Archive for November, 2012

Simple Generator Maintenance Can make the Difference

November 8, 2012

Storm season is back and plenty of generator interest comes with it. Most recently this past October Sandy caused massive destruction and left thousands without power, many still yet to have it turned back on well over a week later. For those that had prepared for the worst by purchasing a generator you may very well have gotten through the outage without any problem. For others just purchasing the generator and having it there is not enough because when they went to start it nothing happened. Consumers may not realize how vital it is to properly maintain and service their generators so they are assured proper function when it is called upon. We received many calls throughout the storm and days afterwards of generators not starting or failing during the power outage.

Many of our customers that had installed a Kohler whole house automatic generator got to see the benefits first hand during this last storm. Of course Kohler has the added advantage of a weekly/bi-weekly test cycle that makes sure its ready when it’s needed. In fact many of our installations include an added feature of the “OnCue” monitoring software allowing both the customer and ourselves to see if there is any issues during its test cycle, and emails are sent each time the utility power was lost and the back-up power took over. Each one of our installations also include the first year of service within the cost of the job. Too many people do not realize how important some simple maintenance services on the generator will keep them from having a failure to start when it’s needed most. At Caron Electric our customers do not have to worry about these sorts of things because of our yearly service maintenance contracts assuring a working generator each and every time.

So what do I mean by simple generator maintenance you ask. Well first off as a consumer you must understand that a generator is just like a big motor for your home. Would you drive around in your car for a year or more without checking its oil levels or replacing your filters as required by the manufacturer? Well a generator is no different and requires that you service it to assure its stays operating at its best performance. These things include oil, oil and fuel filters, spark plugs, battery and heater to name a few. Being that any one of those can cause a problem with the proper operation of the generator it is a must that you stay on a schedule. As I am most familiar with the Kohler product line I will talk about that, Kohler recommends once a year or every 100 hours for service. Kohler units have a run time odometer so you can see how many hours of operation has been logged on it. Different generator manufacturers may have similar requirements on the time interval or hours on the unit or exactly what should be checked and replaced during the service but all require this type of care to guarantee it in good working order.

During the last storm we saw everything from batteries that had gone dead, heaters that had malfunctioned, oil levels that were not maintained, all of these things resulted in generator failure for the customer. Getting somebody out for a service or repair during these busy times cost the consumer more then the annual service would have to start with. For example Caron Electric charges an annual service maintenance contract of $395 and you don’t have to remember as it’s on an automatic service rotation. While many of the repairs, service and replacement part installations cost over $500 during the storm and days after because of the emergency nature and quick response time necessary. Add in the extra loss of time at work to be at home, food that would spoil, and the unhappy family members that came with the outage and you have certainly exceeded the value of a simple service maintenance to your generator.

So if you have a generator and you are considering yourself covered for the next storm or power outage time to reconsider. Ask yourself when was the last time it was serviced? If you don’t know start a log and keep it updated in your kitchen drawer or another place of safe keeping. This is good not only for your generator but any vital piece of equipment in your home from the boiler to furnace, air conditioning system, etc. If you have a Kohler brand generator and are living in Massachusetts you can even sign up for the yearly maintenance through Caron Electric…I will be glad to hear from you. Remember you made the right decision getting back-up power for your home, don’t make a bad decision and let it go unattended.