I purchased a Briggs and Stratton 10kW emPower 40243 Home Standby Generator after the extended power outages that we faced last year with Irene, knowing that a long-term power outage will likely happen again. Finished with installation around December, when I set up the weekly diagnostics, put in brand new oil, all set to go.
Just a few days before Hurricane Sandy hit, I ran an automatic test just to make sure that my generator would be good to go before the storm hits. After disconnecting the house power, the engine would fire up as normal.. but then would shut itself down after 10 seconds of running. It would wait a few seconds, and do this again.
After five or six times of doing this, it came up with a Fault code FC_04. This basically means "Engine failed to start." Great. So now I go through all of the basic troubleshooting: complete shut off and test again (no luck), check oil levels (levels are good, oil is still clean), check air cleaner (still clean), etc. Still no go.
Of course, Hurricane Sandy came in like a beast, and knocked out my house power, and my B&S generator is not working. After being out of power for a few days, I was eventually able to get an official Briggs and Stratton installer in my area to come and take a look. After at least an hour on the phone with B&S tech support, and tearing apart the entire unit, they eventually discovered that the Stator and rotor went bad. Please note, this is a major component in the generator that basically helps in translating the motor movement to electricity. Because it was not providing power, the generator would automatically shut down.
In short, I have a lemon in my hands. Even though the replacement parts and labor are under warranty, this is like performing open heart surgery on a product that is less than a year old.
What bothered me the most was when I called Briggs and Stratton customer support myself, asking to see if there were any other routes that I could take, like get another unit to replace my complete dud. The person that I got on the phone was completely apathetic to my situation, and just repeated something off a script saying that I had no other options.
I would not consider myself a wealthy person, but I made a conscious decision to research and invest in a solution that theoretically should have helped me in a power outage scenario. Considering that I spent so much money to have this backup equipment installed for situations exactly like the past week, only to have the equipment fail on me, on top of the lack of consideration from customer support, really left a bad taste in my mouth. I have no other kind words for this company.