Common Whole-House Generator Problems

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A whole-house generator can be a lifesaver when a power outage occurs. These machines ensure that the HVAC runs smoothly, the refrigerator works, and more. However, it may feel like your day is ruined when your generator fails to operate, and your safety net disappears. Your power generator will undoubtedly experience generator problems down the line, but knowing when to call a professional for aid can save time and hassle.

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Signs Of Standby Generator Problems

Keep reading to learn about three of the most common generator problems homeowners may encounter.

  1. Spotty Power: There may be a problem if you notice the power stuttering while using your generator. An obvious sign is flickering lights, but you should also look out for appliance clocks suddenly showing the incorrect time. This may point to the power going out even for only a second.
  2. Obvious Leaks: Puddles around the generator typically indicate a leak. You may see a pool of oil or fuel, which must be resolved immediately. Contact an HVAC technician right away to prevent damage to your home and generator. 
  3. Unusual Noises: Odd sounds from your generator should be treated as a warning sign that there is an issue with your generator. Investigate immediately when you hear popping, chattering, or metal on metal. They may point to a failing component. A sputtering noise can mean that bad fuel was mixed in the machine.
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Whole-Home Generator Problems You May Encounter

Here are several standby generator problems you may encounter:

Related Article: Signs it’s Time to Replace Your Standby Generator

Battery Failure

A typical generator problem is an old or damaged battery. Ensure that the batteries are replaced every few years for maximum performance. Utilizing the same battery for extended periods is hazardous because old batteries can’t maintain their capacity, generating less power. 

Failure to Start

image of a power outage depicting a whole-house generator that does not start

If your generator fails to start suddenly, check the automatic operation controls and ensure they’re set. Generators automatically kick in when needed if the control switch is set to “off/reset.” However, if you pressed the emergency stop button or set off the control switch’s alarms, the generator won’t automatically start up when needed. This may also happen after a service call when the generator requires a reset on its automatic controls.

Related Article: Tips For Standby Generator Maintenance

Stalling During Operation

The bad news is that several reasons may be behind a generator suddenly stalling. They also usually need an experienced HVAC technician to diagnose the issue correctly. For instance, spark plug issues may reduce your gas generator’s performance capabilities.

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Clogged Fuel Lines

Diesel generators typically experience clogged fuel lines, causing a halt to the generator’s operations. A clog can happen due to oxidation, wherein dirty sludge accumulates in the fuel lines. Oxidation can’t be prevented, but regular tune-ups and fuel treatments help in keeping this issue at bay.

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Low Coolant

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Low coolant triggers the sensor automatically, pushing the generator into a “no start” state. Running the generator, even if its coolant level is low, can result in overheating. Remember that the coolant is responsible for spreading the heat throughout the engine and ensuring all parts are at a reasonable temperature to keep them from freezing or overheating. As time passes, the coolant’s water evaporates due to the heat within the generator, so the coolant slowly depletes.

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Adding coolant frequently can mean that there’s a leak. This may require a simple solution, like tightening a component that has gotten loose from the generator’s vibrations. Other reasons for a leak are standard wear and tear from use over time and using cheaper and ill-fitting products during a service call or maintenance.

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Overheating can result in significant issues. Check if this is the case by adding more coolant and see if the issue persists. If coolant levels aren’t the cause, the problem may be because of a damaged drive belt or filthy coolant blocking the radiator’s core. Overheating issues can rapidly cause lasting damage to the generator’s rotor, bearings, alternator, exhaust valves, and other parts.

Related Article: How To Size A Standby Generator?

Wet Stacking

A concerning issue for diesel generators is a fluid leak called wet stacking. This can result in inefficiency. This occurs when gasoline, oil, and condensed water stack around the exhaust system and start leaking. This issue’s signature black material may make it recognizable to you. Prevent this issue by burning off the excess fuel.

Related Article: Things To Look For On A Generator To Make Sure It’ll Start Up Correctly When You Need It The Most

Low or Depleted Fuel

Depending on fuel gauges alone can result in problems such as low fuel or emptying the tank completely. Gauges can fail to provide accurate level readings, especially if they get blocked with sludge. Routine tune-ups and a backup fuel supply can ensure this problem doesn’t crop up.

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A generator needs to be routinely maintained to ensure it runs smoothly and keep big problems at bay when you need your generator the most. Many issues can happen with your generator, including a dirty filter, insufficient oil, and a closed shutoff valve. The good news is that most of these problems can be prevented. Still, you can save time and money when you depend on a certified expert to resolve your concerns should they arise.

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Call R.F. Ohl For All Of Your Standby Generator Needs

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R.F. Ohl is a leading generator installation service provider throughout the Poconos and the Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania. We offer backup generator installation and specialize in generator repair, replacements, and maintenance services. Our team is made up of the best service contractors who are well-trained in the most advanced methods of generator techniques. Call or contact us online today to learn more about whole-house generator installation. We offer free, in-home estimates. Click the link to view our service area.

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