Common Whole-House Generator Problems

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A whole-house generator can be a lifesaver when faced with an unforeseen power outage. It ensures the continuity of essential functions in your home, such as maintaining a comfortable indoor temperature, keeping refrigerators running, and powering crucial devices. While everyone around you may be concerned about when their power will be restored, you can rest easy knowing you have a reliable backup system. However, if your unit experiences generator problems and fails to respond when needed, it can feel as if your entire world is crumbling.

It is inevitable for generators to encounter issues at some point, but knowing when to seek professional assistance can save you valuable time and prevent unnecessary stress. Knowing when to call for professional help ensures that your safety net remains intact, allowing you to swiftly address any problems and restore the functionality of your generator.

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Signs Your Backup Generator Has A Problem

  • Spotty Whole-House Generator Power: If you notice power interruptions while using a generator, it may indicate an underlying issue. While flickering lights are an apparent sign of the problem, look for appliances with clocks that suddenly reset or display the wrong time, as this indicates a momentary power outage, even if it lasts for just a second.
  • Obvious Backup Generator Leaks: If you notice any puddles near the generator, it is highly likely a sign of a leak, potentially leading to the accumulation of fuel or oil. It is crucial to act promptly in such situations. Contact a professional immediately to prevent any harm to your home or generator.
  • Strange Standby Generator Noises: If your generator produces unusual sounds, consider them warning signs of an underlying issue. Sounds like chattering, popping, or metal-on-metal noises should be investigated promptly because they might indicate a failing component. Another cause for concern is a sputtering sound, which could suggest the presence of contaminated or poor-quality fuel. Take immediate action to address these auditory cues and ensure the proper functioning of your generator.

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Problems You May Encounter With Your Whole-Home Generator

Battery Problems 

One of the prevalent issues encountered with generators arises from a damaged or aging battery. Replace batteries every few years. Using the same battery beyond its lifespan poses significant risks, as aged batteries cannot sustain their capacity and generate diminished power output.

Failure to Start 

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If your generator unexpectedly fails to start, verify the settings of the automatic operation controls. Generators are designed to activate automatically if the control switch is in the “off/reset” position. However, if the emergency stop button is pressed or any alarms on the control switch are triggered, the generator will not activate automatically. This may also happen after a service call, where simply resetting the automatic controls can resolve the issue.

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Several factors can lead to a sudden generator stall, typically requiring a skilled technician’s expertise for accurate diagnosis. One common issue found in gas generators is related to spark plug problems, which can diminish the generator’s performance.

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Clogged Fuel Lines 

Clogged fuel lines are a common problem in diesel generators, leading to operational failure. This is due to oxidation, resulting in the accumulation of dirty sludge within the fuel lines, eventually causing a blockage. While it is impossible to avoid oxidation completely, regular maintenance and fuel treatments can help mitigate this problem and prevent clogs in the fuel lines.

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Low Coolant 

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A sensor is triggered if the coolant level drops below a certain point and the generator enters a “no start” state. Operating the generator in such a state where the coolant is depleted can lead to overheating since the liquid plays a crucial role in dispersing the heat generated by the engine and maintaining its temperature within acceptable limits. Continuous operation under these conditions leads to water evaporation from the coolant due to the high temperatures within the generator, eventually reducing the volume.

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If you find yourself frequently adding coolant to your generator, take it as a warning sign for a possible leak. The cause of the leak could be as simple as a component becoming loose due to the vibrations of the generator. Regular wear and tear over time or using lower-quality products during maintenance or service calls, which may not fit properly, can also contribute to this issue. Address these underlying causes immediately for optimal performance and prevent further coolant leakage.

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Overheating can lead to significant issues in a generator. Always check the coolant levels and add more if necessary to see if that resolves the problem. If low coolant levels are not the cause, there may be other underlying problems, like dirty coolant blocking the radiator core or damaged drive belts and hoses. It is crucial to address the overheating problem promptly because it can cause long-lasting damage to various components of the generator, including the exhaust valves, alternator, bearings, and rotor.

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Wet Stacking

Wet stacking, a common issue with diesel generators, refers to a fluid leak that can lead to inefficiency. It occurs when unburned fuel, condensed water, and oil accumulate around the exhaust system and eventually leak. This problem can often be identified by the presence of black residue. Burn off any excess fuel to help alleviate this issue.

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Low Fuel

Depending solely on fuel gauges for monitoring can lead to problems such as low fuel levels or complete depletion. Gauges sometimes fail to provide accurate readings, especially if they become clogged with troublesome sludge. Perform routine maintenance and maintain a backup fuel supply to prevent this issue. These measures will help ensure that you never encounter this problem and can rely on a consistent fuel source for your generator.

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Regular maintenance is essential for owning a generator because it ensures smooth operation and prevents major issues during critical times. While various potential problems can occur, such as low oil levels, a dirty filter, or a closed shutoff valve, most of these issues can be avoided with proper care. In case of a problem, save time and money by entrusting the resolution to a certified professional who can address all your concerns efficiently and effectively.

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Call Lawes Company For Your Standby Generator Requirements

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Call Lawes Company for your generator needs. From regular maintenance to emergency repairs and replacements, Lawes Company can provide professional and prompt assistance from the moment you buy and install your generator to all your maintenance needs in the years to come. We employ top-quality service contractors with the training, experience, and tools needed to install, repair, and maintain your generator. Click the link to view our service area.

Have your questions about generator installations answered by experts. Get in touch with us today to get professional maintenance service for your generator and enjoy a reliable power supply for your home every day of the year.

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