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Top Reasons Standby Generators Fail to Start

January 17, 2019

Our society is reliant on power. The availability of this continuous power helps businesses maintain operations and families continue their everyday lives even when power outages occur.

More and more people are choosing to invest in standby power systems. Because investing in a standby generator is a big decision, it’s important that you know how to properly operate and maintain this power system.

Knowing the common causes of generator failure will help you prevent them in the future. So, let’s take a look at the most common reasons generators fail to start:


Battery failure

The number one, most frequent service call for generator failure is related to battery failure. Eighty percent of all battery failure is related to sulfation buildup or the accumulation of lead sulfates on the plates of lead-acid batteries. When enough plate area has sulfated, the battery will not be able to provide enough current and will need to be replaced. Battery deterioration is an extremely common issue, so maintenance of your home generator is critical. A proper functioning battery is so important in the overall operation of your standby generator.


Oil, fuel, or coolant leaks

Either an external or internal leak can cause low coolant levels, which will ultimately, prevent your generator from starting. For this reason, it’s a good idea to pay close attention to any visible puddles during the weekly inspections of your unit. The most common coolant leaks occur in the block heater hoses. Cooling system maintenance will help prevent leaks like this.


Air in the fuel system  

This is a common problem with generators that don’t run on a regular basis, so failures like this are preventable by periodically running the engine during weekly inspections. When you run your generator for as little as 5 minutes at least one time weekly, you verify that the engine will start, that the air is cleared from the fuel system, and that the generator comes up to voltage and frequency.


Controls not being in the auto position 

This is an extremely common reason that generator systems fail to start. The main control switch often gets left in the off/reset position after testing or servicing your generator, so it’s important that you always double check the generator system after any service is performed on the unit.

A standby generator is a mechanical and electrical device that requires service and maintenance to ensure it operates properly. At Northside Power, we not only install standby generators, but we offer multiple service and maintenance options as well. Give us a call at 501-315-7213 and let us power your home.