Generator Lifespans

Generators Don’t Last Forever

Even the highest quality generator will reach the end of its life eventually. Here’s why.

Generators are complex machines with an engine, alternator and computerized controls and mechanisms. Over time, these parts will wear out or fail due to age. Most generators are not replaced due to mechanical wear, but rather age and weathering from the environment.

Generators require regular service to prevent or reduce:

Rust and corrosion of steel parts in the fuel system, engine, frame and interior parts. A rust-free aluminum enclosure does not prevent internal rusting.
Hardening, cracking and failure or hoses, rubber parts, and plastics.
Failure of electronic components and inability to source replacement parts beyond 10+ years from date of manufacture.

Modern, air-cooled Generic-brand generators often last just 5-7 years before failures render them unreliable. Kohler and Cummins units routinely last over 12 years without replacement. This is not a guarantee, just a rule of thumb.

Modern liquid-cooled Generic-brand generators typically become unreliable after 5-7 years of service. Kohler and Cummins liquid-cooled units routinely last more than 15 years before replacement is necessary.

My last generator was really unreliable, Generic — I replaced it with a Kohler and smooth sailing.

-homeowner, Fort Myers FL

My neighbor has been through 3 Generic units in the last 5 years. My Cummins unit has never been a problem.

– homeowner, Pensacola FL

Customers are often surprised that a generator with only a few hundred hours of runtime needs to be replaced. “But it never runs!” is the common response. But running time is not the primary thing that causes a generator to get old and fail. Simple aging due to weather and moisture is the number on cause of failure for generator units, which is why age (not runtime) is the main driver of replacement.

Heritage Generator
A 20-year old unit installed by Tropical Generator is ready for replacement.

Tropical Generator is proud to have over 20 years experience. So much so, that some of the first generators we installed are now at end-of-life and need to be replaced. The unit shown here was installed in 2004 and was replaced early 2024 with a new, Kohler-brand unit.

Congratulations Doctor John H. and mother on 20 years of ownership!

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