How to identify the main causes of generator overheating
- Check for leaves or debris blocking the air intakes and outputs.
- Objects placed within 2 metres of the air intakes or outputs will block or restrict the air flow. Move anything recently placed in this area.
- Check that the oil is at the correct level and not running low.
- Check that water coolant levels are correct. Has the generator lost or even run out of coolant
- Have you changed the air filters recently?
Blocked-up or old filters will cause the generator to overheat and cut-out.
- Have you changed the oil filters recently?
Clogged or old filters will cause the generator to overheat and cut-out.
- Have you used cheap, non-brand oil or non-compliant oil?
This will cause the engine to over-exert itself and overheat.
- Has anyone damaged or tampered with the exhaust?
Restricted exhausting will cause the generator to overheat and cut-out.
- Do you see any damage to or weeping from the flexible hoses on the generator engine or fuel supplies?
Check and replace/tighten weeping hoses and loose supporting clips where necessary.
- Have you overloaded the generator beyond its load capacity?
Is an imbalanced, irregular load being intermittently dropped onto the generator? Either of these will cause the generator to overheat and stop.
Is the generator still overheating after working through all ten checks AND rectifying any issues? If so, the next step is to take a look at the generator’s environment.
How to stop outdoor generators overheating
Does the outside temperature regularly rise above 40°C ?
Is there an issue with airborne debris, dust, leaves or sand?
Has there been any recent flooding that could have damaged the generator?
If outside temperatures are very high, shield the generator from direct sunlight.
To avoid problems with airborne debris, fit additional filters/net to the air intakes and output vents. Clear these daily to prevent the generator overheating and cutting out.
To prevent water-damage from flooding, a raised hard-standing area should be provided for siting the generator on.
Internal Building Environment:
How to stop indoor generators overheating
Is there an issue with restricted air flow in the generator area?
Can you see other equipment emitting high levels of heat close to the generator?
What about the generator location – is it in an enclosed area, without ventilation?
Or do you maybe feel that there’s no need for ventilation because the generator is in a large space?
Even in an underground car park or similar area, ventilation is still required. This will ensure that the circulating air temperature does not keep increasing, thus causing the generator to cut-out due to overheated incoming air flow.
To avoid this problem, regularly check that there is permanent, unblocked airflow to ventilate the area. You may need to install ventilation on either side of the area e.g. vents in back and front walls to allow free flow of air 24/7.
Take, for example, a scenario where an external vehicle car park entrance must be open during the day to provide air flow when the generator is running. Provision would need to be made for times when the car park entrance is closed outside of the working day AND the generator is running.
Note: Hot air from the generator output should have a means of escape to the outside, otherwise it will cause the generator to overheat and cut-out. Hot air must never be allowed to build up in the room.
Check that damage or a bird’s nest has not blocked the exhaust exit point.
How to prevent generator overheating- Quick Prevention
Service your generator regularly in accordance with the manufacturer’s requirements. Never miss a service.
Air intakes and outputs should always be clear and unrestricted.
Keep oil and water coolant levels topped up to the correct levels.
Regularly clear the exhaust of any debris.
Finally, check with, the manufacturer.
This video shows what a generator should look and sound like when running with no overheating issues – a 1000kVA Cummins diesel generator:
Still concerned? Call PowerContinuity on 0845 055 8455
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