The risks of generators overheating and how to prevent it

Gasoline electric generator in construction area

A generator is a powerful machine that can be a great way of providing additional or replacement power in the case of no mains access or an electrical outage.

While most generators are typically very durable, they can overheat, especially if you are pushing them to their maximum capacity. When you own a generator, you must know what can cause one to overheat and how to prevent it. 

Some risks of generators overheating 

If your generator overheats, the internal components will be exposed to higher temperatures resulting in potential damage to the machine’s parts, including:

  • Burnt alternator
  • Warped rotors
  • Melted bearings
  • Cracked head gasket
  • Damaged radiator core

If the damage done to the generator is substantial, you may be required to pay for repairs or part replacements. If this is not feasible, you have to buy a new generator entirely, inducing an even higher cost.

Your health and wellbeing is the biggest risk of your generator overheating. When a diesel or petrol generator overheats, it runs the risk of releasing excessive fumes. Even generators stored in a suitable location outside could lead to issues if inhaled, not to mention being harmful to the planet. 

These fumes are just one side of the problem as overheated generators could produce sparks and ignite spilled gasoline resulting in a fire or even explosion if spread the fuel tank. 

Naturally, if your generator overheats, it will cut out. You will not be able to use it for the purpose you bought it for, i.e. lighting or powering your house during powercuts

How to prevent your generator from overheating

Improper Use

An essential thing to consider with generator use is ensuring you know the proper procedures and how to operate one. That includes things such as:

  • Not over fueling it
  • Maintaining low coolant and oil levels
  • Overloading your generator
  • Not replacing old fuel
  • Not clearing the filter

Regular maintenance 

Routinely maintaining your generator with checks on critical parts will help reduce the risk of it failing. This maintenance should be coupled with regularly running the generator to allow the engine to get frequently lubricated, keeping it fresh and ready for action. Running it will also help alert you of any issues you can fix before you need to depend on it. 

It would be best to go beyond this and have it professionally serviced to keep it operating at optimum efficiency. An expert technician will check the oil, filters, coolant and more. Carrying out this service will identify any issues and give them enough time to have them repaired before you’re left without any power. 

As well as the maintenance, cleaning your generator from accumulated dirt and dust that may clog the internal elements, leading to bigger issues if left unchecked. You can do this simply using a damp cloth to wipe away any fuel residue from the exterior, a soft toothbrush to remove it from openings and compressed air for inside the vents/exhaust.

Avoid Overloading 

The size of a generator will dictate its power load. The larger you have, the bigger output you will have. You’ll still need to be wary of your generator’s maximum load to avoid exceeding its power capacity. Heavily relying on a generator and excessively overloading it with appliances can lead to overheating. You can calculate how much your appliances are outputting by looking at the wattage labels on them and comparing that against your generator’s maximum. 

If you require a generator that can output more power, get in touch with a member of the team, and we’ll be able to assist you in choosing one that will suit your requirements.

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