Common faults attributed to generator failure

A lot of people rely on generators to generate electricity for their buildings and facilities. A small fault in the generator at a crucial time can lead to loss of business. Generator failures can happen due to a variety of reasons. It could be problems with the battery, fuel, or the dry belt. If the generators are maintained regularly, the problems can be avoided. Call the team at Reactive Generators for generator servicing in Brisbane for assistance. However, without regular maintenance, faults in the generator are inevitable.

Some of the common faults attributed to generator failure are:

1. Fault In The Battery

One of the most common reasons for generator failure or for that matter any appliance like a thermostat is a fault in the battery. A dead battery is one of the most common reasons for a generator to stop working. The life of a battery is usually four to five years depending on how well it is maintained. Once it reaches its expiration date, the battery will have to be changed. Another reason for battery faults is the buildup of lead sulfate which eventually hinders the ability of the battery to provide electric current. In both these cases, the battery will have to be replaced.

2. Low Coolant Levels

Another very common reason for battery failure is the low coolant levels. The low level of coolants could be due to leakage of coolant internally or externally. A few generators with alarms will notify you in case your battery has run out of coolant or they will automatically shut down. The leak will usually happen in the block heater hoses. The extremely hot temperature from the block heater can wear down the hoses leading to the loss. Additionally, the coolant will also deteriorate with time and needs to be checked and replaced as per the recommendation of the manufacturer. To know if the coolant has been leaking from your generator, check for any liquid leak around the generator. The coolant liquids are usually brightly coloured to make them easy to identify.

3. High Or Low Fuel Levels

Usually, all the generators will come with alarms to show the levels of fuel in them. You need to regularly check if the fuel is too high or too low. The generator running low on fuel will stop operating. However, high fuel levels in most cases will not cause the generator to stop and the fuel level will drop eventually. For low fuel levels, you will have to fill the fuel in the generator to restart.

4. Leakage of Oil, or Fuel

The oil and fuel leak is pretty common in generators. The fuel leak happens due to a faulty pump system and you will see puddles of fuels leaking around the generator in this case. The oil leak happens due to a condition called ‘wet stacking’. Wet stacking means that there is a build-up of lube oil, carbon particles, acids, and unburnt fuels in the engine. This is especially common in engines that are running on low output levels than they can produce.

5. Improper Load and Sizing of the Generator

As you know that generators running on lower outputs are the reason for wet stacking. The generator needs to utilize over 35% of the load capacity when it’s running. Any generator that runs below the load capacity will suffer damage. When the engine is running low on load, the fuel does not burn properly, and thus it gets pooled in the engine. The wet fuel then starts to leak mainly through the exhaust. This leakage apart from wet stacking can also lead to destructive fires. Hence it is always advisable to install generators that are of proper size depending on the load they will bear.

6. Clogging Of The Filters

If the generator operates in a dusty environment, the air filters can often get clogged and would need to be changed or cleaned regularly. If a filter is clogged, the gas to air ratio is hindered which can lead to inefficient operation of the generator. If the generator is running with clogged filters, it will experience permanent damage in the longer run.

7. Fault In Block Heater

The block heater is used to heat the coolants so that they can circulate in the engine block. The heat from the block heater helps in preventing the thickening of oil. The block heater runs throughout the day and hence they experience regular wear and tear. Hence the block heater also needs to be regularly maintained and changed if needed unless you have immersion heaters.

8. Technical Issues

Human errors can also cause generators to fail. When the generator shows a ‘not in auto’ notification, it means that the control switch has been set to an off/reset position. This usually happens with generators immediately after maintenance, or when they are not running regularly. To fix this problem, the generator has to be physically reset to operate again. Additionally, there can be other technical issues with the wiring or regular wear and tear inside the generators which can lead to failure.

9. Weather Damages

Lastly, heaters that are kept outside the facilities in open areas can also experience weather damage. This can be due to excess heat, rain, hurricanes, and extreme weather. Also, pest infestation can cause blockage in the generator. The pests can also chew on the wires inside the generator and hinder its functioning. The best way to avoid this is to regularly check for pest infestation around the area of operation or any physical damage caused due to bad weather.

Most of the problems that are listed above happen due to a lack of maintenance in the generators. When the generators do not run at their full capacity or run over their capacity, they can get damaged permanently. For any facility, it is important to regularly service their generators as per the instructions provided by the seller at the time of sale. Having a planned service agreement with a company to regularly check the working of the heaters can save generator-owners a lot of future troubles. Also, you should religiously follow the guidelines provided by the manufacturer on the proper use of generators to prevent any unwanted damages.

Evan Anderson

Evan Anderson, a graduate of the North Bennet Street School with a focus on Cabinet and Furniture Making, has been a respected figure in the field of woodworking for 11 years. He became a part of our website as a freelancer in 2022, sharing his skills in fine woodworking, carpentry, and design. Evan’s experience includes running his own custom furniture business and teaching woodworking classes. He is also an advocate for sustainable wood sourcing and enjoys hiking.

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