FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS FOR AIR-COOLED GENERATOR OWNERS

Click here for a listing of Technical Terms.

General

Unlocking the generator

  1. 2008 & newer, generators have a lock on each end of the generator. Insert the key into the chrome finished lock, push down on the top cover (lid) and rotate the key a quarter turn. With both latches unlocked, the top cover will lift up permitting access to the engine compartment and control panel.  Contact us to purchase replacement keys.
  2. The PowerPact 7kW generators do not require keys. Rotate the four black knobs (fasteners) on the top cover to access the engine and control panel.
  3. 2007 & older generators have two black knobs on the front panel. Insert the key into the right knob and rotate a quarter turn to unlock the lid.

Checking and adding oil

  1. We recommend and use a full-synthetic, 5W-30, All-Season automotive oil for all Generac generators we service. Do not use a different type of oil. Keep 1 or 2 quarts on hand, purchased at any local automotive store.  Reference Changing/Checking the Engine Oil in your Owner’s Manual.   Contact us for maintenance.
  2. Generac recommends checking the oil level monthly and every 24 hours of continuous operation. To check the oil level, see Checking Engine Oil Level, in the Owner’s Manual. With the unit switched to the “off” position, remove and wipe off the dipstick. Re-insert it fully into the engine, remove it and observe the oil level indicated on the dipstick.  To locate the oil dipstick, see The Generator, in the Owner’s Manual.
  3. Add oil only as needed. DO NOT FILL ABOVE THE “FULL” MARK. Overfilling could damage the engine. The oil capacity for the engine is listed in the Specifications section, of the Owner’s Manual. Engine oil capacity ranges from 1.1 to 1.9 quarts depending on size.
  4. The Generac engine requires an oil change every 200 hours, or every 2 years, whichever occurs first. The PowerPact and CorePower 7kW generator requires an oil change every year or every 100 hours of operation.

LED warning lights

  1. The 2008 and newer generators have a side compartment with three LED indicator lights; Green, Red & Yellow. See the Side Compartment section, in the Owner’s Manual. For the 2008 8kW and PowerPact and CorePower 7kW, see #5, below.
  2. The GREEN LED is illuminated when the generator is “READY to Run”. It confirms the control panel switch is set to “Auto”.
  3. The RED LED is illuminated when the generator has been switched to “Off” or when a fault (failure) has occurred. Unlock and open the top cover of the generator and view the LCD screen on the control panel to identify the fault noted. To clear a fault, place the Auto/Off/Manual switch in “Off” position. Then press the “Enter” key. Place the switch back in “Auto” or “Manual”, as desired.    Contact us with any service issues.
  4. The YELLOW LED indicates a maintenance alert. It does not prevent the operation of your generator, but reminds you to perform periodic maintenance on your generator. The “Inspect Battery” message will appear at 1 year, followed by additional messages at 2 years or 100/200/220 hours. The maintenance alert can be cleared by pressing the “Enter” key twice. Reference the Protection Systems section, in your Owner’s Manual. (Reference SIB09-04-HAC)
  5. Generators 2007 and older have LED indicator lights built-into the control panel. The status or fault is stated adjacent to the LED light. See the Protection Systems section, in the Owner’s Manual.

Warranty

  1. Generac’s Standard 5 year limited warranty provides for 2 years labor, 3 years parts and 5 years major parts components (Engine block, rotor and stator only).  The PowerPact 7kW has a 3 year limited warranty with 2 years labor and 3 years parts.  The transfer switch is warrantied the same as the generator, provided it was registered with the generator at the time of activation.
  2. Generac offers comprehensive extended warranties for 5, 7 & 10 years.  Each warranty provides for labor and parts for the full term.  The extended warranty must be purchased within 12 months of activation.  A generator owner having an extended warranty, cannot upgrade to a longer term extended warranty.
    Contact us to purchase an extended warranty.
  3. On any permanently installed units, the warranty will transfer to the new owner, provided the unit stays in place.
  4. Accessory warranties are as follows:
    1. Crankcase and battery heaters have a 90 day parts only, warranty.
    2. Wireless remotes have a 180 day parts & labor, no travel, warranty.
    3. Mobile Link has a one year warranty.

Locating the model/serial number

Unlock and open the top cover of the generator enclosure. The label is applied to the top of the vertical metal panel separating the engine compartment and the control panel/battery compartment. It is positioned closest to the front of the generator and facing the engine compartment. The 7 digit serial number can be found on the second line of the data label.

Generator is running for no reason

  1. When you experience your generator operating (except during the scheduled 12 or 5 minute exercise time), you may have a full or partial outage from ComEd. Check with a neighbor to see if they are experiencing a power outage as well. A partial outage is when only one of the two power lines from ComEd is energized. Contact ComEd at 1-800- EDISON-1 (1-800-334-7661). Reference the Sequence of Automatic Operation section, in the Owner’s Manual.
  2. The main circuit breaker to your home or the generator panel circuit breaker has tripped or is switched off. In either case, the generator is responding to a loss of utility (ComEd) power. Reset the circuit breaker as necessary, to restore power.
  3. The generator system or an accessory (engine crankcase or battery warmer) has failed.

Contact us for service.

Where can I get an Owner’s Manual?

  1. You will need your seven digit serial number and model number.
  2. To obtain an Owner’s Manual, click on the link   http://www.generac.com/service-support/product-support-lookup

Operation

Exercise time

  1. When the generator is switched to “Auto”, it will operate to exercise for 12 or 5 minutes weekly/ Bi-weekly/ monthly, at a day and time you selected. The generator, when exercising will not interrupt the power to your home. On 2008 and newer generators, unlock and open the top cover of the generator and view the LCD screen on the control panel. Using the “Escape button”, enter the menu, select the “Edit” category and navigate to the “Exercise Time” setting.  Reference the Control Panel Interface or the Setting the Exercise Timer section, in the Owner’s Manual. If you have Generac’s Mobile Link wireless remote, you can perform the exercise schedule change without accessing the generator.
  2. The 2008 8kW, PowerPact & CorePower 7kW, 2007 and older generators require the Set Exercise switch to be depressed at the exact day and time desired for exercise. See the Setting the Exercise Timer section, in the Owner’s Manual.

Setting the date and time

  1. To change the Date or Time setting for the generator, follow the Exercise Time procedure above. In the “Edit” category, change the setting for the current “Time/Date”. The Mobile Link, can also perform the Time/Date changes. (The 2008 8kW, CorePower 7kW, 2007 and older generators do not apply).
  2. Daylight saving time is not automatically adjusted by the generator control panel.

How many hours has it run?

Checking the generator run hours can be determined by accessing the menu system on the generator controller as stated above. Select the “Status” category, followed by the “Display” category and finally “Engine Hours”. (The 2008 8kW, PowerPact & CorePower 7kW, 2007 and older generators do not apply).

Testing the Generator

The weekly exercise is beneficial in proving the operation of your generator in an idle or un-loaded mode, similar to your automobile idling in the driveway. In order to fully test the generator and the operation of the automatic transfer switch, it is best to perform a “Full System” test each season. This will subject the generator to an actual load test, proving its ability to perform and building confidence in its operation. The “Full System” test is simple to perform and requires 10 – 20 minutes, or as long as you desire. Follow one of the two, step-by-step procedures, based upon the type of automatic transfer switch (ATS) you have:

  • Whole-House ATS –
  1. Switch off the main service disconnect (circuit breaker) inside the ATS.
  2. The generator will start after a 10 second delay.
  3. Once operating, it will transfer the entire house to the generator.
  4. Switch the main service disconnect to “On” when you wish to end the test.
  5. After a 15 second delay, the ATS will transfer back to Utility (ComEd) power. The generator will continue to run for 60 seconds to cool-down, and then shut off automatically.
  • Indoor ATS with 8 – 16 circuit breakers –

The test sequence is identical to the above, except the ”Generator Panel” circuit breaker located in your existing home circuit breaker panel will initiate the system test.
Contact us for assistance testing your generator.

Maintenance and Care

Maintenance requirements

Generac states the scheduled maintenance requirements in the Service Schedule section, of the Owner’s Manual.  The required maintenance is the replacement of the engine oil, oil filter and a complete tune-up at every 200 hours of operation or 2 years, whichever occurs first.  In addition, the battery inspection and maintenance is required annually.  PowerPact & CorePower 7kW generators require service every 100 hours of operation or every year.   Contact us for all your service needs.

The Battery

    1. The Generac generator typically requires an automotive style, 12VDC, group 26R, lead acid battery. Reference the Specifications section, in your Owner’s Manual.
    2. The battery must be maintained properly to ensure reliable generator starting. Reference Battery Maintenance in your Owner’s Manual.
    3. Proper battery maintenance is provided by our Factory Trained generator technicians, during all service and maintenance visits. We recommend replacing the battery at least every 4 years with the Generac recommended Exide battery. Contact us for battery replacement.

Snow & Debris

The accumulation of snow, leaves and other debris must not be allowed to obstruct the air flow into or the exhaust out of the generator enclosure.  Obstruction of proper air flow can cause overheating and shutdown the generator.

Flooding

  1. Prevent ground water from rainstorms and flooding from submersing your generator and causing damage. When ground water is a threat, use plastic sheeting and sand bags to create a water barrier. A small sump pump with an integral float switch can be used to remove water from the containment area surrounding your generator.
  2. When flooding is a real concern, we can elevate the generator above grade to minimize the threat of water damage. Contact us for flood prevention options for your generator.
  3. When uncontrolled ground water rises above the black sub-base of your generator; place the generator in the “off” mode to prevent operation while submersed. Water entering the alternator section can cause significant damage.

Rodents and insects

    1. The sub-base of the generator has four holes to provide for the placement of the generator. Once the unit is set in place, the holes can be sealed to prevent the nesting of rodents and insects. We can offer you the installation of a fascia base wrap to seal the holes and provide a sleek finished look to the generator. Contact us for a base fascia wrap installation.
    2. During our scheduled maintenance visit, we will confirm the integrity of the gasket on the underside of the generator top cover and the wire mesh screens located behind the enclosure louvers to prevent insect and rodent infestations. Contact us for scheduled maintenance.
    3. Take action to prevent ants or other small insects from nesting inside the generator, especially the control board.  The warranty does not cover damage caused by insects.

Accessories

Wireless Monitors

  • Generac’s cellular based wireless remote, Mobile Link, informs you of the status of your generator whether at home or away.  The communication link between your generator and the internet is accomplished through the Verizon cellular network.  The user is able to receive selectable alerts via website, email or text message.  In addition, the user can select messages to be sent to their local Generac Service Dealer.  Contact us to have this remote installed in your 2008 and newer generator.  (The 2008 8kW, CorePower 7kW, 2007, and older generators are not compatible.)

Contact us for pricing and installation of Mobile Link™.

  • The three LED light wireless remote monitor, model 5928, provides in-home generator status.  The monitor displays the status of the three colored LED’s (Green, Yellow, Red) located on the side of the generator.

Adding more circuits to the Transfer Switch

Generator owners having an automatic transfer switch with built-in circuit breakers can typically have existing circuits removed and exchanged for other circuits, or even have additional circuits added (provided the generator will not be overloaded). Contact us to schedule an electrician to evaluate your available options regarding changing or adding circuits to your generator.

Contact us to add more circuits.

What other accessories are available?

  1. Oil heater kit – the thermostatically controlled 40 watt heater maintains optimal engine oil temperature for more reliable generator starting in extreme cold conditions. It also reduces wear & tear on the starter, by promoting faster and easier engine starting.
  2. Battery heater kit – a thermostatically controlled 50 watt battery warmer maintains optimal battery temperature to help ensure easier and more reliable generator starting in extreme cold conditions.
  3. The fascia base wrap gives the generator a sleek, finished look while closing the four lifting holes on the base of the generator to discourage rodent and insect infiltration. Available for 2008 and newer generators only, except the PowerPact & CorePower 7kW.
    Contact us to purchase accessories.
  4. A whole-house surge protector provides the highest level of protection from ComEd system generated power surges as a result of storms and system faults. It protects your entire home by capturing and dissipating damaging surges (think of a power surge as a tsunami) at your circuit breaker panel, before they travel throughout your home damaging computers, electronics and appliances.
  5. Generator owners concerned with basement flooding would be prudent to have two redundant sump pump systems. This includes two – full capacity, 120 volt pump’s, each on their own dedicated circuit. This is best for two reasons:
    1. When one pump fails and trips the circuit breaker, a second full capacity pump can take its place.
    2. When encountering a heavy storm, two – full capacity pumps are better able to keep up with the water flow.

Contact us for a free quotation.

 

Please note: the section numbers for various Owner’s Manual topics have been omitted due to numbering inconsistencies among the various revisions.