Scrubbing the floor of your tub or shower to prevent slips and falls

Chances are, you’re no stranger to preventative maintenance, but in this article, we’re breaking the process down into three major upkeep categories:

  1. Usage-based maintenance – Tasks you complete based on how frequently you use your generator.
  1. Calendar-based maintenance – Regularly-scheduled objectives you complete regardless of how often you use your generator.
  1. Predictive and routine maintenance – Critical items to address before a predictable incident, like a weather event or planned power outage.


Factors Impacting Maintenance Requirements
While the checklist below will help you keep your home generator up and running, you should also take specific circumstances into account—factors that could impact the frequency or rigor of your maintenance tasks.

Some factors that can affect your upkeep plan include:

  • Climate – If your region experiences harsh cold, intense heat, heavy rains, or snow, you should take extra care to protect your generator from extreme temperatures and precipitation.
  • Dust and dirt exposure – Do you keep your home generator in your hobby woodshop or next to your lawn care equipment? Do you live in a high wind area? If so, this will likely increase your cleaning demands due to increased exposure to dirt and dust.
  • Machinery age – The older your equipment and the more usage hours you demand, the more frequently you should perform proper generator maintenance.


The Foolproof Maintenance Checklist
With all the above in mind, use the checklists below as a starting point for your personalized home generator maintenance plan.

Calendar-Based Tasks
Generator owners typically break scheduled maintenance down into a few increments—tasks to complete every week, every month, every quarter, or even practicing annual maintenance.

But, you should complete a visual inspection every time you perform preventive maintenance. This includes:

  • Checking your generator’s overall cleanliness, removing any:
    • Dirt
    • Dust
    • Debris
    • Fluid buildup
  • Checking for loose connections
  • Looking for rust or corrosion (and addressing it as needed)
  • Ensuring that your generator isn’t leaking, since fluid leaks can affect the overall performance of your generator

You should also start your generator every time you intend to do generator maintenance. A start-up and visual inspection, at minimum, should comprise your weekly generator upkeep. 

Every month and/or prior to starting the generator, make sure to:

  • Check your fluid levels, including
    • Fuel
    • Oil
  • Review your supply of backup fluids, disposing of any expired products
  • Check that your filters are still clean and in good condition

Every quarter, complete the following:

  • Fluid level checks
  • Filter changes
  • A thorough clean of your generator area, including
    • Replacing your pest control products
    • Cleaning connections and fluid caps
    • Removing dust and dirt

Each calendar year, you should flush and replace your fluids. Refer to your generator’s user manual or consult a professional for additional guidance. 

Usage-Based Maintenance Tasks
If you don’t use your generator frequently, you should perform preventative maintenance after a prolonged usage period—for instance, after a power outage or weather event. 

Once you’re done using your generator, make sure to:

  • Perform a visual inspection, as described above
  • Check your oil levels and refill them as needed
  • Purchase replacement backup fuels and fluids
  • Dispose of expired fuels or fluids


Predictive Tasks
If you predict that you’ll run your generator for a prolonged period soon—perhaps a hurricane is forecasted for your area, or your utility company has scheduled grid maintenance—perform predictive maintenance tasks to make sure your equipment will be ready for use when you need it:


  • Complete a thorough visual inspection
  • Check your fuel tank, and fluid levels, refilling if needed
  • Test-run the generator to make sure it turns on and off correctly
  • Fix leaks and schedule other needed generator servicing repairs 


Inverter Generators
If you find yourself with questions on an inverter generator, you can rely on our resource center to make sure you’re informed on what an inverter generator is. We can also make sure to give you the necessary information to decide if you need an inverter generator for your home, or if a regular generator will do the job for your needs.


DuroMax: Providing Portable Home Power Solutions Since 2003
Completing a generator inspection checklist will ensure that your equipment is always operational when you need it and help you get the most life out of your investment. 

If you’re ready to purchase a generator, or if you’re looking for more information about home power solutions, look no further than DuroMax. Since 2003, we’ve been providing high-quality generators, water pumps, engines, and more to homeowners and businesses nationwide. Whether you need backup power at home or on the go, we’re putting the power of the grid into your hands. 

For product information, technical support, generator repair, and all portable power questions, reach out to the DuroMax team—we’ll help you achieve power independence.