Why won't my home generator start?
Why won't my home generator start?

How do I ensure my generator starts when I need it most?

You just bought a new home and are extra excited about it because it has a home generator! No more worrying about loss of food and heat when a blizzard takes the power out. Hooray! The first storm of the winter comes rolling through, but wait! Your new home with the generator has gone dark and is starting to get cold. What happened? Why did your home generator not turn on?

The most common issue we see when we receive a service call for a residential generator is a failure of the generator to start. The primary cause of this is a dead battery. Standard automotive type batteries support home power systems. These have a reliable shelf life of about 4 years in a generator application. Why does a generator battery have a shorter lifespan than a car battery? A battery in a car charges every time it is being used. Generator batteries are charged 24/7 by a battery charger. This puts stress on the battery which can weaken it over time. Some older generators use a U1 lawn tractor battery which has an even shorter shelf life of one year. 

The second most common issue for failure to start is a fuel related issue. Propane powered generators tend to experience issues when the propane tank reaches 20% capacity. Similar issues occur when the ambient temperatures drop below freezing (32 deg F). Keeping your propane tank between 60% - 80% full is your best insurance for cold weather starting. During cold weather, natural gas generators experience other issues with starting. For example, when the piping from the generator to the home heating system is not properly installed, the generator can fail even when performing its weekly exercise test. Depending on where the generator is located and how often you check it, it could be in failure for months and you would not even know until a power outage occurs.

The FM Generator residential preventative maintenance services and added offerings address these common issues through the use of:

  • Visual aids (on new equipment) that can tell you at a glance if the generator is ready to run
  • Remote monitoring systems that automatically notify FM Generator and you via text and email if there is a system issue
  • PM service that automatically notifies you when a new battery is needed and will be installed at your next service visit
  • Generator installation protocol that ensures gas piping is installed and sized according to best industry practices and manufacturer's specifications

See what our customers are saying:

"My generator had not been serviced in 5 years and would not start when I tested it before the hurricanes in August. I'd signed up for maintenance, but that would get a lower priority. Donna and Fran were so understanding and sent a technician over to take care of it. Very grateful. Customer for life!" -Anand B, Sep 6, 2021

"FM Generator replaced our previous generator repair company and has been a step up ever since we made the switch. The are knowledgeable, proactive about communication and professional."  -John Kirby, Feb 24, 2021

"They were easy to work with. They explained everything and then took care of installing the back up generator. I had to make a couple of phone calls to give permission for work to get started, they then communicated with the other contractors involved in the work. One of the best home upgrades I have done, I no longer worry about losing power." -Karen Sherman, Feb 23, 2021


Knowing that your home or business is protected during a power outage is a major comfort. You might not know what the installation process looks like, or what a maintenance plan will entail, or what happens if repairs are needed, but you do know that you want to make a smart investment in your home. Contact us today for a FREE QUOTE!