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Generator Knowledge, Changing Oil During Utility Outages

Utility power outages can last for days and it is recommended that oil levels during these extended outage is verified.  You should check the oil level every 48 hours to be safe.  This said, if the oil pressure becomes low, there is a safety sensor which will shut the engine off in order to protect the engine. 


There is a procedure which should be followed for checking the oil level during the extended power outages, a list is provided below.  Additionally if you decide to turn the generator off during a power outage in order to save fuel, whether during the night or any other time during the outage, the following steps should be followed.


  1. Locate the circuit breaker inside the generator, typically positioned on the control panel.  Once located turn the breaker to its off position, this disconnects the structure's electrical load from the generator, all lights and electrical loads of the structure will go off.
  2. After the breaker is turned off, let the generator engine continue to run for 5 minutes.  After five minutes set the generator status to off using the selector switch located on the generator's controller or control panel. There are three choices, Auto, Off, On, position the switch to Off.  Once off is selected, the engine will shut off.
  3. Once the engine is shut off and it has set at rest for 3 to 5 minutes, you can check the oil level.  To check your oil level you must locate your dip stick.  Typically the dip stick is positioned in the same orfice used for adding oil, if needed.  If the oil level is low, refill with the oil type recommended by the manufacturer, being careful not to overfill, oil level requirements vary.  Put in small amounts at a time, checking the dip stick frequently.  When checking the dip stick, make sure the oil has a chance to reach the oil pan, 30 seconds or so before checking levels on the dipstick.  Please do not wait until an outage to determine what oil should be used, it is highly recommended you keep your owner's manual in an accessible place for reference.  We are here to help however during power outage events, most all techs may be dispatched out into the field and will not be available to answer these type questions.  Prior to outages, if you have questions, please send those questions to for answers, all questions will be answered in the order they are received. 
  4. When you are ready to restart the generator, switch the selector switch to AUTO, wait for the generator to start, it may take 12 to 15 seconds before the engine starts turning over.  After the engine has started and is running, wait 30 seconds to allow the engine to stabilize and then turn the generator circuit breaker back on.
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