Home Generator

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  #1  
Old 07-12-13, 10:01 AM
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Home Generator

Can anyone enlighten me on why it costs almost three times more to service the generator vs the AC?
 
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Old 07-12-13, 10:13 AM
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The gen is a more complicated piece of equipment...

Motor...electrical...etc...
 
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Old 07-12-13, 12:10 PM
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I think that's an excellent question. A generator is just a big gas motor coupled to a big electric motor. The complicated bits are for auto start & maybe power quality monitoring and not normally a part of routine maintenance. The HVAC requires licensing, regulations, environmental costs & concerns...things that should drive up service costs.

IMO it's a limited market = high price for genny service.

Now by "service" if you mean troubleshoot & repair--that's a different story.
 
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Old 07-12-13, 05:42 PM
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There's a heck of a lot of info missing here. Is this an auto start whole house integrated generator, or a portable construction generator from home depot? Did you have repairs done and filters replaced? A generator has fuel filter, air filter, maybe an oil filter, oil to be replaced, spark plug, adjustments to make to make sure the proper voltage is being produced at the proper frequency, and more if it is a whole house auto start generator.

An air conditioner has a condenser and evaporator that get sprayed with cleaner and hosed off with a water hose and a new cheap filter. That's pretty much it. Beyond that and you're getting into repairs, not just a service.
 
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Old 07-13-13, 07:22 AM
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It's a 15KW auto start whole house generator. It is serviced twice a year (with oil change). Marine battery that is suggested to be replaced every 2 yrs.

It had one major part replaced (forget which one), but it was expensive. Fortunately, it still had a week left on warranty so it did not cost anything, although they put my service man through a bunch of stuff before they replaced the part.
 
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Old 07-14-13, 12:56 AM
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Yeah, I'd say that's about right, to have a real service and systems check. I wouldn't want to replace the marine battery every 2 years though... those aren't cheap and they usually last 5 years or more, especially if not used much and kept in a cool dark place, they can last 10.
 
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Old 07-14-13, 07:45 AM
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Thanks for the input.

I am due for service next month. I was going to suggest to my guy to leave the battery until it dies just to see how long it lasts.

The unit is shaded by a tree but it still gets hot here in Fl.

This gen is about 6 yrs old, probably has run more on weekly test than anything.
 
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Old 07-14-13, 08:04 AM
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Oil change every 6 months for a motor that only runs 5-10 mins per week? That also seems a bit excessive.
 
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Old 07-14-13, 11:53 AM
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Yeah, it doesn't need that either, I missed that until you mentioned it. The generator doesn't need more than just a quick checkover once in a while... maybe once or twice a year, to make sure it is ready to use when needed. During those times, not all filters will need changing, the oil shouldn't need changing, etc... The oil and oil filter will need changing around every 50 hours or so. The air filter and fuel filters will need it periodically, but usually not for years at a time in between. If this is costing you hundreds of dollars every 6 months, then you are right to think you're paying too much.
 
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Old 07-14-13, 03:25 PM
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The going rate for now is $329. Too Much???
 
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Old 07-14-13, 03:55 PM
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Consider how long the oil and battery in your car last. You did not say if your engine is air or liquid cooled but air cooled ones often advise changing the oil every 100 hours of operation. Liquid cooled engines often go much longer before a oil change.

I would not want to let the battery go until it dies because that's possibly when you will need it but they generally provide warning that they are getting weak. If you notice it turning over more slowly when it starts for it's weekly exercise I'd replace it, or just go 4 or 5 years.
 
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Old 07-14-13, 04:14 PM
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The going rate for now is $329. Too Much???
For that price, I would learn to do it my self.
 
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Old 07-14-13, 04:41 PM
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Thanks Guys,

Maybe I'll shop around and see what (who) else is available in my area.

By the way, it is air cooled.
 
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Old 07-14-13, 06:13 PM
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Yeah, too much. I have a service truck and offer onsite service. To just service the engine, check to be sure it's working, and voltages are proper, you'd be looking at probably $120 or less, depending on how hard it is to access all serviceable items, plus parts. Knowing what I know about generators and that yours isn't really used, I would venture a guess that parts wouldn't exceed $20. I'd then tell you that I don't see any reason to call me more than once a year unless you have a problem with it, and I would install a battery minder on the battery and let it go until it exhibited signs of weakness.

Your service guy might be coming from a dealer a long way off and has to replace everything every time, need it or not, I suppose?
 
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Old 07-15-13, 06:04 AM
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Forgot to clarify that the $329 is for the year (2 services), $185 if you want a pay as you go. Maybe I would be better off going with the $185 and just have him come once a year.

What kind of price range would a battery reminder cost, part & labor?

My guy is not with any dealer but he is a stickler for detail and prevention.
 
  #16  
Old 07-15-13, 09:16 AM
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A battery minder or tender ranges from $20 to $75 and can be installed during a service for 30 minutes or less on the labor charges.
 
  #17  
Old 07-15-13, 09:20 AM
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Thanks for all your help.
 
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