Posts Tagged Generator repair

On-Site Generator Repair – What’s Involved?

generator repairThe benefits of standby generators over portable ones are many, including more power, a lack of extension cords and how easy they are to start and run. However, because standby generators are hardwired into the home (which is why you can do away with the extension cords), they are structurally more complex. This also means they have to be repaired onsite if anything goes wrong. When it comes to home standby generator repair, you’re better off calling a professional rather than attempting any repairs on your own.

Remote Monitoring

If you know very little about generator repair and maintenance, it makes sense to let the experts do the work. One way to simplify the process is to install a Remote Cellular Generator Monitor or RCGM. The RCGM connects to your standby generator and allows our company to monitor the functioning of your generator directly from our offices. The monitor sends “messages” every time the generator starts and stops, as well as when there are changes in the power level of your home. If the generator fails to start or stop or if you notice any other abnormality, call out a technician to deal with it immediately.

Initial Inspection

It’s hard to say what you can expect once the technician arrives, because much of it depends on what’s wrong with the generator. Chances are the technician will first do a quick inspection to see if there are any obvious problems, such as cracks on the outside of the box or anything else that might appear obviously broken.

Checking Connectivity

The next step a technician might take is to check that the generator hasn’t tripped or is off. This could be caused by something as simple as a blown fuse or a problem with cable or where the generator connects to the main house network. If all that seems in order, the next step is to check if there’s any voltage coming out of the generator.

Voltage Regulation

When the generator is off, you shouldn’t be able to detect any residual voltage. If there’s any (even as little as 5 Volts AC) residual voltage, this could signal a number of problems. The most obvious problem could be that the voltage regulator is not working properly. It could also be an issue with the rotor or the control board. A technician might need to open up the generator and check each issue separately to find out which one is causing the generator to malfunction.

Fixing the Problem

Once the issue has been detected, generator repair might take place right then and there or it could take a day or two. This depends on whether parts need to be replaced (and might need to be ordered) or how extensive the problem is. Sometimes the issue is simple, such as a tripped circuit, and can be fixed right away. In other cases, it might require a second visit with additional equipment. Or the service person might need to take a part away and return once it has been fixed.

Keep in mind that if you don’t have a Remote Cellular Generator Monitor, you will have to keep an eye on your generator and inform the repair service yourself if you notice any issues running it. Regular generator maintenance will help keep your unit in good running condition and prevent costly repairs.

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6 Essential Tasks on Your Generator Maintenance Checklist

generator maintenance checklistYour home standby generator is your lifeline during a power outage, and as such you need to make sure that it’s kept in peak condition year-round. The best way to do this is through a maintenance contract with a reputable installation contractor, but how do you know whether the work done is worth the cost?

Here’s our generator maintenance checklist of essential tasks, which will give you an idea of what is covered in annual servicing:

Task #1: Checking the overall condition

Your generator maintenance contractor generally begins with an overall check to see if there are any loose wires or connections, buttons that have become stuck or elements showing signs of corrosion. At the same time, he cleans out the area surrounding the unit to ensure that no garden debris can get into the unit and cause problems. He’ll repair any damaged parts or replace frayed wiring where necessary.

Task #2: Battery exam

Your home standby generator uses a 26R Wet Cell battery to start it. The battery needs to be checked regularly as does the smart battery charger. The technician tests these to make sure the battery is outputting the appropriate voltage and that it’s charging adequately, otherwise when the time comes for the generator to start up you may find it doesn’t happen.

If you live in a region where the temperature drops below the freezing mark, the contractor will recommend that he installs a cold weather kit for you. The kits come with a battery warmer and an oil filter heater that has its own thermostat build in to maintain the right battery and oil temperatures.

Task #3: Lube change

Just like a car engine, your generator’s engine needs a range of fluids to operate efficiently. The contractor typically changes the oil annually, whether you used your generator in the preceding year or not. He – or you – should be keeping a log book in which you record the date of each service and note when the oil is changed.

Task #4: Spark plugs

Your generator maintenance checklist includes regular spark plug examinations. It’s preferable to change the spark plugs each year to prevent ignition difficulties in your time of need, but at the very least you should ensure that they get a good cleaning during the annual checkup.

Task #5: Bolt security

Your contractor checks the bolts securing the generator and its cabinet in position, because these are inclined to loosen over time as a result of the vibration of the machinery. At the same time, he checks the gasket head and piston to see if it’s in good condition. If it’s worn or damaged in any way it’s scheduled for replacement as well.

Task #6: Air filter

Your generator needs a new air filter regularly too. Just as the air filter in a car engine picks up every speck of dust that passes through it, so does your generator. The technician will typically replace this each time he services the unit to keep it ready for the next time you need to use it.

Don’t risk needing expensive repairs to your home standby generator. Get yourself a generator maintenance contract that will keep it running in tip-top shape.

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Protect Your Investment with Annual Generator Maintenance

generator maintenanceYour home standby generator could be a lifeline for your family during an extended power outage, but that’s only going to happen if it’s working at optimum efficiency. Just as any other motor requires upkeep, regular generator maintenance will keep your unit running smoothly and make sure it’s available when you want it. It will also help you to avoid the need for generator repair work.

Service Contracts

A service contract is your best option to keep your generator in peak condition. Most generator installers offer these agreements, which typically include doing annual preventive generator maintenance. This serves a dual purpose: it complies with the manufacturer’s requirements for warranty and keeps the generator dependable throughout the year. The servicing usually entails an oil change, new spark plugs and a clean air filter, and if there is any generator repair work to be done, it’s a good time to do it.

Monitoring Performance

Monitoring the performance of your unit complements scheduled generator maintenance and helps to ensure that if anything happens, your service professional can respond immediately. If your power supply is vital for the health and welfare of your family, the installation of a remote cellular generator monitor (RCGM) makes it possible to keep an eye on your unit 24/7. The monitor records:

  • The weekly exercise of the generator
  • All power outages
  • Any start failures

It then sends electronic reports to you, your service company and your property manager if applicable, and a technician can be sent out right away to conduct a generator repair and get it back online before the next time you need it.

Finding a Contractor

Finding a reliable generator maintenance contractor, as with any other type of technical expertise, requires you to exercise some caution and do your homework before signing on the dotted line. Ask family members and friends if they can recommend a contractor; research online and short-list three to four contractor in your area to consider. Ask each of them for a quotation for an annual service contract and compare not only the pricing, but check what is offered by each quote. Request contactable references and call at least one of them personally for feedback on the contractor they use. Protect your generator investment by ensuring that only factory-trained technicians work on it.

Switching Contractors

Generator maintenance contractors are a dime a dozen in the South Florida area, due to the high incidence of hurricanes and the corresponding number of installed home standby generators. If you have a maintenance agreement with a company and aren’t satisfied with the service you’re receiving, here’s a deal you can’t turn down: Alternate Power Solutions will take over your existing contract free of charge and honor the balance when you enter into a new annual maintenance agreement going forward. Don’t tolerate poor service – it’s simple to switch contractors and you could get not only better service, but a better price to boot.

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