Power Failure: The 3 Leading Causes of Standby Generator Malfunction

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As our use of technology increases, our dependence on electricity to power our devices only grows stronger. The availability of seamless power keeps our houses warm and our businesses operating even during the most inclement weather conditions. Whether you need one commercially or to keep your lights on during the next big snowstorm, people all across the world are investing in standby generators.

While these machines can be lifesavers during an emergency situation, they aren’t perfect. It’s absolutely essential that any homeowner or business knows exactly what they are getting into before investing the thousands of dollars it costs to purchase one of these integral engines. Here are a couple of the most common reasons that a generator will fail to start and what you can do to prevent these situations occurring.

No Fuel in Engine

A mechanical readout of fuel-levels may not always be 100 percent accurate, so it may be hard to gauge if you don’t have a digital display. While it may be similar to a vehicle’s readout, the main difference is that a vehicle is constantly in motion; a generator tank doesn’t move and therefore can be come stagnant or stuck in position until a vibration causes them to move break free and display the correct information.

Many generators are also equipped with “Low Fuel Level Shutdown,” which causes the control panel to shut the generator down to prevent the fuel intake allowing air into the system.

Low Coolant Levels

When the coolant is low, the most obvious cause is either an internal or external leak. Closely inspect whether there are any puddles of coolant strangely appearing on the floor or around the unit. Many home standby generator units will come equipped with an alarm, however most do not have a dedicated alarm for low or leaking coolant.

Typically, the alarm associated with coolant will be foro a high temperature shutdown. If this alarm goes off, you can determine that the temperature inside the coolant was too high and the machine shut itself off to manage it.

Battery Failure

The number one most requested service call, regarding generator failure, is battery failure. One of the most common forms of battery failure is due to sulfated build-up on the battery itself. When enough of the area is covered in the sulfated sediment, the battery will no longer be able to pass a current and will typically need a full replacement.

If the problem is still the battery, but it is not covered in debris, it may be due to the charger being open or broken in some fashion – which is usually the result of user error rather than a manufacturing failure. Often, after servicing or some form of maintenance, the charger will have been turned off to protect the electrician or person performing the maintenance and not switched back on afterwards.

While there are many reasons for a home standby generator to fail, the best way to prevent generator failure is to conduct regular and routine maintenance.

Anne Lawson is a British writer who keeps her eye on business and trending issues that affect us all. She loves to delve into the real story and give us interesting tidbits we might otherwise miss.