Generator Troubleshooting 101

Monday January 29, 2018

 


A generator installation in your home is a great way to keep your home safe and functional when an outage strikes. But it won’t do you a whole lot of good if it’s failing to operate!

If you’re having some troubles with your generator then you’ve come to the right place—let’s see if we can’t help you troubleshoot them.

 

Starting with the Easy Stuff

A few of these might feel silly, but it’s important to be as thorough as possible when troubleshooting, checking off each possibility at a time:

Ensure there is adequate fuel. It may be that the generator was recently used and not refueled, or that the system has sprung a leak. Either way, check the fuel level first off.

Be sure the generator is engaged. Be sure the switch is firmly in the “on” position. Older generators can often develop a bit of a sticking issue, keeping the switch from engaging fully without a little extra push.

Check electrical connections. All visible wiring and fuel lines should be snug and tight, with no fraying or cracking. If there is a wiring issue, call in the pros!

All good on these fronts? Great, let’s move on.

 

Things to Watch Out For

Next up let’s go over some of the most common signs of a bigger issue, and what might be going wrong:

Strange sounds during operation. Is your generator chattering or popping during routine operation? The most likely cause is a bad fuel mix or failing part. The fuel mix issue tends to create a “sputtering” sort of sound, which component failure will sound like metal on metal.

Spotty generator power generation. If your generator’s power stutters or makes appliances/lights flicker then the issue is almost certainly a loose or damaged electrical connection.

Leaks. Check routinely for puddles of liquid like oil or fuel. Any leaks should be professionally repaired as soon as possible to avoid risks and damage to the home or Generac generator.

 

The Most Common Causes of Generator Failure (No-Start)

Here are the things that should get routine service, and why:

The generator battery. The overwhelming majority of Generac generator failures have to do with an old or damaged battery. Generator batteries should be changed every two years at an absolute minimum.

Coolant levels. Low coolant levels will trip a sensor and force the generator into a “no start” state. Check to ensure cap is tight and coolant levels are in an acceptable range.

Sensors and electrical components. In most cases electrical failure will result in the generator not starting at all. This is because Generac generator are set up to operate only when it is safe to do so, and will refuse to engage when a problem is present.


 

 

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