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5 Signs a Generator Needs Repair

What are the signs that your generator needs repair? 

  1. Sulfate Buildups
  2. Generator Shutoffs
  3. Fuel Leakage
  4. Wet Stacking
  5. Controls Breakdown

It’s always a good idea to be prepared for unforeseen disasters and failures. In this day and age where everything is powered by electricity, buying a generator is a must for many buildings and homes. It is one of the sure-fire solutions for power outages. 

However, like all pieces of equipment, an electric generator will run its course and eventually require repairs.

But when is the right time to fix a generator? What are the signs that a generator needs repair? Here are five warning signals to watch out for.

Sulfate Buildups

An electric generator, whether diesel, gasoline, or natural gas, has the same purpose – to be the source of electricity in case a reliable source of electricity, such as the local or regional power station experiences difficulties and fails to deliver. 

The way that a generator delivers electricity to a house or a building is by charging a battery, which then distributes the power more consistently. It also provides power to the generator engine itself to get started and begin ignition. It’s also responsible for powering up the digital control panel. 

When the battery fails, the transfer of electricity will be practically impossible since even the engine’s starters are powered by the battery. 

One of the most common signs that indicate a battery failure and warrant a replacement or repair is the buildup of crusty greenish lead sulfate buildups on the battery terminals.

Generator Shutoffs

Much like any internal combustion engine, generator engines produce a lot of heat. This is why a cooling system is a non-negotiable component of the entire generator. When the cooling system does not run efficiently, it will be unable to regulate the temperature and cause the generator to overheat. 

But how hot is too hot? The main sign that your generator is getting too hot is when it shuts off. This is an automatic fail-safe system that activates when your generator reaches temperatures that are too hot for it to safely operate. 

If your generator often shuts off, then this points to a bigger issue. This usually means there is a lack of coolant or a leak in the system which circulates it.

Fuel Leakage

A hole in your generator’s pipes and containers can be caused by an accidental puncture or corrosion. This hole could cause a fuel leak, preventing the diesel or gasoline fuel from entering the engine and generating electricity. 

But another reason why fuel does not properly enter the engine could be a malfunctioning fuel pump or a leaking fuel line. Although this may not be immediately apparent, some of the telltale signs can be recognized such as fuel dripping onto the ground or the strong scent of diesel or gasoline around the generator unit.

Wet Stacking

Wet stacking is a phenomenon that happens to diesel generators wherein fuel – instead of being burned up and consumed in the engine, passes directly into the exhaust. Usually, this is caused when the engine is not operating at the right air-to-fuel ratio or when the engine is not hot enough. 

When wet stacking occurs too often, an excessive buildup within the exhaust system will result in a loss of engine performance, therefore reducing the engine’s efficiency. This will waste fuel and generate less power, and in the long run, shorten the engine’s life span, therefore repairs will be of top priority. 

The sign to look out for in wet stacking is a dark black and oil-like emission from the generator’s exhaust. This is often mistaken for an oil leak due to its color, however, the liquid from wet stacking is a darker black.

Controls Breakdown

Controls Breakdown

Aside from the main mechanical breakdowns which prevent the engine from functioning properly or even functioning at all, you also have to check the control panel. At times, this could be the cause of your genset’s malfunction. 

The control panel is essential not only because it’s what controls the main operation of the machine, but it’s also the main way that an operator can notice essential changes and vital information such as the fuel level, the electric output, the voltage, and the frequency. 

For modern digital control panels, it could be that the display no longer functions or it no longer shows clear symbols. For analog dials that indicate information such as engine temperature, fuel levels, current, voltage, and battery capacity, once they remain inactive and perhaps visibly inaccurate, it’s time to seriously consider repair.

Key Takeaways

Keep these signs that a generator needs repair in mind when you’re going about your usual maintenance routines with your generator. These may help you spot signs of trouble before it’s too late! 

In the case that your generators can’t be saved, make sure to invest in a high-quality replacement, such as our generators here at Multico! We carry generator sets that range from 75 KVA – 2500 KVA, available for all your power needs. Contact us today to learn more.

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