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8 Common Generator Malfunctions and How to Spot Them

by | Jun 12, 2023

Generators are essential equipment that produces electricity during power outages or in remote areas where the electrical grid is not accessible. However, like any other machine, generators are prone to malfunctions that can cause them to fail. These malfunctions can result in inconvenience, loss of productivity, or even cause safety hazards. 

It is, therefore, crucial to familiarize yourself with common generator malfunctions and their signs of manifestation to detect and address them promptly. This article will discuss typical generator malfunctions, signs of their manifestation, and why you should hire an electrical company. 

1. Dead Battery

The battery provides power to the starter motor, which initiates the engine’s combustion sequence. If the battery is dead, the generator cannot start. Signs of a dead battery include a clicking sound when you try to start the generator, dimming lights, and a slow cranking engine. To prevent a dead battery, ensure that you charge the battery regularly and replace it when necessary.

2. Low Fuel Level

Generators require fuel to produce electricity. A low fuel level can cause the generator to stall or fail to start. Signs of low fuel include engine sputtering, reduced power output, and frequent engine stops. Always ensure that you check the fuel level before starting the generator. It is also advisable to keep a spare fuel canister nearby to refill the generator when necessary.

3. Overloading

Overloading occurs when you connect too many appliances to the generator, causing it to exceed its power output capacity. An overloaded generator can overheat, cause a fire, or damage the connected appliances. 

4. Low Oil Pressure

Generators require oil to lubricate the engine’s moving parts and reduce friction. Low oil pressure can cause the engine to overheat, resulting in significant damage. 

Signs of low oil pressure include engine knocking, smoke emissions, and a warning light on the control panel. Always check the oil level before starting the generator and change it regularly according to the manufacturer’s recommendations.

5. Dirty Air Filter

A dirty air filter can cause the generator to perform poorly or fail to start. The air filter prevents dirt, debris, and other contaminants from entering the engine. Indicators of a dirty air filter include black smoke emissions, reduced power output, and engine stalling. Always check the air filter regularly and clean or replace it when necessary.

6. Faulty Spark Plug

The spark plug initiates the combustion sequence in the engine. A faulty spark plug can cause the generator to misfire, stall, or fail to start. Signs of a faulty spark plug include a rough engine idle, reduced power output, and black smoke emissions. Always check the spark plug regularly and replace it when necessary.

7. Clogged Fuel Filter

The fuel filter prevents dirt, debris, and other contaminants from entering the engine’s fuel system. A clogged fuel filter can cause the generator to perform poorly or fail to start. You should check for engine sputtering, reduced power output, and stalling. 

7. Loose or Damaged Electrical Connections

Loose or damaged electrical connections can cause the generator to produce little or no electricity. Signs of loose or damaged connections include a dead battery, reduced power output, and frequent engine stops. Always check the electrical connections regularly and tighten or replace them when necessary.

Should You Hire Licensed Commercial Electricians? 

When dealing with generator malfunctions, hiring a licensed commercial electrician is essential. While DIY repairs may be tempting, there are better options for commercial generators. It is crucial to have qualified professionals handle generator malfunctions for various reasons, such as safety, cost, and efficiency. 

Safety is paramount when dealing with electrical malfunctions. Commercial generators are complex and require special knowledge and expertise to be repaired correctly. Licensed commercial electricians have experience and knowledge of effective yet safe generator repair. 

Conclusion 

Generators are essential equipment to save the day during power outages or in remote areas. However, they are prone to malfunctions that can cause them to fail. It is crucial to familiarize yourself with common generator malfunctions. Lastly, always read the manufacturer’s manual and follow the recommended maintenance procedures to increase the generator’s lifespan and efficiency.

Since 1995, Laswell Electric Company, Inc. has offered high-quality electrical installations and services. From new wiring to electrical maintenance, troubleshooting, and repairs, we have the education and experience necessary to meet the needs of industrial, commercial, and residential premises. Contact us today if you need generator repair in Kentucky

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