Generator Repair – How to Properly Maintain a Generator

Performing maintenance tasks on generators is essential to keep them functioning properly. Ignoring these maintenance tasks can result in high repair costs and a compromised generator lifespan.

Generator

A professional technician can also conduct safety and function inspections to ensure generators are safe to use, lowering the risk of accidents and injuries. Contact Generator Repair Houston for professional help.

Oil changes are a simple but vital component of generator maintenance. Many of the problems that lead to power spikes and interruptions in generator function are caused by dirty oil, which prevents the smooth operation of your generator’s motor. Oil changes are a quick and inexpensive task that can be done at home or by a professional. In order to get the best results from your generator, be sure to change it according to the manufacturer’s recommended schedule.

When changing your generator’s oil, be sure to drain and replace the filter as well. This will ensure that new oil lubricates all of the critical components and will be properly filtered, so that your generator operates at its optimal level. It is also important to use only the right kind of oil for your generator. Using the wrong type of oil can cause significant damage to your engine and void any warranties you may have.

In addition to replacing the filter and draining and refilling with the correct type of oil, you should also check your generator’s spark plug. This is best done when the generator is cool, and you should remove the spark plug and clean it with a wire brush or spark plug cleaner. It is also important to check the spark plug gap as described in your owner’s manual.

Oil can become contaminated with a number of different things, including combustion byproducts such as carbon, water, acids, partially burned fuel, and varnish. Acid can enter the oil from contact with hot engine parts, and water can enter from overheating or coolant leaks. Fuel can also get into the oil from contaminated gasoline or improper blending of gasoline and diesel fuel.

Filters

A generator needs a clean air filter to help screen out contaminants like dirt and dust that could damage the engine. Without a proper air filter, the generator will struggle to run properly and may even shorten its lifespan.

It’s important to have a basic understanding of how different parts of a generator work and what problems they might cause. This will allow you to troubleshoot and fix issues more effectively when they arise, ensuring that your generator runs as efficiently as possible.

If your generator has a battery-operated starter, you’ll need to check the battery connections regularly. If you notice that the connections are loose, it’s important to tighten them as soon as possible. It’s also a good idea to clean the connections with a rag and some cleaner. When cleaning the connections, make sure to wear protective gloves and goggles as battery acid can be dangerous.

In some cases, you may need to replace the battery in your generator. This can be expensive, but it’s a good idea to do it as soon as possible to avoid serious problems. A professional service provider will have the tools and expertise necessary to replace the battery in your generator safely and effectively. They’ll also be able to ensure that the new battery is matched to your generator for optimal performance.

Wiring

Generators have many different components that must be properly maintained in order to function. These include the generator’s circuit board, motor and transfer coils. These parts can be subjected to extreme temperatures during use, which can damage them. If these components are not properly inspected and maintained, they can cause a breakdown of the entire generator system. Regular maintenance can uncover minor issues in their earliest stages, preventing them from becoming major problems that require costly repair.

A professional service provider can inspect and repair a generator’s electrical components and other mechanical systems. They can also help maintain proper oil and fuel levels. This ensures that the generator will be able to operate at full capacity during an emergency power outage. In addition, professional service providers can help protect a generator’s warranty by following the manufacturer’s recommended maintenance schedule.

One of the most common issues with generators is a faulty battery. This problem can be caused by overuse, using multiple heavy devices at once, or even a simple breaker switch mistake. It’s important to regularly check the breaker box and make sure that the breaker hasn’t been flipped off accidentally. If it has, simply turn it back on and the generator should be operable.

Another potential issue with generators is a malfunctioning alternator. This can be caused by a variety of reasons, including a loose alternator belt or an overheated motor. It’s important to periodically check the belt and alternator for signs of wear, such as a frayed or worn belt. It’s also important to replace the alternator when it’s nearing the end of its life.

Many of the components within a generator are small and difficult to reach. This makes manual dexterity a critical skill for generator mechanics. In addition, physical strength is also necessary, as some generators may be large and heavy and must be moved or pushed to allow the mechanic to access their components.

Fuel

Fuel is one of the most common generator repair issues and is usually due to poor maintenance and improper storage. Gasoline doesn’t store well, goes stale and gums up the carburetor. Diesel fuel is better at storing, but must still be stored properly to prevent oxidation and microbes infiltration. Both of these problems can lead to poor performance and inability to start during an emergency.

P3 recently received a call to review a generator that would not start after sitting idle for over three years. A little attention to the storage tank and use of fuel stabilizer could have saved this owner nearly $13,000 in remediation and repair costs.

When stored correctly, a generator should be empty before storage and the fuel filters cleaned. This keeps the carburetor from clogging during long periods of storage and allows for proper air flow through the engine during operation. It is also important to check coolant levels frequently. Low coolant levels can cause overheating which is very dangerous and must be addressed right away by a qualified technician.

Leaks are another big generator repair issue that can cost you. A leak from the oil pan or from the exhaust can result in a significant loss of energy and may damage the engine and other components. Leaks can also be caused by wet stacking, which is when the generator is fueled in an enclosed area without being run.

Properly sized storage tanks, regular testing and adding fuel stabilizer will greatly reduce the chances of a problem like this. P3 recommends using a self-sealing portable fuel container when refueling your generator. These containers will prevent water and contaminants from entering your generator and will greatly improve the quality of your fuel for maximum generator performance.

Belts

A drive belt can be made to run tight or slack by means of an adjustable pivot where it mounts on the engine. To slacken the belt, loosen the pivot bolts so that the generator can swing out away from and then towards the engine, feeling the belt tension with one hand as you do so. Once you find the proper deflection, tighten the pivot bolts and those on the slotted strap that holds the generator in place while re-checking the belt tension with your other hand.

When the adjustment is correct, the belt will be running with its teeth properly fitted to each pulley. It should also be running without any cracks, glazing, pilling or abrasion. Check the belt for this while you are at it, and look at the backside of the belt for cracks that might be caused by improperly sized or misaligned pulleys and backside idlers.

A V-belt alternator belt will usually last four years or 40,000 miles before it fails, and a serpentine belt, especially an EPDM rubber belt (ethylene propylene diene monomer), should be good for 100,000 miles. The cause of failure is often not due to the belt itself, but rather a lack of proper maintenance or misalignment of the pulleys and backside idlers.

Even new belts need to be re-tensioned after installation. They stretch a little as they are used, and this makes them slip on the pulleys. This causes them to wear, and cracking is the result. This is more common in older belts than in the newer synthetic and aramid belts that are becoming popular.