If you’ve already purchased a generator, you know how essential they can be if the power goes out during a winter storm. Without electricity, you’d either have to try to figure out how to make do, or else you’d need to try to make your way to a friend or to a relative who has working electricity. Both of these options can be dangerous or even outright impossible depending on current conditions. This is likely why you got a generator in the first place.
Unfortunately, generators don’t last forever. At some point, you’re going to have to purchase a new generator to replace the one that you have now. It doesn’t matter whether you bought the cheapest generator that would work or the most expensive one that you could afford – all of them will need to be replaced at some point, just like any other appliance.
But telling when you need to replace your generator isn’t always easy. If you’ve been following proper generator maintenance practices, you are unlikely to need a new generator just yet. Regardless, you should still keep the following things in mind so that you know when you should be getting a new generator:
The older anything is, the more likely it is to fail. Ultimately, the age of a generator isn’t necessarily determined by its physical age but by how many hours it gets used every year. The average standby generator has been designed to last for 10,000 to 30,000 hours of use.
If you frequently lose power and have to use your generator, you will need to replace your generator sooner than someone who only runs their generator once or twice a year. For light-duty use, expect a properly maintained generator to last about thirty years.
Too many repairs
Aside from preventative maintenance to ensure that the generator is functioning correctly, you should not have to repair your generator more than perhaps once or twice a year.
If you find that your generator is breaking down almost every time that you use it, then it’s time to get a new one. If your generator is still only a few years old, check to see whether or not it’s still under any sort of warranty.
Problems starting up
A brand-new generator should start up quickly when needed. If you have a system where the generator is supposed to come on automatically when the power goes out, you shouldn’t have to go out and fiddle with the generator to get it to start unless it has somehow run out of fuel. Once or twice could simply be something that can be repaired. More than that, especially within the same year, and you should start looking for a replacement.
Excessive fuel usage
Your generator’s manual should provide information on expected fuel consumption. If your generator hasn’t been properly maintained or if it’s starting to wear out due to age, this fuel usage will start to rise. Some parts may be able to be repaired or replaced, but the whole generator will eventually need to be swapped for a new one.
Variable power output
Obviously, one of the reasons why you got a generator is so that you can have steady power. If you are using the same appliances and devices that you always have and yet the power flickers or you experience brownouts while using the generator. It may simply need to have a part replaced, but this is still a sign that your generator may be nearing the end of its life.
Now is the best time to make sure that you have a working generator for the winter season. Aside from changing oil or air filters as specified in your user manual, please don’t try to service a generator yourself. Call a professional to safely give it a look.