Generac Generator Troubleshooting Guide

When you are weathering a storm, having a reliable generator can be essential.

Generac offers quality home standby generators for when storms or outages hit. Along with standby generators, Generac also offers portable generators as well for short-term energy needs. 

In this article, we discuss some of the most common Generac generator problems and how to fix them, including issues for both home standby and portable generators. Plus, we cover key tips for resetting, repairing, and maintaining your Generac generator.

Keep reading to discover how Oregon generators can help simplify your generator maintenance routine. 

Common Generac Generator Problems & How to Fix Them

While Generac home standby generators and portable generators can experience similar issues, a portable generator generally involves more straightforward fixes (such as restarting the machine). On the other hand, home standby generators can be more complex, often requiring a professional’s touch.

Keeping this in mind, let’s take a look at some of the most common problems and how to deal with them: 

Low Oil

Generators require a certain level of oil for their engines to operate smoothly. Low oil can cause the generator to shut down to prevent damage to the engine. 

Generac generators typically come with an owner’s or manufacturer’s manual, which can tell you the specific type and amount of oil your generator needs. Regularly checking your generator’s oil level and adding more oil as necessary ensures your generator continues operating properly.

When checking or adding oil, make sure your generator is placed on a flat surface. This is helpful not only for maintenance but also for ensuring the low oil sensor works as intended.

Low Fuel

Low fuel is a common issue that causes generators to either stop running while on or not start at all. Since generators are used a backup energy source, it can be easy to forget to check fuel levels between uses. As a result, your fuel levels may drop without you even realizing it. 

Establishing a regular routine of checking your generator’s fuel level after each use is the best fix for this problem. Additionally, make sure to always use fresh fuel, as old fuel can degrade the generator over time. Fuel stabilizer can also be a good option for maintaining fuel quality between uses. 

Issues with Fuel Valve

If you have confirmed your generator has adequate oil and fuel, it’s time to start looking more closely at the mechanical components. The fuel valve on your generator controls the flow of fuel to the engine. However, fuel valves can become closed or clogged, inhibiting fuel from reaching the carburetor. 

The first step to fixing this problem is to check if your fuel valve is open. If it is closed, open it — however, if it is already open, you may be dealing with a valve clog.

To clean out your fuel valve, you will need to check the lines for clogs and clean them as needed. This can be a complex process if you are not familiar with generator maintenance, so always approach the task carefully and call for professional help if needed.

Clogged Carburetor 

After ensuring the issue does not lie with the fuel valve, you can begin to check the carburetor, which mixes fuel with air for the engine. A carburetor clog can inhibit your carburetor from starting due to a lack of proper draining and regular maintenance. 

To address this issues, remove and clean the carburetor using carburetor cleaner. Check the jets and passages for blockages. If the carburetor is severely damaged or corroded, consider replacing the part.

Remember to always shut off the fuel valve before beginning the carburetor cleaning process.

Spark Plug Issues

The spark plug in your generator ignites the fuel-air mixture in the engine. A worn or fouled spark plug can cause starting issues or poor engine performance. Additionally, the buildup of carbon deposits on your spark plugs can significantly impact the performance of the generator. 

Addressing spark plug maintenance issues requires you to inspect the spark plug for signs of wear, carbon buildup, or damage. If you notice any of these issues, clean the spark plugs or replace them if necessary. Ensure the spark plug gap is set correctly as per the manufacturer’s specifications.

If you have a spark plug tester, you can use this to confirm your sparks have the right color and intensity. Should you discover the sparks are weak, your next step is to check the ignition coil. At this point in the process, it’s usually best to get in touch with a professional generator specialist. 

Battery Issues

For electric start generators, a dead or weak battery can prevent the generator from starting.

Fixing this issue requires you to check the battery voltage and charge it if necessary. Clean the battery terminals and connections to ensure a good electrical connection, or replace the battery if it no longer holds a charge. In some cases, you may be able to jump-start the battery — though this is typically indicative of a greater problem and can still require an eventual replacement. 

Air Filter

A clogged air filter can restrict airflow to the engine, causing it to run inefficiently or not start at all.

If you suspect your air filter is clogged, remove the air filter and clean it if it’s reusable. Alternatively, replace the air filter if it’s a disposable type or if it’s too dirty or damaged. Regularly check and maintain the air filter according to the manufacturer’s recommendations.

How to Reset Your Generac Home Standby Generator

For owners of Generac home standby generators, these generators have an internal error system for detecting functional or mechanical issues. When the error system detects an issue, the generator can shut down and stop working until the error system is reset. 

To reset your Generac home standby generator, follow these steps:

  1. Check the identification light on the outside of the generator. If the light is green, the generator is working properly. If the light is red, the error system has detected an issue.
  2. Use your generator keys to unlock the lid. Typically, Generac generators have two locks, with one on either side of the lid. 
  3. Open the lid up and located your controller component. The controller is most likely located in the bottom right corner of the generator. 
  4. Once you located the controller, write down the alarm code listed on the screen. This four-digit code is the error code that you will provide to a generator specialist for maintenance or repairs. 
  5. After writing down the code, press the Off button. Once the generator is off, press the Enter button, followed by the Auto button. This resets all errors within the controller and will automatically restart your generator.
  6. With your generator error system reset, the final step is to call your local generator specialist to schedule a maintenance appointment. 

How Often Should a Generac Generator Be Serviced?

To keep your maintenance and repair costs low, the key is to schedule regular servicing appointments.

For portable Generac generators, routine maintenance is recommended per every 100 hours of use. You can likely perform most of this maintenance yourself, such as checking fuel and oil levels. 

As for home standby Generac generators, the frequency of maintenance and servicing depends on the frequency of use. Generac offers the following maintenance guidelines for home standby generators:

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Choose Oregon Generators for Your Generator Maintenance Needs

Whether you need maintenance or repairs for your Generac generator, Oregon Generators has the professional maintenance services you need. Our expertly-trained generator specialists can assess the condition of your generator and perform the necessary maintenance services.

Plus, Oregon Generators offers generator installation services as well!

Get in touch with Oregon Generators today to get started