Generator keeps shutting off
A power generator is a valuable piece of equipment that helps during a power outage. Whether it’s powering your home or running your RV, there’s no denying how useful your generator can be. However, your generator can face many problems like any other equipment.
It can be very frustrating when your generator keeps shutting off without apparent reason, especially if you want to use them in an emergency. One of the common problems you may face is that the generator starts fine but keeps shutting off.
No matter how hard you try to keep it on, it will turn off after a few seconds or minutes of operation. When your generator stops working during an emergency, it could stop equipment in your home from running, shut down your security system, leave you vulnerable, or cause the loss of your business.
The good news is that this is one of the most common problems with generators, and most of the time, it’s easy to fix without any professional help. The first main step in solving a problem is to determine what is causing it. While some causes are easy to discover, others require the proper tools and settings. To help you resolve the issue urgently, here is a list of some of the main causes and how to fix them yourself.
My generator keeps shutting off – what can you do?
There could be many reasons why your standby generator keeps shutting off. Before you understand why, you need to find out how long your generator will run continuously.
Most generators are designed to run nonstop for hours, but when they are forced to run longer than expected, they shut down. Generators require a remarkable down period between runs to ensure they will function properly when turned on again.
There are a lot of parts inside a generator, which means there are many reasons for a generator to stop. Knowing why a generator is shutting down requires going through some of the essential parts of the generator one by one to find out what’s wrong. Here are some of the most common errors and the best solutions.
So you get your first generator and start plugging things into it, only to find it shuts itself off after a few minutes.
Most modern generators have a feature called overload protection.
An “overload protection” feature ensures the generator automatically shuts off when asked to manage more wattage than it can handle. This is done to avoid damage to the engine.
So how do you make sure the overload protection feature doesn’t shut down the generator’s engine?
First, consult your owner’s manual to determine the power capacity of your Inverter generator. Then, add up all the running and starting watts of the equipment you intend to connect to the inverter generator to avoid overloading the generator.
This way, you will ensure that the generator never shuts itself off.
Second, pause and listen to your generator.
Is it loud? Then you will most likely be overloading it. When you start to turn off the power, you will notice that it becomes quieter, which is a good sign that it will not turn itself off.
Insufficient oil, water, or fuel
Oil is essential to a generator’s engine as it keeps internal parts lubricated, debris ingress and the engine free from corrosion.
For this reason, most modern generators have an “auto-shutdown” feature that kicks in when the generator detects a low oil level.
On the other hand, water is vital to keeping your engine cool and preventing overheating, which is one of the most common causes of engine failure.
Of course, fuel is what keeps the engine running, right?
So what happens when the generator detects a lack of oil, water or fuel? It stops and shuts down.
How can you avoid this from happening?
Check oil, water and fuel levels regularly. Yes, it’s that simple.
Fuel tank or pipe failure
Oil tank or oil line leaks are a common problem with generators.
These problems can cause the pressure in the fuel tank to drop rapidly, affecting fuel delivery to the engine. This is how the engine detects a problem and shuts down to save itself.
How can you handle this?
Again, prevention is essential. Regularly check the fuel tank and lines for leaks and fix them if found.
Choke still on
The choke coil is an integral part of the engine that restricts the amount of air in the fuel mixture, which is necessary when starting the generator with a cold engine.
If the choke isn’t working correctly, the air-fuel mixture in the generator tank will be messed up, causing it to close to prevent serious problems.
So how do you prevent the generator from being shut down by the choke?
This is very simple. Shut off the generator, then off the choke, and then restart. If the problem persists, it’s good to consult a mechanic.
Power cord failure
When wires fray, many problems can arise that can harm you and your generator.
You could get electrocuted; your appliance could be completely burned out; hell, it could even start a fire.
Most modern generators usually automatically shut off when they detect frayed power cords to avoid problems like this.
To prevent your generator from shutting down due to a faulty power line, take a few minutes each day to check all power lines connected to your generator.
If you find a problem with the power cord, spend a few bucks and get a new one, and that’s it!
The carburetor is an essential part of the engine; it mixes air and fuel in the correct ratio, allowing the engine to run efficiently without risk of damage.
A faulty carburetor can do two things:
It can make the air and fuel mixture too rich, causing the gas engine to burn more fuel than it actually needs
Alternatively, it can make the air and fuel mixture too lean, putting the engine at risk of severe damage
So when the generator detects that the carburetor is not working correctly, it will shut itself off.
How to prevent the carburetor from shutting down the generator?
Well, we would say you should take the generator to a technician, but if you want to do it yourself, here are the steps:
- Carefully remove the carburetor with a pair of pliers
- Slowly disassemble the carburetor and place all parts on the table
- Start cleaning: use a rag dipped in engine cleaning fluid to clean all parts thoroughly (use a brush or cotton swab if necessary)
- Build the carburetor back and put it back in the generator
The engine is the brain and heart of the generator; without it, there is no generator.
Modern generators often have a feature that automatically shuts off if it detects that the engine is malfunctioning.
There are a hundred reasons why an engine might not work, so taking it to a technician is the best way to ensure a faulty engine isn’t preventing your generator from working.
A common problem with generators is that their batteries eventually fail.
Also, to protect internal components, the generator shuts down when it detects that the battery is malfunctioning.
Otherwise, it could damage expensive internals, costing time and money.
Making sure the battery is fully charged is the best way to prevent battery problems, and if it continues to fail, the next step should be replacing it.
Faulty spark plug
The spark plug is actually responsible for igniting the air-fuel mixture inside the cylinders of an internal combustion engine.
When they don’t work correctly, the engine’s ignition system fails, which can affect the durability of the generator or prevent it from functioning correctly.
This is why most modern generators shut down when they sense a faulty spark plug prevents the ignition system from working properly.
How do you solve this problem?
Please turn off the generator, remove all spark plugs and start checking them individually. If you find a fault, go to the manufacturer for a replacement. It will take up to a few minutes.
Most modern generators contain sensors that provide critical information about engine performance.
Air, exhaust, oil, fuel, and water sensors work together to ensure the generator’s internal systems are functioning correctly.
However, when the sensor fails, it can cause a severe headache as it often shuts down the generator completely to protect itself.
Fortunately, when a sensor stops working, it usually notifies the owner via a message in the generator control panel.
The quickest way to fix this is to take it to a technician, but if you want to do it yourself, you’ll need to replace the sensor, install it inside the generator, and reprogram it to work correctly again.
Air filter failure
As mentioned earlier, the air-fuel mixture is critical to the internal combustion engine of the generator.
In this case, the air filter ensures that no dust gets into the mixture, as it can accumulate inside the engine, causing severe and costly problems.
But what if your generator’s engine air filter fails?
If this happens, you’ll notice that the engine will occasionally shut itself off for no reason.
The fastest and quickest way to fix this problem is to replace the air filter.
Exhaust system failure
The generator’s exhaust system removes all waste in gaseous form through a series of exhaust pipes.
When this system fails, the waste is not entirely removed from the generator, which can cause severe damage to the engine in the short term.
Therefore, most modern generators shut down when they detect a problem with the exhaust system.
The exhaust pipe should be disassembled and cleaned thoroughly to prevent this from happening again.
Oil pressure switch failure
Another internal component of the generator that can snap shut is the oil pressure switch.
Usually, when the oil pressure switch fails, the control panel will display a “low oil pressure” sign to tell the user that there is a problem with the oil pressure of the generator.
The best way to fix this is to check the oil pressure switch to ensure all connections are tight and corrosion-free. If it continues to fail, it may be time to replace it.
Finding out what is behind a problem and learning how to fix it is easier said than done. With so many different parts, it can sometimes be hard to pinpoint the main problem behind a generator that keeps shutting off. But the above tips will help to solve the problem quickly. However, if you are still determining the cause of the problem and it persists, call a professional to help resolve it.
Like anything else, preventative maintenance is the best way to fix generator problems. Ensure your generator is serviced every few months to avoid some common issues. Keep an eye on the water and oil levels every month, even if you won’t be using the generator right away. Having it properly maintained and readily available will ensure you have an uninterrupted power supply when needed.
Generator keep shutting off FAQ
Why does my generator shut down under load?
When a load is added to the generator, the frequency spikes and usually recovers within a few seconds. If the generator slows down or stops, the generator is likely overloaded (using more power than the generator is rated for).
How to clean a clogged fuel filter?
You can clean the fuel filter by removing it from the generator and washing it with washer fluid.
Can I overload my generator?
If too much electrical equipment is connected to the generator, it can become overloaded and shut down. Be sure to calculate the total wattage of the appliances you plan to connect to the generator and ensure it is within the generator's maximum capacity.