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Thread: Question for those who own whole house generators

  1. #1
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    Question Question for those who own whole house generators

    I had a whole house generator installed last summer . I just got a letter from the installer suggesting I sign a contract to have a once a year tune up and another once a year checkup. The cost would be $400/year which seems reasonable to me. Do those of you who have whole house generators have maintenance contracts?
    Thanks
    Dennis

  2. #2
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    I do. I like the piece of mind. However, mine is $200 per year.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by dennis thompson View Post
    I had a whole house generator installed last summer . I just got a letter from the installer suggesting I sign a contract to have a once a year tune up and another once a year checkup. The cost would be $400/year which seems reasonable to me. Do those of you who have whole house generators have maintenance contracts?
    Thanks
    Seems expensive for what might take a tech 5-10 minutes to perform.

  4. #4
    I have had a whole house generator for 19 years and also have one at my cabin. I have never had/needed any "service" or "maintenance contract"....especially for no $400 per year!!! What exactly does $400 a year get you??? I have to ask...what kinds of chronic, continuous problems are you having to cause $400 a year to "seem reasonable"????? When you say whole house generator you mean one that will power the entire house when you need it, such as during a power outage??? Or do you mean to say you are off grid and the gen set is your constant source of power???

  5. #5
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    Hmmm,,,, I'm sorry, but the sounds like "pure profit" to me.
    If the installer is a certified technician and rep for the generator you installed, I might see some benefit.Might.
    I would also like to know how warranty claims are handled. Besides that, your generator should be testing itself once per month, and is still under warranty.
    In the end though, if it brings you peace of mind, that has a value also.
    "The first thing you need to know, will likely be the last thing you learn." (Unknown)

  6. #6
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    I don't have a contract but the a la cartť annual service for my Generac whole house unit runs about $250...I'm actually due for that now. My unit keeps telling me that via email. Yes, you should do the maintenance to insure that the unit is ready to go when you need it. Even the weekly exercise will get the oil dirty and a new filter and spark plug annually isn't a terrible thing. You can also do the service yourself if you want to which lowers the cost to just oil, filter and spark plug. I choose to have the installer company do it simply because I don't enjoy doing that kind of work and have other time commitments.

    That said...$400 is WAY out of line. $200-250 is reasonable from a parts and labor perspective when you account for about an hour to do the work plus travel time, etc.
    Last edited by Jim Becker; 01-21-2019 at 1:25 PM.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  7. #7
    You can change oil and spark plugs and filter once per year for $50-70. Even I am not really mechanically incline, can do this.
    I would say $400 per year to keep your hands free of oil - it's too much money.
    Ed.

  8. #8
    One other option for you is to SHOP AROUND if you don't want to save $$$ DIY!

  9. #9
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    I think $400 is ridiculous. I can't imagine what a technician would do that would justify anywhere near that fee. Perhaps he is having to drive 100 miles to get there. Neither spark plugs nor oil spontaneously degrade with time. Over long periods of time, condensate will gradually degrade oil if the engine isn't run. However, every generator should be run often enough and long enough to drive off the crankcase moisture. A lot of those engines have service intervals of 100 hours. Due to numerous starting cycles from monthly testing, that number ought to be shorter. Still, 50 hours is a lot of run time if the unit isn't actually being used.

  10. #10
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    Hi, it depends upon the scope of maintenance.

    On an annual basis I would expect the following

    Check safeties such as over speed, overcrank, low oil pressure, over temp

    Replace engine oil and filter, send sample to lab

    Rad inspection/cleaning, coolant level check, replacement at 3 or 5 years, belts/hoses, jacket water heater check if fitted.

    Exhaust inspection

    Load test with a load bank

    Transfer switch test and inspection.

    There will be other requirements depending upon whether itís a gas or Diesel engine......Rod

  11. #11
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    I get mine serviced every 2 years; assuming it hasn't been seriously used, that is all that is called for.

    Three years ago I paid $300; can't find the charge for last year. It includes adjusting the valves; which I am told is not for the amateur.

  12. #12
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    Although $400 sounds a little steep, certainly get your generator serviced regularly, and fire it up once a month. This is the voice of a man who spent 4 months without power after Irma and Maria hit my island. One thing that happened right after the storms is generators either didn't work at all, or they quickly failed. Power outages are very common here, so most generators had been run periodically during our many brief outages, but they had not been run for extended amounts of time. Many people had found their generator was damaged during the storm, but many also failed from lack of preventative maintenance. Keep your generator regularly maintained. Not running an engine can cause problems just as much as running it can- primarily dry rot of belts, water infiltration of fuel and oil, and corrosion of electronics. Keep on hand extra air filters, oil filters, and belts. I saw a lot of broken belts and you could not find a belt for a generator after the storms. You might even keep a spare injector pump if you really depend on the generator for power.

    Either pay for the service contract, or find a cheaper way to do it, but keep it serviced. Without knowing what your contract specifically covers, I can't say whether or not it's a good deal. If it covers anything that needs replacing, and all preventative maintenance parts and oil changes, it may be a fair price. If it's labor only, maybe not.

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by Wade Lippman View Post
    I get mine serviced every 2 years; It includes adjusting the valves; which I am told is not for the amateur.
    Ever hear of You tube? Adjusting valves is so simple, even I can do it. But I can also rebuild the engine. You didn't say if generator was gasoline, natural gas, diesel, or propane fueled. Is it a single cylinder, or multiple cylinder, air cooled or water cooled. Too much information was left out to give a correct answer. But my gut feeling is you are being ripped off. An oil change and a couple spark plugs has a material cost of less than $25, so that leaves $375 on the table. PS after the first oil change, opt for synthetic oil. Easier cranking, and longer life

  14. #14
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    If you run your generator under load every month or two like you are supposed to, you will already know whether it is working properly. As far as I know. all these generators are air cooled, which means there is no belts, hoses, coolant etc. to check. I can check oil level myself. Most will have a low oil/pressure automatic shutdown. If I thought all that stuff was really necessary to hire someone to check every year, I would buy a different brand.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rod Sheridan View Post
    Hi, it depends upon the scope of maintenance.

    On an annual basis I would expect the following

    Check safeties such as over speed, overcrank, low oil pressure, over temp

    Replace engine oil and filter, send sample to lab

    Rad inspection/cleaning, coolant level check, replacement at 3 or 5 years, belts/hoses, jacket water heater check if fitted.

    Exhaust inspection

    Load test with a load bank

    Transfer switch test and inspection.

    There will be other requirements depending upon whether itís a gas or Diesel engine......Rod

  15. #15
    My service charge for factory generators was $100.00 plus parts and oil.
    This was huge generators. $400.00 ... i wish... Home systems maybe $50.00
    plus parts and oil.

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