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How Do I Know if My Generator is Overloaded?

Most people purchase generators to use in the event of an emergency. Since power failure emergencies are (hopefully) not an everyday occurrence, generators often end up sitting unused for long periods of time. A generator that hasn’t been used for a long time and hasn’t been checked or maintained is much less likely to work properly when it’s needed most.

Be prepared ahead of time

Purchasing a generator is a great way to ensure your family’s safety and comfort in the event of a power failure, storm, or other emergency event. However, there are extra steps you can take to be ready when it comes time to use it.

First, you should familiarize yourself with the basic workings of your device. If you purchased it from Northside Power, our expert sales team has already walked you through all the parts and functions of your generator. If not, you still most likely have an owner’s manual that contains everything you need to know for operation.

You’ll find that it’s very helpful to have at least a basic understanding of the parts of your generator! 


There are a few fairly basic things you can do to troubleshoot the issue. The first thing you should do is check the fuel. It helps to keep track of the dates when you fill it up, so you can know for sure how old the fuel is.

Even if you haven’t kept track, you can usually perform a visual check to determine the status of the fuel. If it looks cloudy or opaque at all, or dark in color, it’s probably too old and needs to be replaced. Fresh fuel should be colorless and clear.

(As a side note, you can store extra gasoline for the purposes of refueling as long as you either rotate it on a regular basis or use a fuel stabilizer to increase its shelf life. If you do decide to store some extra fuel, please do so safely and in a proper container!)

You should also check the spark plug, since a spark plug that’s damaged or dirty will prevent the generator from working as it should. Luckily, it’s fairly inexpensive to keep a spare spark plug around in case you discover that yours is bad. 

The oil in your generator might also need to be replaced or refilled, so check that too, just like you would do for your car.

DIY or professional?

Aside from the basics like fuel level and spark plugs, a lot of issues that can happen when a generator has been sitting for a long time are best left to the professionals. 

For example, if there’s a mechanical issue, chances are slim that you have all the necessary tools for repairing or replacing the damaged parts and know how to install them. Trying to fix a more complicated issue during an already-stressful time (like when a storm has just caused power failure at your home!) might result in injury or further damage to your generator.

When there’s an issue that you don’t have the tools or ability to solve, it’s time to give us a call at Northside Power! We have a 24/7 hotline specifically for generator emergencies, and our experienced technicians will come to you and fix the problem as quickly and efficiently as possible.

To avoid future generator issues, we offer preventative maintenance plans to keep your devices running smoothly when it comes time to use them. As an addition to some of these plans, we also offer 24/7 monitoring that will notify us when your generator fails or needs attention!

Whether you’re looking to purchase a new generator, maintain your current one, or you’re seeking emergency repairs, you can contact us or give us a call. We can get you a quote or draw on our 43 years of experience to answer any questions you might have!