Certain products may seem great yet daunting at the same time. The product might seem like something a person would need or appreciate but there are those pesky, unpredictable unknowns.
Generators for many people seem to be one of those products. They are a product that may be necessary or possibly a welcome luxury but what happens when a generator doesn’t function as expected. Do home generators have many problems that make ownership a pain? Typically, no -- they are actually reliable and frequently last 20 years or more. So what are common problems that deter people from looking? Can these problems be prevented?
The short answer is yes, problems can be prevented more often than not.
How? Usually just simple maintenance. Below are some of the most common issues that owners of generators experience and how they may be prevented. You’ll likely see a resemblance in both the problems and solutions to one item many people own… a vehicle.
- Bad Belts: To operate safely and efficiently, belts such as serpentine or v-belts are necessary. Just like in a car, serpentine belts are responsible for aiding in the function of the engine and typically have more than one responsibility. V-belts help with some functions but are typically only responsible for one function per belt. Checking belts to make sure they aren’t dry, cracking or worn is one of the top ways to help keep a generator running well.
- Worn or Dead Batteries: Batteries are one of the key components needed to help the generator start. It is important to inspect your battery and its’ connections periodically or have maintenance scheduled to ensure the battery is in a good condition. Replacing the battery every few years is recommended to avoid failure all together.
- Lack of fuel or air/sludge in the fuel tank or lines: Some generators run off their own dedicated fuel tank which needs replenished. Others don’t have this problem as they could be hooked up to something like a natural gas line. Checking the fuel level and whether the fuel gauge is working is suggested. Air in the tank can prevent the engine from starting but can be averted by running the generator more frequently. Sludge or particles in the fuel tank can also cause failure. It’s important to only put in high quality fuel that is recommended by the manufacturer of the generator.
A site like this may even help walk you through some steps to help you figure out the problem. https://kohlerpower.com/en/engines/troubleshooting
- Low coolant levels: This issue is more often than not due to a leak. Most generators are equipped with a low coolant alarm but these alarms could also represent another related problem. If there is a spill, sometimes it can be identified by the color of the liquid. Certain manufacturers sell coolant that is designed for certain brands and models. One noticeable difference between those types of coolant is that they have distinct color changes such as green or blue. That may help determine what type of leak has occurred
- Lack of oil: Once again leaks are the most common issue that lead to a lack of oil. Having oil to lubricate internal mechanisms is vital and low oil levels could be prevented with regular maintenance. Technicians are trained to check the fluid levels and make sure that no leaks are present.
Each of these problems are similar to some of the routine problems with a vehicle. Run down through this list and imagine whether a car will start or run well with the same issues. If you have experienced something similar…. It won’t, lol.
Generators may bring benefits such as comfort and safety. A generator could keep your food from spoiling, power your medical equipment, or keep you comfortable during inclement weather.
However, it can’t be neglected for long periods of time. Like vehicles, generators need regular maintenance in order to function as intended.
Performing maintenance on a generator likely may increase the longevity and give you peace of mind throughout its’
lifespan. While it may depend on the model, these problems are typically found fairly easily.
A brand such as Kohler lists specific product information on their site to help diagnose a problem. There are even maps of where the parts can be found along with descriptions of the part and its’ function.
As an authorized dealer of Kohler generators, we can also provide you with more information on our website.