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What Causes Generators to Fail?

Home standby generators play an important part in keeping your home safe and protected. However, a generator that isn’t well maintained, or one that is experiencing issues that are not being addressed, is not going to serve that important propose. As a homeowner, it’s critically important to know the signs and causes of a problem and, should they arise, how to address them.

Common Causes for Standby Generator Failure in Maryland

The good news is that most causes for failure are actually quite simple and are very easy to both diagnose and avoid. Here are a few of the most common causes of a generator failure:

  • A worn or dead generator battery. As what is basically an engine, a generator requires the use of an up-to-date battery. If the battery has died, or even if the connection to the battery has come loose or built up connection-blocking sulfate, then the generator will fail to start. When considering generator maintenance, be aware that for the best results, a generator battery should be replaced every three years or so.
  • Leaks. Generators require the presence of three important liquids—fuel, oil, and coolant. A lack of any of these will lead to failure, either because the system literally lacks the required materials, or because the generator’s safety systems are preventing the generator from operating without adequate coolant or oil.
  • Failure to maintain. While leaks can spring up quite unannounced, it is actually more common for the generator to simply need a top-up (fuel being the most common need). Remember that generators require frequent maintenance in order to stay dependable, and that should your generator fail to start, checking fuel and oil levels first is always wise.
  • The generator control is not set to “auto.” Most modern standby generators operate using an automatic transfer switch (ATS), which means that the generator will kick into gear any time a loss of power is detected. While important, this setting can be turned off, and often is during maintenance or when inspecting fuel levels. If you set the auto mode to “off,” be sure to turn it back on when you’re done!
  • Air present in the fuel. A more common issue with newer generators—and ones that are not operated routinely—a presence of air in the fuel lines can lead to a failure to inject fuel when the engine fires. If enough gaps created by air are present, the generator will fail to start completely. This is, however, very avoidable! It is highly recommended that you run your generator on a weekly basis to ensure any air bubbles are worked out of the lines.

Generator Maintenance Services in Maryland

While all of these issues are somewhat common, they are all also fairly preventable with routine care. A proper generator maintenance plan should include both care on the homeowner’s part, as well as on the part of a trained, certified electrician. With adequate attention, you can count on your generator to run at all times.

Looking for professional generator repair, or generator maintenance in Montgomery County, Howard County, or Frederick County, MD? Contact GAC Services online!

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