By Jeff Stelmack
When the lights go out, there is no better feeling than the security provided when your standby generator starts up and restores power to your home or
business. Owners purchase a generator for a variety of reasons, whether it is convenience, to back up a business, to run well pumps, or for life safety concerns. Whatever the reason, it is important that an owner feels confident that when the power fails, their generator will operate as intended. Much like a car, a standby generator requires maintenance, and upkeep to ensure it is working at peak performance when you need it the most.
Yearly maintenance agreements
More and more homeowners and businesses are installing generators and seeking companies to maintain them. When storms roll through and cause massive power outages, the demand for service on generators is extremely high. If you have had your generator maintained as part of a regular routine maintenance plan, the chances that it will work for you during an outage arehigh; if you have a problem, however, you will find that companies provide priority service to those customers who have existing maintenance agreements. It's not that companies don't want new business, but it is important to ensure the satisfaction of the loyal customer base a company has already established. Becoming part of that customer base before an extended power outage is the best way to ensure prompt service.
Keep your ears open
One of the easiest ways to identify potential problems with your generator before there is a power outage is by monitoring the weekly exercise. Most
standby generators have a programmable exercise timer, where the generator starts and runs for 15 to 20 minutes per week. It is important to know your
scheduled exercise time, and what the generator sounds like during normal operation. If you are not at home during the exercise time, you can also check the hour meter and make sure it has advanced each week. Our technicians are happy to provide operator training so you know what to look for. If you notice that the generator has not exercised, a service call can help return it to normal operation before the power goes out.
Look for qualified generator service companies
Servicing generators is a profession that is constantly evolving and proper training is needed to keep up with industry changes. South Shore Generator, for example, currently employs 14 full-time generator technicians, who are factory trained in residential, large industrial, marine, portable and mobile generator applications. Don't be afraid to ask which factories a company represents and which they are qualified to provide
warranty repairs for.
Don't forget about your automatic transfer switch
The automatic transfer switch, commonly referred to as the ATS, is often the brains of the operation when it comes to a standby generator system.
The ATS is what senses when normal power fails, signals the generator to start, and transfers the facility load to generator power. It is important to have your service company conduct a simulated power outage during your maintenance, or after repairs, to ensure the ATS and generator are both working
Investing in a generator is the first step in providing security and peace of mind for your home or business. It is important to remember that once you purchase a generator, you can help make sure it is going to work for you when you need it the most. Proper maintenance, monitoring for weekly
exercise and familiarizing yourself with the owner's manual are all important steps toward protecting your investment. Don't wait until you need service in an emergency to look for a service company — yearly maintenance agreements are a great way to move yourself to the top of the priority list.
Jeff Stelmack is Service Manager for South Shore Generator. He can be reached at 888-339-4248 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Source: Health & Wealth edition of Cape & Plymouth Magazine