Overheating is the most common cause of generator failures. If you can avoid it, it will save you downtime and expensive repairs. So, how do you do that in this sweltering heat? Here are some tips that may help.
DAMAGE FROM OVERHEATING
When generators overheat, they can easily be damaged, causing downtime and expensive repair costs. High temperatures cause wiring and insulation to soften, melt and even catch fire. The generator voltage regulator is often the first component to fail.
Air-cooled engines are most prone to overheating. They depend on a fan to move air around the engine for cooling. When there is no significant difference between the air used to cool the engine and the air outside, it makes it difficult to dissipate heat. They can't regulate operating temperatures and don't have a way of detecting harmful temperatures.
Modern generators use water-cooled engines. A radiator and water pump with hoses are used to circulate water or a coolant mixture throughout the engine. The heat from the engine is transferred to the coolant. The coolant is cooled in the radiator and sent back to the engine again. Technically, this is also air-cooled but, let's not split hairs.
Increased air temperature, fuel temperature, humidity, and altitude/air density all derate your generator. (reduce the power rating) Understanding your generator derating factors will help you know what it is capable of doing in extreme weather conditions.
WHAT CAN YOU DO?
Check coolant levels, belts, and hoses.Keep your generator in a well-ventilated area.Keep your generator clean. Accumulation of oil and dirt hinders heat dissipation.Keep other heat sources away from your generator.Shelter your generator from direct sun.Do not overload your generator. If you need more power, replace your generator with a more powerful one.Run your generator regularly to make sure it is in good working condition.Use lower viscosity oil in high ambient temperatures. (Check your engine operation manual.)Switch to synthetic lube oil. It helps reduce foaming and thinning caused by very high engine temperatures.