Standby generators are a great way to ensure that your home stays safe and comfortable no matter what nature can throw at it. These convenient generators can provide power for your home’s essential appliances and more, making it like the power hasn’t gone out at all. However, that’s only when you don’t find yourself with a broken generator!
Ideally, you should be thinking about generator repair and maintenance before you find yourself actually needing a generator. Standby generators require regular maintenance and inspections. Furthermore, catching any of these signs early on will let you repair your generator before the power goes out, rather than scrambling to do so in an emergency.
One of the most significant generator warning signs is start-up delays. This is when your generator won’t start right away, instead taking some time to start. Generally, this is a sign that something is wrong inside.
While the generator might work fine once it gets going, this is still a sign that you need some kind of repair. The issue causing the start-up delays will only get worse, eventually preventing it from starting at all.
Visible Signs of Damage
Many generator problems are noticeable. Just taking a look at your generator from time to time can let you catch problems like frayed or broken wires due to pest damage or other issues. Corrosion is another thing you can pick up on here.
Ideally, you’ll have semi-annual inspections that will cover these kinds of common generator problems and prevent you from losing reliable power when you need it most.
No Electricity Production
Of course, something is wrong with your generator if it isn’t putting out any electricity. If your generator starts up and runs but doesn’t actually supply any electricity, there’s a problem. You’re likely going to need some generator repair and maintenance to get to the bottom of the issue.
This could, in fact, be a problem with the connection between the generator and your home’s electrical system. You might just need to flip the breakers for it to start working again, but any kind of generator troubleshooting and repair beyond that should be left to the professionals.
Standby generators shouldn’t give off any kind of smell at all. If you do start to notice a strange smell, it likely means that some electrical components are burning, there’s an exhaust leak, or there’s a gas leak (if that’s the type of fuel your generator runs on). These are all safety hazards, so shut your generator down and call in trusted generator mechanics right away. Leaving issues like this unattended can spell serious trouble.
Strange noises are another key sign that something is wrong. If you notice your generator making funny noises, it could be either mechanical or electrical components that aren’t working as they should. If left alone, these issues can also cause more damage, so don’t ignore any unfamiliar noises from your generator.
Inoperation on Inactivity
Have you run your generator recently? Both standby and portable generators need to run for a little at least every few months to ensure proper operation when they’re needed. Many common generator problems are caused by letting a generator sit for too long.
Standby generators are set to go through a few cycles on a schedule to prevent this problem. However, if your generator hasn’t actually been run recently, you could find that it won’t start up when you need it.
Inconsistent Power Supply
Is your generator not putting out full power or cycling between sufficient and insufficient output? Many issues don’t completely shut down your generator but rather just cause a drop in performance.
If you find that you have flickering lights or that some appliances can’t run off your generator, you should seek out a reliable home generator repair service near you right away. You might think it’s good enough to get by, but your generator could fail at any time.
What Might Have Gone Wrong
There are plenty of factors that go into your standby generator working correctly. That includes mechanical, electrical, coolant, and fuel systems. It can be challenging to determine how to troubleshoot a generator, and it’s typically best left to the professionals. Experienced pros will be able to identify which of these issues is behind your generator problems.
Wiring and Electrical Issues
Your generator feeds electricity into your home’s electrical system, so of course, wiring can be a source of many generator issues. Wiring at any point between the generator and the electrical panel can become damaged and prevent proper function.
You might also find that the start-up battery for your generator is dead. The scheduled cycling of the generator is supposed to keep this charged and ready, but if something is wrong with the generator or the battery itself, then the battery could die.
Standby generators generate power essentially the same way your car charges its battery. An engine burns fuel and turns an alternator, which generates electricity. The mechanical components of this system can fail, preventing the generator from working.
Belts transfer energy from the engine to the alternator, and these are the most common mechanical components to fail. As they age, they dry and crack, eventually breaking. This is a relatively quick fix, but you don’t want to find out about it when the lights have already gone out.
Your standby generator burns fuel to produce electricity, and that generates heat as well. A coolant system circulates fluid between the generator and a radiator that disperses the heat to keep your unit within safe operating temperatures.
If the coolant develops a leak, your generator can quickly overheat and shut down. This could be due to a sudden leak or the gradual reduction in coolant levels due to minor leaks. Adding additional coolant can provide a short-term solution for minor leaks, but they should be looked into further in any case.
Depending on the type of fuel your generator uses, you can develop several fuel issues. Fuel lines can be damaged, potentially leading to serious danger in the case of gas and propane generators.
Diesel generators are prone to developing sludge and other contaminants in the fuel tank, eventually clogging fuel lines or causing further damage. Making sure the fuel filter is changed regularly can help here.
Maintaining Your Standby Generator
Keeping ahead of issues all comes down to having reliable maintenance. While you can always reach out for repairs, it’s best to plan ahead and proactively face issues before they develop.
Most types of standby generators call for inspection and maintenance at least twice per year. A professional inspection will help identify any signs of wear or damage, preventing unexpected breakdowns in the future.
Regular maintenance involves checking coolant and lubricant levels and changing fuel, oil, coolant, and air filters as needed. Some of the more advanced items will include load bank testing, control panel readings, and other technical checks that ensure proper operation and safety.
Home Generator Repair Service Near Me in Akron
The team here at Jennings Heating, Cooling, and Electric has been providing essential HVAC and electrical services here in Northeast Ohio since 1931. Our experienced team can handle any of your standby generator needs. We’re experts at troubleshooting and can find the underlying cause of the problem quickly and reliably.
Just give us a call anytime for generator repairs you can count on or set up a scheduled maintenance plan for your standby generator.