What happens when you overload a generator?

Generators, like any other electrical supply device, is susceptible to problems from time to time. Like motor vehicles, generator maintenance is required every so often to ensure that a generator is ready and able to provide emergency power should the lights go out for whatever reason.

However, sometimes generators are installed without the correct pre-installation inspections. One reason these are so important is to prevent a generator overload – which happens more often than you’d think. This article will take a look at how generators get overloaded, what happens when overload occurs, and how to prevent overloading a generator:

How to overload a generator

Generator overloading occurs when there is too much load, or too many appliances and fixtures requiring power, than the generator in question can sufficiently handle in terms of wattage. Most generators are protected from overload damage with circuit breakers. Regardless, it’s easy to forget just how much power your building requires – and how this requirement changes as time goes on. For this reason, it’s a good idea to keep an eye on your generator when you do use it, looking out for these tell-tale signs that a generator is struggling with your power demands:

Signs your generator is overloaded

– Overheating

The first sign that a generator might be struggling with overload is overheating. If your generator’s cooling fan is going flat-out, or you notice more heat coming off of the generator than usual, it might be overloaded and is working harder to provide the power you require.

– Power reduction

Another issue with generator overload is reduction in power output, which presents itself in a number of ways. Added to this, the generator might be working too hard for too little of an output, which will also greatly affect the generator’s ability to provide enough electricity.

– Soot in exhaust

Generator overload is also often caused by damaged or worn generator components not doing their jobs properly. A sure way to tell if this is the case is by looking at the generator’s exhaust pipe. Dark smoke is normal, but black soot residue after use is not.

How to prevent overloading a generator

– Correct installation

The first step to prevent generator overload is to ensure that your new generator is installed correctly – with all the necessary assessments that should be carried out by your generator installer. If you already have a generator in place, get the installation assessed by a third-party generator expert to make sure it was done properly and that it is suitable for your electrical requirements

– Planned maintenance

Secondly, as your power needs might change over time, prevent future generator overloading by ensuring that your generator is assessed and serviced on a regular basis. Consider getting generator professionals in once a year to inspect and service your generator, and re-test to make sure that the generator is still suitable for the building’s power needs.

Expert generator repairs & maintenance

S&A Generators does not install a generator until a thorough site inspection and load requirement assessment has been administered. This makes sure that the building requiring back-up power will have a generator with capacity sufficient enough to power everything needed – and this reduces the risk of ever overloading the generator. Chat to our expert team of generator specialists for any and all of your generator-related queries!