What’s the True Cost of a Power Outage?

Did you know that power outages cost American households $150 billion annually with weather-related outages accounting for $25-$75 billion per year? Eight-seven percent of power outages are caused by severe weather.

New research from Johns Hopkins shows that New York City and other metro areas could see a 40 to 50 percent increase in power outages, due to the nation’s aging power grid and worsening weather patterns. Emergency backup power is essential for homeowners to prevent destruction. Generators provide power to run necessary household items and can save homeowners from spending thousands of dollars on home repairs.

Respondents of a Briggs & Stratton survey reported the following common costs during a power outage:

  • 40% had to replace spoiled food
  • 29% incurred costs for emergency supply purchases to protect their home and family during the power outage (including candles, flashlights, firewood, etc.)
  • 16% invested in a portable generator
  • 13% lost wages from having to take time off work
  • 11% reported property damage
  • 8% reported having to pay for a hotel room during the power outage

Other research reported the following costly repairs:

  • $10K – burst or frozen pipes
  • $21K – flooded finished basement
  • $30K-$300K – mold remediation/removal
  • $250-$500 – spoiled food
  • $110/night (average) – alternative shelter (hotel stay)

Not only do power outages cause a major inconvenience, but they can also impact your funds, especially if you are not prepared. Owning a generator can give you peace of mind during a blackout. Contact us today to learn how you can protect your home with the proper backup power during a storm, whether it is with a portable generator or an automatic standby generator.

 

Photo Credit: www.popularmechanics.com

Photo Credit: www.popularmechanics.com

Resource:

http://greathurricaneblowout.org/kohlersweeps/pdf/The_Cost_of_Power_Outages_Infographic.pdf

Avoid the Dangers of a Winter Power Outage

With temperatures in the single digits and predictions of snow in the weather forecast, owning a generator during the winter season can keep you and your family warm and safe during a winter power outage. If your power goes out, your automatic backup generator will turn on immediately, keeping your lights and heat on during the storm. Here are some other ways you can protect your home with a generator:

  • Ice, snow and freezing rain can often cause hazardous traveling conditions for you as well as emergency responders and utility companies. You could experience a long delay if you call them for help during bad weather. Your generator helps you prepare for emergencies in advance by providing you with power to run necessary appliances to keep your home and family safe and protected before the snow starts.
  • A generator can also help you avoid the risk of frozen pipes, which may occur when the heat goes out. A frozen pipe can cause water damage in your home and lead to costly repairs. It can also cut off your access to running water.
  • A generator eliminates the risks of carbon monoxide poisoning and fires that can occur with kerosene heaters and other items that people use as alternative ways to heat their home.
  • There isn’t a need to worry about spoiled food when you have backup power available. You won’t have to throw out your groceries or worry about becoming ill from spoiled food. Your refrigerator and food will be safe!

Automatic standby generators are an important investment for your home. Avoid the inconvenience and weatherproof your home in advance. Contact us today to find out how a generator can make a difference in keeping you and your family safe during this cold and snowy winter season and beyond.

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Fall in Line with Your Generator Maintenance

fall season

From the colorful leaves on the trees to the crisp mornings and chilly nights, the fall season is officially here and that means winter is soon to follow.

As the temperature drops, you’ll want to make sure your home is prepared for the colder months. You may have experienced power outages in the summer, but harsh winter weather can also cause a blackout, leaving you stuck at home without electricity. The fall season is the perfect time to ensure that your generator is ready. Start preparing your generator today for the cold weather, freezing temperatures and snow guaranteed to come in the near future.

fall generator

If you do own a generator, you may notice that your generator may have a difficult time starting and running during cold weather. Get your generator ready during the fall season with these maintenance tips below:

  • You may spend some time raking leaves and cleaning your yard, but make sure to clear all leaves from around your automatic generator. The accumulation of snow, leaves and other debris must not be allowed to obstruct the air flow into or the exhaust out of the generator enclosure.  Obstruction of proper air flow can cause overheating and shutdown the generator.
  • Stay on top of the scheduled maintenance and keep an extra quart of oil on hand.
  • Contact us for cold weather accessories.
    • Engine Crankcase Warmer – the thermostatically controlled 40 watt heater maintains optimal engine oil temperature for more reliable generator starting in extreme cold conditions. It also reduces wear & tear on the starter, by promoting faster and easier engine starting.
    • Engine Crankcase Warmer and Battery Warmer (Cold weather kit) – a thermostatically controlled 50 watt battery warmer maintains optimal battery temperature along with the crankcase warmer described above, help ensure easier and more reliable generator starting in extreme cold conditions.

You don’t want to wait until a winter storm hits to find out you’re not prepared. A standby generator is convenient and will give you peace of mind knowing that you’ll still have heat and electricity if the power goes out. If you need a generator installed or you have maintenance questions, give us a call.

 

 

 

Exercising Your Generator for Peak Performance

Automatic Standby Generator

Automatic Standby Generator

Your generator needs to exercise, just as we do, to perform at optimum levels! The question is, do you know how much exercise is best for your automatic standby or portable Generac generator?

Fortunately, automatic standby generators are programmed to do their own “exercise” and maintain top operating condition. Most Generac generators operate for 12 minutes each week, except the 2015 and newer 16/20/22kW models operate for 5 minutes. All 2015 and newer models have a user selectable exercise cycle – weekly, bi-weekly or monthly.

Which days are best to exercise my automatic standby generator?
We recommend generator owners schedule the exercise for a time when they are at home, allowing them to witness the operation of their generator and gain peace of mind. From a practical standpoint, it is best to schedule the exercise time on Sunday through Thursday. In the event the generator needs service, it can be performed the following workday, without incurring overtime charges on a Saturday or Sunday.

What if I have a Generac portable generator?
Portable generator owners should manually operate their generator each season, to maintain their generator in top operating condition. Generac recommends draining the fuel from the tank and running the carburetor dry. As an alternative, you can add a fuel stabilizer to prevent stale fuel issues.

Contact Saturn Electrical Services at 630-980-0300 for service and maintenance of your Generac generator.

How You Can Maintain Your Home Standby Generator

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Did you know that a generator’s required maintenance is the replacement of the engine oil, oil filter and a complete tune-up at every 200 hours or 2 years, (or whichever occurs first)? Staying on top of your generator’s maintenance can help you prepare for power outages and guarantee a longer operating life span.

Here are some essential requirements to remember about your maintenance plan.

Oil

It’s important to change your standby generator’s oil on a regular basis. To perform an oil change, empty the old oil and replace it with 2 quarts of new oil (don’t forget to replace your old, dirty oil filter). We use a full-synthetic, 5W-30, All-Season automotive oil for all Generac generators we service. Generac recommends checking the oil level monthly and every 24 hours of continuous operation.
Spark Plugs
It’s time to change out your old spark plugs for new ones after a year of use. Installing the new spark plugs can ensure that your generator runs smoothly.

Air Filter

Replacing the air filter is a really easy step in your generator maintenance plan. A new air filter will help your generator perform at full capacity during the next power outage.

A Standby Generator Maintenance Checklist

*ASNE recommends the following checklist to help homeowners maintain their standby generators:

Weekly Maintenance

  • Run the generator (typically no-load, automatic transfer switch exercise cycle).
  • Verify that the unit ran and has no alarms or warnings.
  • Ensure adequate fuel levels.
  • Ensure that the generator is in “Auto” mode.
  • Check that the circuit breaker is closed.
  • Make sure there are no fluid leaks.

Monthly Maintenance

  • Check engine coolant level.
  • Check engine oil level.
  • Check the battery charger.

Bi-Annual Maintenance 

  • Inspect the enclosure.
  • Check the battery electrolyte level and specific gravity.
  • Check battery cables and connections.
  • Inspect drive belts.
  • Inspect the coolant heater.
  • Check coolant lines and connections.
  • Check for oil leaks and inspect lubrication system hoses and connectors.
  • Check for fuel leaks and inspect fuel system hoses and connectors.
  • Inspect the exhaust system, muffler and exhaust pipe.
  • Check and clean air cleaner units.
  • Inspect air induction piping and connections.
  • Inspect the DC electrical system, control panel and accessories.
  • Inspect the AC wiring and accessories.

Annual Maintenance 

  • Change oil and filter.
  • Change the fuel filter.
  • Change the air filter.
  • Clean the crankcase breather.
  • Change spark plugs.
  • Check coolant concentration.
  • Flush the cooling system (as needed).
  • Perform load bank testing.
  • Fuel testing & reconditioning (diesel-fueled units only).
  • Remove water from fuel tank (diesel-fueled units only)

Call us today to schedule your bi-annual and annual maintenance with one of our certified technicians!

*This checklist was retrieved from http://www.asne.com/standby-generator-maintenance-prepared-power-outages/

Weatherproof Your Business

business

Does your business have a plan in place in case of a severe storm and power outage? Prepare in advance by developing a plan that ensures your business will still function during an emergency. Consumer’s Energy recommends that business owners implement the following tips to prepare their company for a storm:

1. Understand your businesses’ priorities following a power outage or disaster and make plans that address immediate, near-term and long-term needs and actions.

2. Develop plans to ensure critical business processes can continue during a power outage or emergency.

3. If you have equipment that cannot be disrupted even for short periods, such as a computer or sump pump, install a battery back-up system or generator.

4. When using a generator, make sure it is properly installed by a licensed electrician, for the safety of lineworkers and other emergency responders who may come near power lines. Never use your generator in a basement, breezeway, and attached garage or near any fresh-air intakes, windows or doors to prevent deadly carbon monoxide from entering your home or business.

5. Develop a communications plan for employees, customers and suppliers. Determine how you would serve your customers and coordinate with your employees and suppliers even if your facilities were closed or you cannot get to work.

6. Have adequate emergency supplies on hand, such as battery powered flashlights, radios, extra batteries and first aid kits.

7. Encourage your employees to be prepared at home.

 

Saturn Electrical Services can help you determine the right generator to weatherproof your business during a storm. Contact us today!

3 Reasons to Consider Mobile Link for Your Generator

mobile-link-hero

Picture this scenario:

You’re finally leaving for vacation and you’re so excited to finally have a chance to relax. You’re glad to know that you’ll be enjoying the beach by the time the weather turns in a few days. If a big storm hits back home, your generator should switch on, but how can you be sure?

One glance at Mobile Link tells you that your generator is running and protecting your home— even if the power goes out!

What is Mobile Link?

Mobile Link cellular remote monitoring lets you get and share information about your home standby generator no matter where you are, using your computer, smart phone, or mobile device. View your generator’s status and maintenance needs. Set its exercise schedule. Review its running and maintenance history. And get notified of status changes.

Mobile Link’s cellular-based technology offers significant advantages over existing alternatives:

1. Lowest cost of any cellular monitoring solution

During that long business meeting, you can check the stats of your Mobile Link monitor via a free smartphone app! This app tells you that your generator is ready to protect your family at home if the power goes out.

2. Cellular technology provides broad coverage nationwide
Because it sends data via cellular network, Mobile Link is easier to configure and more reliable than the Ethernet and telephone connections found in many competitive remote monitoring solutions. Best of all, the Mobile Link device can be installed in minutes.

3. Cellular network self-configuration eliminates complicated set-up and maintenance
It’s super easy to set up the Mobile Link app on your cell phone or tablet to get specific, accurate data on the status of your generator. Simply select which notifications you wish to receive and how often you would like to receive them. Finally, you can opt to send maintenance alerts to your dealer so they can provide professional support, as needed.

Don’t forget your parents and the elderly!
You can designate up to 4 different accounts to receive email and text notifications, which is a great way to stay in contact with older parents or elderly loved ones.  Contact Saturn Electrical Services to have Mobile Link installed on your generator.

Keeping Your Business Safe: It’s All About Location

flooded basement

Having a backup generator for power during a utility outage is essential for your business. A standby generator can help to keep the lights on and electrical equipment up and running. You can help to protect your business by making sure that your generator is safe from damage and is maintained so that it can function properly during and after the storm.

If there is a threat of a strong storm or natural disaster, it is important to protect it from flooding and water damage. Standby generators that are located in the basement and ground-floor levels may be at risk for failure if there is a flood because of the rising water. If your business is located in an area that floods easily, it is also recommended to make sure that the generator set and its control systems are elevated above the highest expected flood level.

Your generator should be kept dry. We can help you keep your business’ generator safe and protected during a flood. Here are some of our recommendations:

  1. Prevent ground water from rainstorms and flooding from submersing your generator and causing damage. When ground water is a threat, use plastic sheeting and sand bags to create a water barrier. A small sump pump with an integral float switch can be used to remove water from the containment area surrounding your generator.
  2. When flooding is a real concern, we can elevate the generator above grade to minimize the threat of water damage.
  3. When uncontrolled ground water rises above the black base frame of your generator; place generator in the “off” mode to prevent operation while submersed. Water entering the alternator section can cause significant damage.

Contact us for flood prevention options for your generator.

Choosing the Right Generator

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The summer season is  a great time to invest in a generator for your home. Buying a generator for the first time may be overwhelming, and homeowners often ask us if they should purchase an automatic standby generator or a portable generator?

Before you make a decision and invest in a generator, determine the priorities for you and your family. For example, if your first priority is having backup household power in instances such as a storm, you will want to opt for an automatic standby generator. The American Red Cross recommends permanently installed standby generators as a safer way to provide backup power to a home than a portable generator.

If you and your family go on camping trips frequently or if you want a generator for basic home use, you may find that portable generators can come in handy. However, we recommend automatic standby generators, especially during storms and utility power outages, because they have the following advantages:

  • They start automatically within seconds of a power outage, and eliminate the need to haul a portable generator outside or run extension cords throughout your home.
  • If you are away from home, you don’t have to worry. They provide protection 24/7, and they turn themselves off when utility power returns, so there is no need to monitor the unit during an outage.
  • With an automatic standby generator properly installed outside, your building is protected from deadly carbon monoxide poisoning that is a much greater risk with portable generators.

Contact us today to find out how an automatic standby generator can be a great investment for your home during the summer season.

 

 

Safety First: How to Protect Your Home

Generator owners can find it reassuring to know they’ll have backup power in case of an outage during a storm. They can use their portable generators to power essential equipment such as portable heating units, computers, water pumps, freezers, refrigerators and lighting. If you are using a portable generator for temporary power, you have to use caution and take the necessary safety measures. Portable generators can be dangerous if used improperly, which can lead to injury.

The National Safety Council recommends the following tips for safe generator use:

  • Read the manufacturer’s safety and operating manual before using your generator.
  • Never use a generator inside your home, garage, crawl space or other enclosed areas.
  • Only use your generator outdoors, away from open windows, vents or doors.
  • Use a battery-powered carbon monoxide detector in the area you are running a generator.
  • Allow the generator engine to cool at least 2 minutes before refueling and always use fresh gasoline. (Gasoline and its vapors are extremely flammable.)
  • Maintain your generator according to the manufacturer’s maintenance schedule for peak performance and safety.
  • Never operate the generator near combustible materials.
  • Use caution when touching your generator. Many areas become hot and can burn you.
  • Never leave your generator running when you are away from your home.
  • Check your generator regularly during operation.
  • Generators produce powerful voltage, so never operate under wet conditions.
  • Take precautions to protect your generator from exposure to rain and snow.

For more than 20 years, Saturn Electrical Services is your top-rated local expert for complete turnkey installations and reliable service of Generac generators. Your safety is our top priority. Contact us today for more information on how you can protect your home and family without any worry of power interruptions.

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