What Does it Mean to Exercise Your Generator?

exercise your generator

If you own a generator, you may have heard that you need to let it exercise regularly. But what does this mean and why is it important? We’re glad you asked!

Exercising your generator simply means to allow your generator to run even when it’s not actually needed. Doing this on a regular basis can help prolong engine life and can help you identify potential problems before they grow into a major headache.

Why do you need to exercise your generator?

The main reason for exercising a generator is to be sure it’s in proper operating condition. Most of the time, a homeowner chooses to have a backup generator installed so they will still have power in an emergency. Now, imagine how frustrating it would be to realize – in the midst of a power outage – that your generator isn’t working.

There are a few other reasons it is recommended to exercise your generator. Periodically running your generator helps to prevent moisture buildup and wet-stacking. It ensures all parts remain properly oiled, and prevents fuel from degrading. And, as we mentioned, it’s important to helping detect and prevent bigger issues down the road. Keeping up with proper maintenance now will go a long way toward extending the lifespan of your generator.

How do you exercise your generator?

Most backup generators automatically turn on to exercise at a day, time, and frequency set by the owner. In general, manufacturers recommend exercising your generator between once a week and once a month. Depending on the purpose of your generator, local, state or federal mandates may require specific exercise cycles as well.

It is usually a good idea to choose a day and time that you’re typically home to exercise your generator. That way, you can keep an eye on it to watch and listen for anything that may indicate a problem. Also, if you choose to exercise it on Sunday – Thursday, if there is an issue, you can have the repair made through the week without paying an additional fee for emergency service.

Here are some thing you want to check for while your generator is exercising:

  • Normal engine sounds, vibrations, and temperature
  • No alarms or alerts
  • Normal oil pressure
  • Proper fuel transfer
  • Stable voltage and frequency
  • No leaks – engine oil, fuel, or coolant

Indianapolis Generator Maintenance from Midwest Generator Solutions

So what happens if your generator is exercising and starts putting off a lot of smoke? Or a generator alarm goes off? Or it is making a weird noise? Now what?

No sweat! Call us!

The team at Midwest Generator Solutions is made up of licensed and certified electricians and we’re available around-the-clock to keep your generator in tip-top shape. We’ll make sure you’ll be ready when the storm hits.

Whether you need generator repairs, service, maintenance, or installation, we can help! Give us a call today to get started.


  1. Lily Bridgers on February 6, 2024 at 3:40 pm

    Every time there’s a power outage, my husband turns into a DIY guru trying to fix our generator. But let’s be real, his toolbox skills aren’t exactly top-notch! So now, he’s all fired up about finding a generator unit maintenance service to make sure we’re not left in the dark next time the lights go out. I guess I’ll also let him know that most homeowners want to have a backup generator built so they will still have electricity in an emergency, therefore the primary reason to test a generator is to make sure it is in good working order.

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