Generator Troubleshooting, Maintenance & Care FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

This article addresses some of the common questions people have about home standby generators, plus we’ll include Troubleshooting FAQs and Generator Maintenance and Care FAQs.

Common Questions about Standby Generators
  1. How does a standby generator work?
    Standby generators are connected to your home's electrical system through a transfer switch. When the power goes out, the transfer switch signals the generator to start, and begins supplying electricity to your home. Once the utility power is restored, the generator switches off, and your home returns to using the main power supply.
  2. What size generator do I need for my home?
    The size of the generator you need depends on several factors, including the size of your home, the number of appliances you want to power, and your power consumption. We encourage homeowners to call a Buckeye professional to assess your specific needs and determine an appropriate generator size.
  3. Can a standby generator power my entire home?
    Yes, a Cummins home standby generator can power your entire home. It is also important to prioritize the most critical appliances and circuits you want to keep running during an outage. For example, if your home has two central air conditioning units, do you want to run both at the same time or one A/C at a time? A Buckeye representative can review your standby power needs and develop a range of cost saving solutions while also making sure all appliances and circuits have the potential of being operated by you during a power outage.
  4. How long can a standby generator run continuously?
    All Cummins Power Generation home standby generators are designed for extended operation. Natural gas generators have an unlimited supply of fuel from the gas meter and can run for days or weeks. LP and diesel generators are only limited by the available fuel supply.
  5. How often should a standby generator be serviced?
    Regular maintenance is crucial to keep your standby generator in optimal condition. It is recommended to have an authorized Cummins service provider service the generator every 200 engine hours or at least annually. If you experience a week-long power outage and operate the generator continuously, contact your service provider to change the engine oil and filter and inspect, clean, and test other components. Additionally, homeowners should check to verify the generator is performing a periodic exercise routine without fail.

Remember, professional guidance and regular maintenance are essential to ensure the longevity and efficiency of these systems. Trust the pros at Buckeye Power Systems with any questions related to standby power systems.

Troubleshooting FAQs

While standby generators are designed to provide reliable standby power during outages, occasional issues may arise that require attention. By familiarizing yourself with these troubleshooting FAQs, you will be better equipped to identify and resolve any problems that may occur.

  1. Why isn't my generator starting?
    If your generator fails to start, first check to make sure the generator is in AUTO or STANDBY mode. Check that the battery is charged and has been replaced within the past 2 years. Check and tighten battery connections. Battery failures are the most common reason for fail to start issues. If your generator runs on LP or diesel, check the fuel level, and make sure it is properly connected to a fuel source. Also, check the fuel shutoff valve to make sure it is not in the off position. If the problem persists, consult the user manual, or contact your authorized Cummins service provider for assistance.
  2. How can I troubleshoot issues with my generator's battery?
    If you are experiencing problems with your generator battery, start by checking the battery voltage with a multimeter. Ensure that the terminals are clean and free of corrosion. If the battery is more than 2 years old, it may need to be replaced. Regularly maintaining and testing the battery will help prevent unexpected failures.
  3. My generator is running but not producing power. What should I do?
    If your generator is running but not generating electrical power, check the circuit breaker on your generator. If it has tripped, reset the circuit breaker. Also, inspect the transfer switch to ensure it is in the proper position. If the issue persists, it could indicate a problem with the voltage regulator or the generator's internal wiring. In such cases, seek help from your authorized Cummins service provider.
  4. Why is my generator making unusual noises?
    Unusual noises from your generator may indicate loose parts, worn-out components, or improper maintenance. Check for any loose screws or bolts and tighten them as needed. Inspect the engine for signs of wear or damage and ensure that all moving parts are lubricated properly. If the noise persists, consult your authorized Cummins service professional to diagnose and resolve the issue.

Remember, while troubleshooting FAQs can assist in resolving common issues, it is important to refer to your Cummins User Manual for specific instructions and safety guidelines. If you are unsure about any aspect of troubleshooting or feel uncomfortable performing any repairs, always seek the assistance of a Cummins qualified professional.

General Maintenance and Care FAQs

As a homeowner, it is crucial to stay informed about the proper maintenance and care required for your Cummins home standby generator. Regular upkeep ensures that your generator functions optimally, providing you with reliable standby power whenever you need it. In this section, we will address some frequently asked questions regarding general maintenance and care for your generator.

  1. How often should I perform maintenance on my Cummins home standby generator?
    Regular maintenance is essential to keep your generator in top shape. Cummins Power Generation recommends oil & filter intervals every 200 engine hours or at least annually, whichever occurs first. Homeowners should perform a basic visual inspection monthly and after storms.
  2. What are the key components I should inspect during my monthly checks?
    During your monthly inspections, pay close attention to the generator's oil levels, battery condition, and fuel levels for LP and diesel generators. Ensure there are no visible leaks or damage and verify that the generator is free from debris or obstructions. It is also important to check the generator status making sure it is set to AUTO or STANDBY mode with no warning lights or messages.
  3. What steps should I take to maintain the battery of my generator?
    To maintain the battery's performance, keep it clean and free from corrosion. Inspect the battery terminals regularly and tighten any loose connections. Consider testing the battery voltage periodically. Buckeye Power Systems highly recommends replacing the battery every 2 years.
  4. Can I perform maintenance tasks on my generator, or should I hire a professional?
    While some basic maintenance tasks can be performed by homeowners, Buckeye Power Systems recommends hiring a factory trained professional for annual routine servicing and repairs. Cummins service techs have the experience and trained eyes to spot developing problems. These pros can also perform warranty repairs when necessary.

Remember, proper maintenance and care are the keys to a reliable and long-lasting home standby generator. By following the manufacturer's guidelines and scheduling regular inspections, you can enjoy reliable power whenever you need it, providing peace of mind during unexpected power outages.

This completes our educational series of articles on standby power. Other questions related to your standby power needs may develop and, if so, we invite you to call a trained industry professional at Buckeye Power Systems. We are available Monday – Friday, 9:00 am – 5:00 pm.

Call us today at 901-379-8097.