Checking for Fuel or Oil Issues in Your Generator

Three technicians installing generator outside residential home

Commercial and residential generators are a valuable investment that can keep your family or business safe during a power outage. Occasionally, however, you may notice something unusual with your standby power source, such as leaking generator oil. Here, Corbin Electrical Services, Inc. offers insights into possible issues related to fuel or oil that may occur in your home’s backup generator.

What Is A Standby Generator?

A standby generator, also known as a backup generator, is a type of emergency equipment that can be placed at a residential home or a commercial property. These units are installed outside your home or business, and they automatically turn on when there is a power outage. Standby generators can use several different fuel sources to generate electrical power, such as propane, diesel, or natural gas.

When the power goes out in your home, an automatic transfer switch signals the standby generator to start up immediately. Generators can be a worthwhile investment for anyone, but they are especially valuable for people who need to refrigerate their medications or businesses that rely on electrical equipment. The benefits of having a standby generator include:

  • Protection from voltage fluctuations after power is restored
  • Continued power for crucial appliances and electronics
  • Possibility for reduced home insurance premiums

Because backup generators connect directly to a home or commercial building’s fuel source, they don’t require portable fuel or need to be refilled. However, standby generators do require regular maintenance, and from time to time they may require replacement parts or repairs.

Signs There May Be An Issue With Your Generator

Just like any type of equipment, standby generators require occasional inspection and maintenance to run at peak performance. If your generator is slow to start up or stops working entirely, look for these telltale signs that it needs repairs:

  • Grinding or humming noises
  • Unusual odors
  • Frayed or broken wires
  • Corrosion or other external damage
  • Leaking oil or other liquids

Fuel Oil Generator Issues

If you smell fuel oil or notice your generator leaking oil, there could be a few different culprits. You may need maintenance or repairs on the following parts:

Fuel Lines

A fuel leak is often caused by damaged fuel lines. Over time, normal wear and tear and temperature fluctuations can cause your fuel lines to crack or tear. If a fuel line is intact, the source of the leak may simply be a loose coupler.

Fuel Tank

Corrosion, punctures, or minor cracks in your fuel tank can cause it to leak. If your tank is overfilled, it can also be a fire hazard. Thus, fuel tanks should be inspected regularly to catch small issues before they turn into costly repairs.

Air Filter

In general, you should replace your generator’s air filter at least once a year. Some filters can be cleaned and reused, so be sure to check with your technician first. If you see your generator leaking fuel from the air filter, it’s possible that the generator’s oil tank is overfilled or you have a clogged or faulty valve. This may cause oil to leak out and coat the filter.


In some cases, the liquid leaking from your generator is coolant, not fuel oil. Coolant circulates throughout your standby generator to keep its engine from overheating. If the coolant is low because of a leak, it may trigger a sensor that prevents your generator from starting up.

Maintenance Recommendations for Residential Generators

Some homeowners have the expertise to perform routine generator maintenance tasks themselves. But if you notice your generator leaking fuel, it’s best to call on a professional. An experienced and licensed technician can inspect your standby generator, determine the root cause of the problem, and take the necessary precautions to prevent further damage to the unit. Once they have identified the source of the leak, they can repair any damaged parts and offer recommendations for preventive maintenance to minimize the risk of future damage to your unit.

Contact Corbin Electrical Services, Inc.

If you need help troubleshooting issues with your standby generator or notice leaking generator oil, turn to the specialists at Corbin Electrical Services, Inc. Located in Marlboro, New Jersey, Corbin Electrical Services, Inc. serves residential and commercial customers throughout NJ. Our clients count on our experienced technicians for generator maintenance and repairs, including:

  • Replacing filters
  • Changing engine oil
  • Checking coolant levels
  • Testing ventilation systems
  • Inspecting air filters and other essential components
  • Cleaning and tightening connections and couplers

For more information about generator installation and maintenance services, schedule an appointment or contact us today.

Corbin Electrical Services – “We Generate Peace of Mind”