Just like anything else, a generator can malfunction or fall into disrepair. However, because they are the item you count on in an emergency, generator repair is extremely important if you want something dependable powering your home when disaster strikes. Keeping your generator in good working order is a dual process of regular maintenance and prompt repair when a problem is noticed. Knowing more about generator repair can give you the performance you need when the chips are down, and peace of mind when they’re not.
Generator Repair: Maintenance and Prevention
Similar to other large devices like air conditioners and furnaces, one of the most important aspects of generator repair is not calling someone when a problem occurs, but before anything goes wrong. By getting your generator inspected annually, you’ll be able to diagnose any problems that might arise in the near future and identify any existing problems before they get bigger. Having you generator inspected is inexpensive, and could save you a lot of money in the long run (and a lot of worry when the lights go out).
If you live in a place where power outages are frequent or harsh weather is an annual inevitability (coincidentally, these are often the same areas), you may use your generator far more frequently than residents in milder environments. Your yearly generator inspection, therefore, might be slightly more expensive because the likelihood of finding a malfunctioning part or component is greatly increased. It is a good idea to call your generator repair person before harsh weather is expected; waiting until the inclement weather season begins will most likely mean a longer wait for service (or a sticky situation if your generator is needed, but can’t perform).
Major Generator Repair and Generator Replacement
Homeowners with a relatively new generator will probably not need to worry about any serious repairs for several years. However, if your generator is more than a decade old and you are regularly spending hundreds of dollars each year on repairs, it might be time for a replacement generator. There are several things to consider about your home, and even your lifestyle, when looking for the perfect generator.
If you’re thinking of upgrading your generated power, remember that anything that makes heat with electricity (electric heat, water heaters, dryers, etc.) uses relatively huge amounts of power compared to other loads. If your house heats with electricity, consider another heat source or be prepared to buy a large generator.
Motors that start under light load (well and septic pumps, many fans) require two to three times the starting power than they do to run while those starting under heavy loads (refrigerators, compressors) may take as much as five times to start. A “rule of thumb”: Allow 2 to 3 KW of generator power per horsepower of electric motor.
Tech-heavy homes should be aware that electronic loads (particularly newer computers) take relatively little power, but that power must be clean and stable (well-regulated voltage and frequency with low harmonics). But computer electronics have properties that produce difficulties for the power source. If you are planning backup power for computer networks the “rule of thumb” is the total electronic load should not exceed 50 percent of the generator’s capacity.