Although the average homeowner generally doesn't have to rely on the use of their generator often, this doesn't mean generators can't suffer from a malfunction. Getting ahead of the issue is key to avoiding a complete failure. Make sure you know how to recognize the signs that a repair is necessary to keep your generator from failing.

Difficult Startup

Startup should be an almost instant process. If it's growing more difficult to power up the generator, it's time for a malfunction inspection. A dying battery, failing spark plug or wiring issue could be to blame. A key thing to remember is the fact that all of these issues are progressive, meaning they will only get worse. Failure to address the problem will lead to failure. Leaving you without a working generator at the most inconvenient time.

Failure to Perform Self-Tests

Within the manual is a self-test schedule, telling you how often a unit self-test should be performed, such as monthly. If you're lucky enough to have an automatic self-testing unit you don't have to worry. However, if your unit requires manual testing and you haven't been performing it and haven't used the unit for some time, you could be in trouble. Rather than waiting until you need power to discover that the generator isn't working, it's a good idea to get it checked in this instance.

Exterior Wear or Damage

If the outside of the generator is showing signs of extensive wear or damage, there's a chance there are also issues taking place within the interior of the unit. Take a large dent on the outside of the unit from a falling tree limb, for instance. The impact of the branch could have loosened, or damaged, some of the interior connections, leading to a malfunction. If there is significant damage, it's a good idea to have the unit checked just in case.


Look around the base of generator for any signs of a leak. Coolant, fuel and oil leaks can all take place within a generator. In many cases, leaks develop when the internal hoses and connections start to break down due to wear and age. Not only is a leak a major hazard, they can also lead to overheating, leading to extensive motor damage. If you notice a leak, stop using the unit and have it serviced right away.  

If you notice an issue with your generator, make it a point to reach out to a repair specialist, such as Powell's Electric Service, Inc.