When you invest in a generator you feel safe in the knowledge that if your mains power fails, then this will automatically kick in. The thought of your domestic or commercial backup generator failing when you need it most is many people’s worst nightmare. Unfortunately, what was supposed to be an uninterruptible power source can end up letting you down if you don’t take care of it. 

Of course, it goes without saying that all generator owners should have some basic knowledge when it comes to common generator issues and solutions. Being able to ensure your generator is working properly at all times is an invaluable skill. So, to help all generator owners, the team here at Generators OnLine have highlighted some of the most frequent generator issues that can potentially lead to it not starting when you need it to so, you’ll now know what to look out for. 

It has run out of fuel

This is probably one of the most common reasons why your generator might not be working. If either your small domestic generator or your huge industrial generator won’t work, the fuel is the first thing you should check. 

Sometimes, the fuel level gauges on your generator may not be working properly. It isn’t uncommon for the gauge to get stuck in showing that there is plenty of fuel when, actually, it is almost empty.

The battery has died

Again, this is another incredibly common reason why a generator may not turn on. On average generator batteries should last 3 to 4 years and regular maintenance can help detect any issues with your battery before it is too late. 

Unfortunately, if you leave it too late, battery failure will require partial or complete replacement and, of course, your generator won’t work until your battery is back up and running. So, don’t overlook the importance of this. 

The block heater is broken 

Eventually, all block heaters fail in both commercial and home standby generators, simply because they run all day every day. It is a block heaters job to heat the coolant as it circulates the engine block, keeping it warm. This is essential to prevent the thickening of oil. 

Block heaters are essential in every climate, even if it is warm more often than not. They tend to reduce wear and tear by maintaining a much more consistent temperature throughout the whole cooling system.

It has low coolant levels

Speaking of coolant, not having enough coolant is something to look out for. It isn’t uncommon for generators to simply shut down when the coolant levels are low and not all generators come equipped to detect low coolant levels. 

However, the majority of generators will detect when the temperature of the coolant is rising and this is usually a sign that you’re running out of coolant. All of you need to do is top up your coolant to the recommended level. But, if this happens repeatedly, check for a leak.

There is a leak somewhere 

Leaks are another important thing to look out for. Generators can get oil, fuel and coolant leaks. The best thing to do if you have a leak is to seek assistance from a qualified professional to patch or replace the required components. 

You may hear professionals refer to something called ‘wet stacking’ when leaks are mentioned. This is when your generator thinks there is a leak but there isn’t one. Wet stacking is just the accumulation of unburned fuel, condensed water, carbon particles and acids in the exhaust system.

Auto is turned off 

This is something that is really easy to check and may be the cause of your generator not kicking in when you need it most. Sometimes, your generator simply won’t turn on because its auto controls have been left in the ‘off’ position. 

As expected, generators have a control panel that manages the settings. Often when your generator has an inspection or is undergoing maintenance work, the automatic controls on the panel will be turned off. It is important to make sure that they’re always turned back on. 

Handling common generator issues 

Now that you’re aware of all of these issues you can ensure that you are checking your generator regularly and keeping an eye out for them. Some of these things are easy to handle yourself, but if you’re unsure how to fix anything then it is always best to seek assistance from a professional company who will be able to assist you further. You don’t want to cause any more damage.