Stink Bugs Cause Power Failure.
Protect your customers now.
We had a recent call for an inspection on a whole house generator that failed to operate properly. Sometimes these things happen, however what was abnormal about this call, was the reason for the failure. STINK BUGS! Yes, those nasty, prehistoric looking bugs with the hard shell, caused a generator to fail.
Brown Marmorated Stink Bugs are an invasive species of bugs native to Asia, that were accidentally introduced in the United States in 1998. They quickly established themselves as a season-long pest in U.S. orchards and U.S. homes. Many of us has found the stink bugs creeping along our windowsills and doorways, looking for easy entry into a warm place to spend the cold weather months.
One unlucky customer found out the hard way that stink bugs will find their way into just about anywhere. The customer thought she was protected from a potential power outage with the purchase of a whole house generator. But, when her neighborhood recently lost power, she was more than surprised that the generator failed to kick on.
After calling her trusted electrician, it was discovered that an infestation of stink bugs had infiltrated the generator. With a standby generator and a loss of power, a magnet flips to make the connection and power is restored. The failure in this instance, the bugs that were nesting in the generator, prevented contact with the transfer switch. Even though the heat generated essentially fried the stink bugs, their hard shells stayed in-tact enough to prevent the connection from being made. Thus power was never restored to the house from the generator.
The electrician called the manufacturer, and they had heard of an infestation of lady bugs causing transfer switch failures. Generac suggested a few tips to ensure your customer’s don’t experience the same type of problems:
1) Caulk around the openings where the cabled wire enters the
box of the generator.
2) All generators should be periodically inspected and cleaned as part of a good maintenance program.
3) Stink bugs and the area they are found should be
vacuumed, and the bag thrown away.
The homeowner questioned why the weekly power test did not warn of the impending problem. The reason being is the test mode turns the generator on, however the transfer switch doesn’t engage unless there is a true loss of power. Had the power outage happened during the warmer months, the generator may have worked as designed, since the bugs tend to move out during the warm summer months.