Signs your generator is overloading


Without doubt, a generator is one of the most important machines to have either at your business premises or at home. However, it is important to note that they are not immune from general wear and tear that may be caused by overload.

Generators really come in handy especially if you live in an area where you experience blackouts from time to time. This is because you can easily restore power in your business premises or home by switching on your generator. For sure, this serves as a major benefit to anyone as you will always be able to continue with your daily activities normally even when you experience a blackout. However, it’s important to note that you should always service your generator for it to serve you efficiently for a long time.

Some of the signs that indicate your generator is overloading includes overheating, soot on the exhaust and power reduction. Generators tend to overload especially when they start to age therefore, you should be very keen on some of these signs every time you use it. However, some generators come with pre- installed circuit breakers that help prevent them from overloading.

Signs that show your generator is overloading


This is the first and most common sign that may indicate that your generator is overloading. Once the generator starts to overheat, its fans will start to run excessively. Well, at first it is easy to ignore this because you may assume that the fans have come on to maintain its regular engine temperatures. However, you should be alarmed when the fans start making unusual noises as this is a sign that the fans are running excessively.

Usually, when your generator overloads, it exceeds its recommended wattage which makes the engine to overwork itself. The excess heat coming from the engine is what forces the fan to run excessively. However, it’s also important to note that overheating doesn’t necessarily mean that your generator is overheating as this could also be caused by other issues. These include insulation and blockages.

Reduction in power

Overloading causes the engine of your generator to work harder than usual but still produce less power output as compared to when it’s running efficiently. Yes, that’s right! This is because when your generator is overloaded, the engine tries to cater to the needs of all the connected appliances equally. Unfortunately, this decreases engine performance and eventually causes permanent damage to the engine of your generator. In addition to this, it is also very costly taking the generator to specialists to repair the damage done to the engine.

Therefore, you should seek professional help immediately you see your generator having a drop in power output. This is because if you continue using your generator in this state it will cause permanent damage to the engine.

Soot in the exhaust

It is pretty normal for the exhaust of your generator to be dark as there is usually build-up of carbon particles in the exhaust. However, if there is soot in your exhaust then that’s a clear indicator that your generator has been overloaded. There are a number of other causes of soot building up on the exhaust such as bad filtering therefore, you should call a specialist to check your generator immediately you notice soot.

The fans turn on in order to cool the engine and enable it to run at its normal engine temperatures. However, you should switch off the generator and call a professional if the generator still overheats when the fans are on.
Reduction in power
You should disconnect some of the appliances that you had plugged into the generator, then restart the generator.
Soot in the exhaust
After you have sorted out overloading the generator, you should clean the inside the exhaust by using a clean cloth and a hard bristled brush. You could also use a degreaser to remove the carbon deposits.

Consequences of an overloaded generator

It may cause a fire

Overloading causes the engine temperatures of your generator to rise which eventually leads to overheating. Well, the fans usually go on once the engine temperatures become too high however, they stop being effective after some time. This can cause the engine of the generator to blow and catch fire. In addition to this, there can also be a possibility of an explosion if your generator is close to a gas tank.

For sure, if a fire or an explosion occurs in your premises it will lead you to incur great losses. This is because you will not only have to replace the generator, but also to fix any damaged property that will have been affected by the explosion.

Causes damage to your electrical appliances

This is also another major consequence for using an overloaded generator for a long period of time. An overloaded generator may damage all the appliances that have been plugged to it as it is the main power source for the appliances when there is a blackout. Unfortunately, this will also make you incur losses. This is because you will be required to either replace or fix all the electrical appliances that have been damaged by the overloaded generator.

Reduces the service life of your generator

When the generator is overloaded, its engine usually works harder than it’s supposed to which makes its internals to wear out faster than they should. In addition to this, the engine temperatures are always higher than the recommended engine temperatures which may make the alternator to burn out.


As you have seen, there are a number of signs that indicate your generator may be overloaded. Therefore, if you see any of these signs you should reduce the number of appliances that you have plugged to the generator and call a professional to check the condition of your generator.


What causes my generator to overload?

This usually happens when you plug in too many appliances to the generator. You should always ensure that you plug in the recommended maximum number of appliances in order for your generator to run smoothly throughout.

Can I be able to save the engine of my generator even after it has overheated?

Yes, you can be able to save it if you find out soon enough that it was overheating. Once you find out this, you should call a professional to check its condition and sort out the issue that made it overheat.