Closeup on a small home wind turbine from the front

Small wind turbines are an increasingly popular source of energy for homes. More and more people install them to save money on their electricity and heating bills.

However, many people considering buying a wind turbine are in the dark about its maintenance needs, especially regarding oil.

This article will examine how often small wind turbines need maintenance, what to look for to diagnose a problem, and warranties for popular small wind turbines.  

How Often Do Small Wind Turbines Require Maintenance?

Small wind turbines are designed to have enough oil in their gearbox to last the product’s lifetime. However, if you need maintenance for any noticeable leaks, seek the opinion of a technician. Additionally, homeowners should check gearbox oil after 500 hours of operation.

Why You Need To Perform Oil Maintenance on Small Wind Turbines

Wind turbines have multiple components that help the fan turn safely and effectively. It’s essential to understand these components and how they contribute to the overall performance of your wind turbine to understand when they need attention.

The wind turbine has essential parts that help the blade turn and function correctly. If these are not properly lubricated, it could cause more significant problems over time.

Some of these crucial pieces are: 

  • The gearbox 
  • Rotor shaft
  • Hydraulic components
  • Bearings

All of these components need oil to run smoothly. Even though small wind turbines are built to have enough oil for the product’s lifetime, there could be times when you have oil leaks, which lead to damage to the product.

It is essential to be on the watch for any oil leaks and immediately call your service professional if you notice one to prevent severe issues from occurring further down the road.

Common Maintenance Issues in Small Wind Turbines

Most maintenance issues in small wind turbines are localized in the gearbox. The gearbox takes care of speeding the slow, high-torque rotation of the blades into a much faster cycle that feeds the generator.

Although gearboxes are designed to be sturdy, the elements can take a toll on them over the years. Changes in wind direction, vibration, and moisture can all contribute to long-term damage. This deterioration usually appears as micro pitting and tooth-root breakage.

A diagram of a small wind turbine gearbox
Courtesy of Energies

Gearbox oil allows this component to stay functional for many years without maintenance, but the oil reserve can sometimes be contaminated. Oxidation can be an issue depending on the type of oil, but the most critical contaminant of gearbox oil is water. Usually, if water exceeds a concentration of 500 ppm, the oil will start degrading.

How Often Do You Need To Perform Oil Maintenance?

Wind turbines are made up of several components that enable the fan to spin and produce energy. Naturally, these components need oil to keep them working smoothly, so how often should you check their oil levels?

Oil maintenance must be performed on wind turbines at least twice per year, depending on how heavy your usage is. Smaller home wind turbines don’t require maintenance every year. Again, homeowners should check gearbox oil after 500 hours of operation.

Powering Engineering says you should schedule these appointments up to three times per year. A technician will usually take about 12 hours to work on your turbine. Your turbine will be inoperative during this period—take note of that if you have several vital appliances depending on the wind turbine’s output.

Two small wind turbines in an open field with blue sky and clouds in the background

Smaller home wind turbines often cite in their product description that you do not need to perform any maintenance on them. However, it is essential to diagnose any potential oil leaks and call a professional immediately if you notice one. 

Here are some things to look for to see if you need maintenance on your home turbine: 

  • Check if the propeller is moving with ease
  • Look for any noticeable leaks
  • Ensure that there aren’t any unusual odors

The best way to guarantee that your turbine doesn’t need any oil service is to test the oil within the first year of owning it. Even though the turbine is built to have enough oil to last the product’s lifetime, it is still a good idea to do this and prevent more serious issues from developing. 

Small Wind Turbine Oil Maintenance Schedules

More and more people are relying on wind power to make their everyday appliances work. Because you could run into trouble with your wind turbine at any time, it’s vital to understand the maintenance schedules companies may provide.

Looking up from the ground at a small wind turbine and a worker with a clipboard about to perform maintenance

Companies may have different schedules for servicing oil needs on small home wind turbines, but many companies are flexible enough to assist you at any hour of any day.

Let’s take a look at some of the maintenance schedules that various companies may offer for your small home wind turbine.

Name of the Wind Turbine Oil Maintenance ServiceMaintenance ScheduleLink to Website
Integrated Power ServicesThey have support available every day, 24 hours a day.IPS Integrated Power Services Web Page
Sensoria Edge-to-Edge IntelligenceThey have a remote diagnostic service available every day of the year, all day long. You can schedule maintenance on demand when needed.Sensoria Edge-to-Edge Maintenance Details
GE Renewable EnergyGE has maintenance specialists available 365 days a year for your maintenance needs.GE Renewable Energy Wind Energy Onshore Wind Services

When Is the Best Time To Schedule Turbine Oil Maintenance?

Because it takes up to a full day to perform necessary maintenance on small wind turbines, it is essential to consider when you will schedule an appointment.

It is best to schedule a maintenance appointment when you are not getting peak energy from high winds. Choose the mildest times of the year, when weather conditions are calmest and the winds are at their lowest of the season.

A small wind turbine rotor with ominous clouds in back

For most areas, the best time to schedule an appointment would be at the earliest time of the day during the mildest months of the year.

You can’t always predict when your small home wind turbine will need maintenance, so selecting the best time of day might not always be possible. However, most experts agree that you should try to do it early in the day on a calm day so that you aren’t missing peak energy opportunities 

Warranties of Some Small Wind Turbines

Small wind turbines designed for homes are intended to have enough oil in their gearbox to last through the product’s lifetime. 

Many come with warranties to ensure they will last a good while and provide a good return on investment.

Small Wind Turbine ModelWarrantyWebsite LinkAttributes
Automaxx DB 400One-year Automaxx WindmillGreat for use on land or near oceans
IstabreezeTwo-yearIstabreezeHandles storms and cold temperatures very well
Tumo-INT 1000WThree-yearTumo-IntDesigned for optimal performance in varying wind conditions

Final Thoughts

Wind energy is a great solution for powering your business or home, and it’s becoming more widespread every year. Small wind turbines are excellent for supplying power to your house, but they may come with unexpected maintenance.

Small turbines are built to last without any service. However, if you notice any oil leaks or resistance in any components, you should contact a professional to service your turbine immediately. Numerous companies offer support 24 hours a day, all 365 days of the year.

Sources

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