The 2012 Hurricane season does not end until November, but it looks like we have missed major hurricanes this year. Believe it or not, now is the time to prepare for winter storms starting with poultry farm backup generators. Jess Campbell, Jim Donald and Gene Simpson, all from Auburn University, provided the following information on a generator service checklist.
Fuel level — Check the fuel level in the tank to make sure you have at least 20 gallons of fuel on reserve in case of an emergency power outage. Maintaining a fresh fuel supply is a must. Fuel filters should be changed each year. Newer fuel filters my not have the same Òshelf lifeÓ as previous filters so more frequent changes might be necessary.
Battery - Batteries should be replaced every three years regardless of condition. Check all battery connections to ensure that there is no corrosion buildup and all connections are tight. Check the battery charge level to make sure there is a full charge on the battery. Many growers have installed inexpensive trickle chargers to ensure a full charge when needed.
Fluid levels and air filters — All vital fluids must be kept at proper levels. Engine oil must be changed and fluids must be checked at least once per year. Oil, water/coolant and fuel gauges should be double-checked. Air filters must be inspected and replaced as needed.
Generator settings — Make sure backup switch is set to automatically turn generator on or switch to ON when the power fails. Backup ‘key’ switches may be installed so that if electronic or analog generator control board malfunctions occur, the generator can still be manually started.
Transfer switch — Check transfer switching to make sure it is set to automatically transfer power when the grid power fails. Transfer switch testing must be done at least once a week when the generator cycles on. Most transfer switches have a backup means for transferring power installed in case electronic controls fail. Make sure all farm hands know how to manually transfer power in case of emergency.
Feeder disconnects — Breakers or fuses must be inspected to ensure proper operation. Exact replacement breakers or fuses must be stored in generator shed in case of emergency.
GENERATORS MUST BE FULLY SERVICED ONE TIME EVERY YEAR. This should be done by a professional that knows what to look for.