Whether you’ve got a built-in standby generator that’s attached directly to your home’s power systems, or a smaller portable model, a generator can be a fantastic investment for your home.
Generators are also useful if you camp often, or have an RV. They can supply you with power in areas where there are no hookups, and you would otherwise be in the dark.
But even the best generators don’t last forever. If you’ve got a generator, but you’re wondering if it’s time to replace it, this is the right article for you. We’re going to go over 7 of the top signs that you may want to consider replacing your generator. Let’s get started now!
- Your Generator Is Not Big Enough For A Growing Family (Or A New House)
This is actually a surprisingly big issue. Perhaps you purchased a standby generator or a portable generator, and you only expected to have to run a few basic things with its power – perhaps the stove, the fridge, and an A/C unit, as well as a light bulb or two.
This may be realistic if you’re just living by yourself or with a partner or spouse, but once you start adding one, two, or more kids to the scenario, your power usage will increase dramatically. You’ll need to keep more lights on during emergency situations, you may need to use more appliances – such as blenders to make baby food – and so on.
And even if you don’t have children, moving to a new home may make it impossible for you to use your old generator properly. For example, if you used to have a window unit at your old home, but moved into a home with central air conditioning, chances are that your old generator won’t have enough power to keep your central A/C system going.
So, if you’ve gone through any significant life changes like moving into a bigger house or having children, you may want to take a second look at the size, power, and tank size of your generator. It may be time to upgrade. If you’re not sure how to calculate the power that you need, we’ve put together a quick guide and overview that’s sure to be helpful.
- You’re Noticing Higher Fuel Costs
Whether your generator runs on gasoline, propane, natural gas, or any other fuel source, you may need a new generator if your fuel costs seem to be increasing. Just like all mechanical equipment, including cars, generators tend to lose some of their efficiency as they age.
This is because their mechanical components start to wear down and become less efficient. Things like belts and gears may wear down and no longer run or mesh quite as well, leading to higher fuel costs and lower overall efficiency,
This is particularly noticeable in generators which have rather small fuel tanks or reservoirs. If you find yourself refilling your generator constantly when you’re using it, it may be time for a replacement.
Over time, the cost of extra fuel can easily outweigh the cost of replacing your generator, especially if you invest in a more fuel-efficient model. So, as soon as you start noticing poor performance, we recommend calling a professional to take a look at your generator. If repairs and maintenance don’t help enhance fuel efficiency, it’s time for a replacement.
- You’re Having Trouble Starting Your Generator
When a generator starts to wear out, one of the first things that tends to go is its starter. Usually, this does not happen all at once – you’ll notice that your generator takes longer to start up, or it’s jittery and you notice delays and hiccups when you’re trying to get it started.
Sometimes, a slow or delayed startup can be a simple fix – a damaged igniter or other starter component could be the culprit, the generator may need to be topped off with oil, or the fuel tank may be too low for the generator to start properly. To avoid these issues, make sure that you service your generator regularly, according to the manufacturer’s specifications, and keep it in good condition.
However, if you notice these problems constantly, even when there are no other issues with your generator, some components of your generator may be wearing down, and it may be time to think about getting a replacement.
- Your Generator’s Performance Is Inconsistent
Your generator should provide smooth, consistent, and regular power directly to your home, RV, or any appliances and devices that are plugged into the generator. A properly-maintained generator that’s in good shape will have no problems doing so.
However, if you start to notice inconsistencies in your generator’s performance, such as appliances that cut in and out unexpectedly, or flickering lights, this may be a sign that the generator is beginning to wear out and break down.
This is usually especially noticeable in high-power consumption appliances, such as stoves, air conditioning systems, refrigerators and freezers. If power cuts out intermittently, or it does not seem like enough power is being delivered, you should take a look at your generator.
Using a generator that does not provide enough power can actually damage your appliances, in the long run. They’re not designed to run from an inadequate power source, and if power cuts in and out, or there is not enough power flow, electronic and mechanical components of major appliances could be damaged.
- Your Generator Is Emitting Too Much Carbon Monoxide
All generators emit some level of carbon monoxide. That’s why standby generators and portable generators are both placed outside of the home, where the carbon monoxide can dissipate harmlessly in the atmosphere.
This is also why you should avoid spending too much time around an active generator, and why you should NEVER run a generator inside a garage, indoors, or in any enclosed space where the carbon monoxide cannot dissipate.
It’s a good idea to monitor the carbon monoxide levels around your generator, and keep track of them over time. If you start to see the level of carbon monoxide rising, this is a sign that the generator is becoming less efficient, and more gases are being released with its exhaust, which can signify a variety of issues.
If your generator is emitting too much carbon dioxide, it’s likely on its last legs, and it could pose a danger to you and your family, as well as pets and wildlife who may be near the generator when it’s running.
- You’re Constantly Making Repairs To Your Generator
Generators require regular maintenance to work properly, and it’s not uncommon to require repairs for common components every once in a while. But if it seems like your generator gives out and needs repairs every time that you try to use it, it’s time to consider purchasing a new generator.
The whole idea of having a generator in your home or keeping one in your RV is to have a supply of instant, on-demand power that can be relied upon when there is no other power source available. If you can’t manage to keep your generator in good shape, and you can’t rely on it for more than an hour or two of power, it’s time to replace it.
In addition, generator repairs may end up costing more than your generator is worth over time, particularly if it’s out of warranty. Getting a new generator that’s under warranty may actually be the most cost-effective option, in this case.
- Your Generator Is Too Old
Most generators, depending on their manufacturer and individual specifications, are rated for somewhere between 1,000-10,000 hours of operation, as long as oil changes and other maintenance tasks are performed in a timely fashion.
You can check your owner’s manual for more information about the expected service life of your generator. If you don’t have the manual, you may be able to find the information on a search engine like Google, by searching for the model number or the serial number of your unit.
Once your generator reaches the end of its expected service lifespan, you’ll start facing more repairs and more inconsistent performance. So if you find that your generator is on its last legs, it may be time to replace it – or at least purchase another unit, or a backup, so that you’ll have a working emergency power source.
Know When To Replace Your Generator – And Keep Yourself Comfortable!
Whether you need a generator for creature comforts like lights and air conditioning during a power outage, as a backup for an important medical device, or just to bring with you when you’re camping or touring the country in your RV, it’s important to have one that offers consistent performance, and won’t break down on you when you need it most.
That’s why you should consider replacing your generator if you recognize any of these above signs. A small investment in a new generator can be worth it, to make sure that you’ve always got the power that you need!