An unexpected power outage can be a nightmare, but having a whole-house generator can be a real lifesaver. It can maintain your home’s temperature, keep your fridge running and ensure that your devices stay on when everyone else is in the dark. However, if your generator fails and leaves you without any backup plan, everything can fall apart. While generator problems are almost inevitable, recognizing when to seek professional assistance can save you a lot of hassle and time.
Signs Your Backup Generator Has A Problem
- 1 Signs Your Backup Generator Has A Problem
- 2 Problems You May Experience With Your Whole-Home Generator
- 3 Call PFO Heating & Air Conditioning For All Your Standby Generator Needs
- Spotty Power – If your generator displays intermittent power, there could be an issue. Although flickering lights are a clear indication, watch out for appliances with clocks that suddenly display the wrong time. This implies that your power was disrupted, even if it was only for a brief moment.
- Leaks – If you notice any puddles near your generator, there is likely a leak, which may result in visible fuel or oil pooling. Prompt action is necessary in this situation, and you should call a professional immediately to prevent damage to your home or generator.
- Unusual Noises – Unusual sounds emanating from your generator should be taken as a warning that something is amiss. If you hear chattering, popping, or metal-on-metal sounds, it is time to investigate because these noises could indicate that a part is beginning to fail. A sputtering sound is another red flag, as it could suggest that the fuel mixture is incorrect.
Problems You May Experience With Your Whole-Home Generator
Below we discuss some common standby generator problems that occur.
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Generators often experience issues due to damaged or aging batteries, which is one of the most common problems. Replace batteries every few years to ensure optimal performance. Continuing to use an old battery is exceedingly risky since it loses its capacity over time and generates less power.
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Failure to Start
If your generator fails to start, first check that the automatic operation controls are enabled. When the control switch is in the “off/reset” position, the generator will automatically start when needed. However, pressing the emergency stop button or triggering alarms on the control switch can prevent the generator from starting automatically. After a service call, the generator may require resetting the automatic controls to function correctly.
There are numerous reasons why a generator may abruptly stall. Identifying the problem typically requires the expertise of a skilled technician. For instance, a gas generator may encounter issues with its spark plugs, which can hinder its performance.
Clogged Fuel Lines
Clogged fuel lines are a common problem with diesel generators, resulting in their failure. This happens due to oxidation, where dirty sludge accumulates in the fuel lines, eventually leading to blockages. Although oxidation is inevitable, routine maintenance and fuel treatments can help prevent this issue.
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Low Standby Generator Coolant
If the coolant level is low, a sensor detects it and places the generator in a “no start” state. Running the generator with depleted coolant can lead to overheating because the coolant’s function is to distribute the heat around the engine and maintain an appropriate temperature to prevent overheating or freezing of the components. As the generator produces high temperatures, the water content of the coolant will eventually evaporate, resulting in a decrease in the amount of coolant available.
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Regularly adding coolant may indicate a potential leak, which is a warning sign. A loose component resulting from the generator’s vibrations could be a straightforward solution. Degradation from extended use and the use of low-quality products installed during maintenance or a service call, which do not fit correctly, can also cause this problem.
Overheating Power Generator
Overheating can lead to significant issues. Always check the coolant levels and add more if necessary. If the coolant levels are adequate, the cause of the problem may be dirty coolant clogging the radiator core or damage to the drive belt or hose. Overheating can swiftly cause long-term damage to any of the generator’s components, including the alternator, bearings, exhaust valves, and rotor.
Diesel generators are susceptible to a problem known as wet stacking, which can cause inefficiency. Wet stacking occurs when unburned fuel, condensed water, and oil accumulate around the exhaust system and start to leak. A telltale sign of this issue is the presence of black residue. Burning off any excess fuel is usually sufficient to prevent this problem.
Low or Depleted Fuel
Depending solely on fuel gauges can lead to problems such as low fuel or completely running out of fuel. These gauges can provide inaccurate readings of fuel levels, especially if they get clogged with sludge. Preventing this problem requires regular maintenance and keeping a backup supply of fuel.
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Maintaining your generator regularly is crucial for ensuring it operates efficiently and preventing major problems from occurring when you need it most. Your generator may encounter issues such as inadequate oil, a clogged filter, or a closed shutoff valve, but most of these issues can be avoided. When a problem occurs, it is best to rely on a certified professional to address all your concerns, saving you both time and money.
Call PFO Heating & Air Conditioning For All Your Standby Generator Needs
PFO Heating & Air Conditioning is one of the leading generator installers in the Greater Princeton, NJ area. Aside from backup generator installation, we also offer replacements, maintenance, and repair services. We hire highly skilled service contractors who are well-trained in the most modern HVAC and generator techniques and methods.
Contact PFO Heating & Air Conditioning via phone call or online today to learn more about whole-house generator installation. This way, you can get all generator questions answered by industry experts. We offer free, in-home estimates. Click the link to view our service area.