The only way to check the health of a residential standby generator is to test it. Periodic testing is essential since it lets you know whether or not your generator will work in an emergency.
Note: If you work at a business with a commercial-sized generator, learn more about our full-load bank testing services.
Why Non-Emergency Generator Testing is Crucial
Your generator needs to be maintained just like your car does.
But the reality is that home generators often lie unused after installation and initial tests. So, needless to say, it’s a terrible idea to wait until an emergency to find out how reliable your home generator is.
Thankfully, many modern residential generators automatically test themselves. While this has advantages, nothing can replace manually turning off power to test the generator in emergency conditions. This assures you that your generator works and can alert you to repairs or maintenance before an outage happens.
How to Test Your Residential Standby Generator
A residential standby generator connects directly to a fuel source like propane or natural gas before connecting to a mainline circuit breaker. Your home’s main utility line may be in a box inside or in the garage or basement.
Don’t be intimidated by this technology, though—testing it simple! Here are four easy steps to do it:
- Flip the mainline breaker OFF. Flipping the main utility disconnect will cut power from the incoming utility line and force the standby generator on.
- Listen for the generator to turn on and the transfer switch to click. Transfer switches are most commonly responsible for sending power from incoming utilities or generating power throughout the house. The generator may run for a few seconds before the transfer switch clicks. This is because the transfer switch is waiting to ensure the incoming power is stable.
- Let your generator run for about 10 minutes. Then, give your generator time to warm up and “exercise.” This is a good time to walk through your home and check to see that power fully returns.
- After running a test, be sure to turn the mainline breaker ON. Once you’ve done this, wait for the transfer switch to click and the generator to return to standby.
Record the Test and Follow Up If Needed
As a general rule, test your generator a few times a year. You can also do so as needed. It’s always a good idea to run a test before hurricane season or a major storm headed toward Myrtle Beach.
Keep a record of your test in a notebook or electronic device you can readily access. If you experience any problems, contact a residential generator specialist for a more thorough test and inspection.
Get in Touch
The Cooper family has been serving the Myrtle Beach area’s HVAC and electrical needs since 1989. We’re proud to deliver comprehensive commercial generator sales, service, and repair to complement our HVAC and electrical services. We’re ready to keep you up and running during the next emergency.
Don’t put off generator maintenance until a hurricane is on the way. Schedule your appointment or Call Cooper at 843-626-3689 today!
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How often and for how long should a safety test be performed on a house generator. Some say weekly for 5 minutes others say every 2 weeks for 10-15min. I would feel its better to run it every 2 weeks and run longer to really warm up the engine and prevent condensation in the oil. Any Comments?
my Generac generator is set to automatically turn on and run for 5 minutes on the tenth of each month at 2 pm.
A Generac do you see that thisstandby generator weekly self-test should run for 15 to 20 minutes, not 5.
A Generac weekly self-test should run for 15 to 20 minutes, not 5
How do I test it if I don’t have it hook to utilities/house. Says no utilities detected. If it says that then it won’t kick out any power. Im I right? Not getting any volts on my meter. Does it have to detect a load before it will kick out power????
There are a number of variables involved, however it is possible that the generator in question needs to log a power loss from the utilities before it will attempt to energize the main panel.
My generator comes on with a power failure but I have no power to the house.
check your transfer switch
This was very helpful. Our now two year old GE generator self tests every week on Saturday and yesterday it made three attempts to start. I put it in manual and it started but I will call the installer tomorrow. I like the idea of a live test as we’ve not had a power outage in which to do so.