Generator Season is Here – Are You Prepared?

Bloomfield Cooling Generac GeneratorWhether it’s a hurricane or tropical storm, blizzard or ice storm, major weather events wreak havoc due to flooding, downed trees and power lines. For homeowners with a reliable standby generator, power outages present less of a problem. That said, it’s critical that you perform regular generator maintenance and have your fall maintenance done on your HVAC system so the equipment works as expected during the coming months.

Last month, we reminded readers to run the generator’s self-test. There are also minor maintenance operations you should do, such as keeping the area around the unit free of debris and checking the oil level (when the unit is not running); keep it as close to full as possible (but don’t overfill it).

Beyond that, full preventive maintenance should be done yearly or twice a year, depending on the environmental conditions and how often the generator runs. This routine maintenance should be performed by a certified technician, to ensure everything is properly checked and corrected, and to maintain your unit’s warranty.

Preventive generator maintenance
Your HVAC/generator contractor will check the air system, engine starting system, and transfer switch operation and controls. It is crucial that the tech checks the starter (battery and charger) and transfer switch, since these two items help power the unit. Obviously, if they are not working, neither will the generator. In addition, the technician should replace, clean and/or visually inspect the:

  • Air filters
  • Oil & oil filter
  • Spark plugs & spark wires
  • Battery terminals & cables
  • Air intake & exhaust system
  • Fuel lines & hoses
  • Voltage input & electrical connections
  • Vibration & insulation conditions
  • Control board operation

Depending on the make and model of your standby generator, there may be other preventive maintenance actions required.

To make it easy for you to get your standby generator checked, Bloomfield Cooling, Heating & Electric is running a special of just $225 for your generator maintenance. We are an authorized Generac dealer but service multiple makes of standby generators. If you have not yet installed a new generator, Bloomfield Cooling, Heating & Electric also offers 12-month interest-free financing for those who qualify, on installations of new generators as well as HVAC systems.

Fall HVAC system maintenance
Before you know it, it will be time to turn on (and keep on) the heat. Is your central HVAC system ready for winter?

Homeowners are advised to perform some simple routine maintenance checks every month to help keep their HVAC system running properly. These include checking and changing out the air filters if they are dirty or clogged, keeping vents clean and free of dust, and making sure the outdoor compressors are free of debris (leaves, sticks, dirt, etc.)

The technician should go through a comprehensive checklist of your heating system to check filters and inspect electrical switches, belts, contacts, motors, safety switches, gas pressure, and refrigerant levels. At Bloomfield Cooling, Heating & Electric, our certified technicians will take care of any components that need replacing, alert you to any potential issues, and make recommendations for remedial steps to take. Our team services forced hot air systems as well as steam boilers and hot water boilers. You can read more about our various maintenance plans and services for your heating and air conditioning systems here.

Don’t wait for the leaves to fall to get your HVAC system or standby generator checked out and properly maintained—when the storm hits or the temperatures drop, you’ll want to know with confidence that your equipment will run as expected. Contact Bloomfield Cooling, Heating & Electric at (973) 237-0505 or info@bloomfieldcooling.com to set up your maintenance appointment.

Keep Your Standby Generator Standing By 24/7

Running the self-test is an important part of your generator’s maintenance plan

Standby generators are the gold standard for emergency electrical power for your home or small business. When there’s an outage, the generator kicks in automatically and provides service for hours or days, energizing your fridge, phone and all your essentials. It will do the job whenever you need it—if you do your job to maintain it properly.

Once a standby generator is permanently installed in your yard, it will last a long time if well-maintained, potentially 20 years or more. The self-testing feature is a primary reason these generators are so reliable.

How self-testing works
Each week, the standby generator turns itself on for about 10 minutes, based on a programmed schedule. The day and time can be set from the control board, and for convenience, your installer can program your unit to run self-tests weekly, bi-weekly or monthly.

The Generac11kW Home Backup Generator, WiFi enabled. Photo, Generac Power Systems, Inc.Any problem that’s detected is read by a remote indoor monitor that transmits data to your maintenance team, who will determine if your generator needs service.

Also important: the test charges the 12-volt car battery the generator uses so it’s ready to go the moment a blackout occurs.

Is it noisy?
Most generators are relatively quiet during the self-test, like a car idling in your driveway. Some of the best standby generators on the market, like the Generac Guardian series, have recently been enhanced to further lower the decibel level.

Be sure to listen for and monitor the results of these exercises. You can also read the display inside your generator to gather all the data points from the last test run. Another simple visual inspection: check the external indicator light, which should be green if it’s running properly. Red indicates an operating problem and requires a service visit by a certified technician to keep the warranty intact.

Remote access to data
If you’re away from home, don’t worry. The Generac Guardian series and other top-of-the-line generators have remote Wi-Fi monitoring capability. Weekly data results can be transmitted to a smartphone, tablet, or PC.

“Our customers can check the status of their generators even when they’re at work or on vacation,” notes Mike DeJoseph, owner of Bloomfield Cooling, Heating, & Electric, Inc. “If they get an alert that their generator is running when it shouldn’t, or if there’s an operational problem, they can contact us right away so we can check out the issue.”

Maintenance to-do list

  • Monitor oil levels monthly, or more when the generator is running for longer periods of time; be sure the breaker and unit are off before pulling out the dipstick. Oil levels are key to maintaining the warranty.
  • Keep the area around the unit clear and easily accessible, especially near the intake and exhaust areas. The generator needs air to work properly. Leaves, snow, or nesting birds and animals can all interfere with operation.

Scheduled inspections
A factory certified technician should fully inspect your generator annually or more depending on usage and more extreme weather. Make sure the installer or contractor has a comprehensive checklist for your specific unit which includes:

  • Starters and alternators
  • Transfer switch operation and controls (detects service interruption and disconnects your house from the utility)
  • Air (intake and exhaust, filter replacement)
  • Electrical connections and voltage input
  • Fuel lines and hoses
  • Oil and oil filter (change at least twice a year)
  • Load testing (to verify overall reliability to run at full kW output)

For ultimate peace of mind, Bloomfield Cooling, Heating, & Electric, Inc. offers a preventive maintenance contract, which ensures inspections are done correctly, thoroughly, and on time. We are a factory authorized dealer for Generac and offer certified service for Generac and Honeywell generators, the industry’s leading brands. Your work is always performed by certified technicians from a multiple-award-winning HVAC company.

Check our website to read about standby generator and our latest generator maintenance specials; then call us at (973) 237-0505 to set up your appointment or for more information.