There are certain items that you want to count on to work as expected when you need them. The brakes on your car, parachutes, and your emergency generator are a few that come easily to mind.
With the first two, failure can be catastrophic. When your generator fails, it may just be a major inconvenience. But it’s one that can wind up costing you a lot of money if you are a commercial business owner. Residents, too, can lose everything they had stored in their refrigerators and freezers if the power stays off too long.
Prevention Is Better than the Cure
Ideally, you will have kept up with monthly testing of your emergency generator and are thus alerted to the problem and the need for repairing the unit. That’s the best-case scenario because you can schedule a service technician to come to check it out at your leisure.
However, you could find yourself in need of emergency generator repair during a crisis. Inclement weather events, forest fires that trigger rolling blackouts or brownouts, or civil unrest could all be what alerts you to the problem with your generator.
Emergency Generator Repair Requires Special Skills
While there may be many home repair tasks that a homeowner can tackle, typically generator repairs are out of most people’s skillsets. Just like wiring a house requires a licensed electrician, so does emergency generator repair.
The reason for the need for a licensed craftsman to tackle the project is that mistakes can kill people. If a carpenter makes a mistake, your front door might stick annoyingly. But if an electrical or generator repair project goes awry, people could die.
Your Role in Keeping Your Generator Humming
We at Virginia Power Solutions recommend testing your emergency generator at least once per month to assure it is working well without any apparent problems. If your generator has experienced heavy usage, it is important to increase the frequency of your routine maintenance tasks to accommodate the increased usage pattern.
If you have been using your generator regularly as your power source, check the oil levels more frequently. If your emergency generator uses diesel fuel, some models may require manual draining of water from the fuel/water separators.
The above are two simple maintenance tasks that are easy to perform and could save you a hefty emergency generator repair bill.
What Can Go Wrong With Your Generator?
Much as with a car that won’t start, when your generator won’t turn on, it could be one of many things, or a combination of several, that are preventing your generator from functioning. Below are a few of the potential problems that may be affecting its performance:
- Dirty fuel or air filters
- Spark plugs need to be changed
- Lack of oil to the engine
- The cooling system needs to be flushed
- Problem with the battery
- Drive belts are worn
- Failure of alternator or transfer switch
All of the above problems can be troubleshot by a generator service technician. But before you reach for the phone to call one, first make sure the problem isn’t something very simple that you can quickly fix.
Check for Accumulated Debris Around Your Generator
Some models of generators are designed not to work when trash, leaves, grass, snow, or other debris block the sides and top of the generator. A quick inspection can show if this could be the problem
Even if that’s not what is preventing your generator from turning on, removing these obstacles will make it easier to see where any leaks are occurring and make servicing your unit easier for the technician.
Routine Maintenance Plans Can Make Your Life Easier
Instead of having to worry that your generator might not work when you most need it to reliably kick on, you could avoid that problem by selecting a routine maintenance plan.
These plans are typically sold by the companies that sell generators to the public. Alternatively, some generator repair companies offer them as well. Some plans include 24/7, 365 servicing by their technicians in case your generator fails to run as needed.
Especially if you are the owner of a business, arranging for routine maintenance on your commercial generator should be a priority. The money that you save from having a complete shutdown of your business during a power outage will far eclipse the low monthly service fees that you pay for this type of coverage.
Homeowners Also Benefit from Maintenance Plans
If you or your family members are elderly or handicapped, you likely have medical equipment and supplies that depend on a power source to run or preserve them. In a disaster or emergency, what begins as an inconvenience can quickly become life-threatening if an oxygen tank fails to work or insulin can’t remain chilled.
Arranging now for a maintenance plan can relieve your mind of these worries as well as the need for an emergency generator repair.