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How to Tell Your Generator Needs Repair

residential-generatorIf you’re a forward-thinking homeowner, you may already have a whole-house or standby generator. This is the Midwest, and you never know when an extreme weather event—be it a tornado or blizzard or something else entirely—may cause the grid to fail. A momentary power outage is little more than a brief headache, but an extended lack of power can eventually become life-threatening. You must be confident your generator will start when you need it the most.

3 Reasons Your Generator Needs Repair

Like all engines, generators need three things to operate: fuel, air, and spark. If you’re missing one of these three things—or if they’re out of balance—your generator will either not run at all or, at best, will run poorly.

The issue for most homeowners is their generators are in the background of day-to-day concerns and don’t receive the ongoing attention they require. If you have any of these problems below and your generator needs repair, call your local generator experts for the help you need.

1. Fuel

If your generator won’t start, one common cause is bad fuel. Gas has a relatively short shelf-life—six months or less—and after that it will become stale and need to be replaced. Diesel can last up to a year, one reason a diesel generator may be more reliable if it’s used infrequently.

Another problem from lack of use may be dried fuel residue in the carburetor jets. This will alter the fuel-air mixture with the result that your generator may not start, or at best, operate at a reduced capacity. If this is the issue, you’ll need a professional to take the carburetor apart, clean the components, and reassemble it.

2. Air

A dirty air filter is the most common reason for lack of enough air to properly run your generator. Even when it’s not being used, accumulated dust particles and moisture can clog the air filter. Once again, while you may be able to start your generator, an incorrect fuel-air mixture will foul the carburetor and spark plugs.

You may have the idea to solve this problem by removing the air filter. Don’t do it! Not only will this affect carburetor performance, your generator’s interior will quickly suffer significant, long-lasting damage.

3. Spark

Unless you have a diesel generator, fuel must be ignited by the spark from a spark plug. If your carburetor is running an out-of-balance fuel-air mixture, one side effect is that sparkplugs will also become fouled.

Another common problem is accidentally altering the gap between the center and side electrodes of the spark plug if you remove it for cleaning. There’s no way to eyeball the correct distance necessary for the spark plug to work. Instead, your technician will use a feeler gauge to correctly reset the gap.

Preventive Generator Maintenance

The best way to keep your generator running dependably is to keep problems from occurring to start with. You should invest in a regularly scheduled maintenance program. No matter what type of generator you have, our trained technicians can keep it serviced so it always comes on when the lights go off.

Contact MVP Electric, Heating & Cooling for generator repair in Kansas City, MO, today!  

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