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PPM advice: Would increasing our PPM budget on back-up power extend the assets life?

It is not always necessary to increase planned preventative maintenance (PPM) visits to help extend an asset’s life, especially if this asset is not being used daily i.e. a back-up generator. What is essential is that building managers ensure that they carry out the engineer’s recommendations as quickly as budget allows.

Maintenance should be thought of as a long-term solution and organisations may have to make initial investment, though payback is relatively quick with various lasting benefits for many types of asset.

In the case of back-up power, a standby generator can have a lifespan of up to 30 years. But to maximise the lifespan of the asset, a rigorous PPM program is recommended.

Prevention or cure?

A service provider should always categorise their communications to demonstrate if a repair is either recommended, urgent or critical and we explain what they should be clear what they mean by these terms.

Unfortunately, it is far too common for people to leave the recommendations until they turn into urgent or critical situations. This is not what we would consider to be proper preventative maintenance, and if you have this mindset you will leave your organisation open to bigger, more costly repairs or without the support that asset gives your business until it is repaired. The costs of this would differ greatly by business and if you are managing a building you should have a strong understanding of why you have the asset on site and what the risks of not having it are in cost, downtime and sometimes life.

Extending the life of equipment isn’t necessarily about increasing PPM costs but this depends greatly on what and how you are currently spending your budget. If you can answer yes to both of the following questions you are probably doing all you can to get the most out of your asset. If not, then you may wish to increase your PPM budget to allow you to do so:

  1. Do you trust that your service provider is carrying out a comprehensive check and can you see exactly what they are checking and why?

  2. Are you getting a clear and comprehensive report following these inspections, but more importantly, are you actioning all recommendations?

Get with the program

Maintenance schedules for generators—whether a unit is powered by diesel or gaseous fuels—are generally the same. The typical maintenance cycle includes a general inspection followed by scheduled inspection and service of the following critical systems:

Fuel system (diesel fuel requires more maintenance)

Coolant system

Lubrication system

Air system (combustion and cooling air)

Starting system (batteries and charger)


Transfer switch

As a minimum, a general visual inspection whilst running the set is recommended at least once per month. Semi-annual checks such as coolant levels and accessory drive belts should also be considered.

Annual maintenance should take place when changing the engine oil and filter. If you want to extend oil-change intervals, consider an oil-analysis program. This will give you recommendations based on the actual condition of the lubricating oil.

Replace the air filter and fuel filters, as well. If it is a diesel unit that does not use a lot of the fuel in its storage tank, consider having the fuel in the tank filtered and checked for additive content.

While the above is a good starter for PPM it is by no means an exhaustive list. If your asset’s requirements are in doubt, speak to the experts.

PPSPower, keeping services running 24/7

If you are using a run-to-failure model for your generator’s maintenance, you could be costing yourself money and causing unnecessary and expensive disruption when the system fails. Preventive maintenance seeks to limit the number of critical failures while extending the useful lives of your systems so that you do not have to replace them as often.

PPSPower helps its customers maintain their generator and UPS systems, extending the life of their assets through regular maintenance schedules. Its team of skilled service and maintenance engineers work closely with customers to understand their needs, improve energy efficiency and keep their critical systems running with bespoke maintenance, repair and replacement service packages.

For a bespoke maintenance and servicing package with dedicated account management and full-service recommendations contact PPSPower today.

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