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We perform full service solar installations. We find ways to lower your electrical consumption through the use of energy efficient lighting like LED bulbs, and energy efficient appliances. We measure that savings so we can reduce the size of your solar array. This can save you thousands of dollars, as well as increase the return on your investment.

Alternative Power & Electric is a private company established in 1982 and is locally owned and operated. We perform work in many market segments including residential service, multi-family, commercial, retail, medical, laboratory, industrial and educational facilities.

We are a team orientated, learning organization. We seek out and attract some of the most talented electricians and management personnel in the industry. A commitment to employee growth and training provides a high level of expertise and service for our clients.

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Why Is Generator Maintenance Important?

Generator Maintenance

You may have heard that you should be performing maintenance tasks on your generator at least once a year. Maybe you have fallen behind and forgotten about your generator for a few years. You may be wondering why generator maintenance is so important. Keep reading to find out the benefits to performing generator maintenance tasks.

1. Keeps your generator running when you need it most

You most likely have a generator on your property to use in the event of an unexpected power outage. Of course, you want your generator to be working when you need it most. When the power goes out unexpectedly, that is the last time you would want to find out there is an issue with your generator. If you perform generator maintenance tasks you will ensure that your generator will run when you need it.

2. Prevents fuel problems

Without proper maintenance generators are more susceptible to fuel problems like algae build up on the fuel system, clogged fuel injectors, and dead batteries. These types of problems can even ruin your generator itself if they are let go for too long.

3. Saves you money in the long run

Although ignoring generator maintenance may save you a few bucks in the short-term, if you ignore maintenance for too long you will end up with costly repairs in the long run. You might even have to replace your whole generator unit.

4. Keeps your generator running for longer

A generator can be a large expense, and one you don’t want to make too often. By keeping your generator properly maintained you will be able to keep your generator running smoothly for longer than if you ignored maintenance tasks.

5. Increases efficiency

If you do have to run your generator, of course you would want it to run efficiently as possible. Generator maintenance tasks help your generator to reach its highest efficient potential.

Overall, generator maintenance will help to keep your generator in mint condition for years to come. This in turn, will save you time and money.

 

http://electricaltestingsolutions.com/index.php/articles/41-why-is-generator-maintenance-important

10 Quick Tips for Generator Maintenance

As with any piece of equipment that provides power to other tools, the only time one seems to notice a generator is when it’s not working. Generators get thrown around, beaten, and abused, yet they’re always expected to work with one pull. Even though they’re built for abuse, generators won’t last without some regular maintenance. Here are 10 basic tips to keep your generator energized for each job:

1. DON’T BE FOILED BY OIL
Check the oil before each use. If it’s a new generator, change the oil after the first 20 hours of use to remove assembly lube and metallic particles created during the break-in period. Otherwise, change the oil every 100 hours or sooner if operating in dirty conditions.

2. DON’T RIDE DIRTY
Dirty fuel is a result of improper storage or refilling tanks in dusty conditions. To prevent this problem, store fuel in an OSHA-approved receptacle and keep out of high-traffic areas. Also, don’t refill in windy conditions where dust is more prevalent.

3. CLEAR THE AIR
Check the condition of the air filter daily and clean when necessary. Regardless of how dirty it is, clean the filter every 100 hours and change it monthly.

4. KEEP IT CLEAN
Cleaning the engine removes potentially harmful dirt and gives the operator a chance to spot service concerns. Never use a pressure washer as it could cause more harm than good. Instead, use an air supply to blow off any dust and a clean rag with degreaser to wipe off excess dirt and grease.

5. ON THE LOOKOUT FOR LEAKS
Once the equipment is clean and dry, check for any or oil leakage. If a leak is spotted, tighten the parts causing the leak or replace them immediately.

6. HANG TIGHT
Cleaning the engine will also help reveal any obvious damage and loose parts. Take time to tighten loose parts that could vibrate and potentially harm nearby components.

7. DON’T LOSE THAT SPARK
Inspect the spark plugs every 100 hours for damage, oil residue, and excessive carbon buildup. If residue or carbon buildup is found, clean with a wire brush or spark plug cleaner. Immediately replace any plugs that have cracked porcelain.

8. AVOID STRAINER STRAIN
Clean and inspect the fuel strainer located in the fill port of the fuel tank every month. If there is sediment in the fuel strainer, clean and return, or replace if torn.

9. ANNUAL INSPECTION
On an annual basis, take the time to conduct a general inspection of the generator looking for any dirty, broken, or misaligned parts. Furthermore, check the fuel hose each year and replace if there are cracks present.

10. STORE IT PROPERLY
If the generator won’t be used for more than 30 days and the user does not plan to use it for an extended period of time, take special steps to protect the engine. First, conduct all suggested daily maintenance items. Then, remove the battery, clean the posts, and ensure it’s fully charged. Next, drain the fuel from the fuel tank and carburetor float chamber. To prevent corrosion in the cylinder bore, remove the spark plug and inject a few drops of oil through the plug hole. Gently pull the recoil starter knob two or three times before the spark plug is placed back in the plug hole. Additionally, pull the recoil starter knob until resistance is felt and leave in that position. End the process with a final cleaning, ensuring that all cooling air slots and openings are unobstructed. Place a protective cover around the generator and store it in a dry place.

Exercise the generator every 2 months if gas or oil is present in the engine. If the generator will be stored for longer periods, drain the oil and gas from the carburetor, put oil in the cylinder and pull until resistance is felt.

About The Author:
Dale Gabrielse is in sales and marketing at Subaru Industrial Power Products. For more information about generators, visit www.subarupower.com.

 

http://www.mcsmag.com/10-quick-tips-generator-maintenance/

5 Tips for Portable Generator Maintenance

By  | Portable Generator Product Expert

You’re probably already familiar with the handiness and versatility of a portable generator.

But are you making sure its versatility and power will be readily available when you need it?

Maintenance is a very important part of owning a portable generator. Not properly maintaining your portable generator could lead to hard starting and inefficiency.

So follow these 5 portable generator maintenance tips to ensure that your backup power source stays reliable.

1.) Fresh Oil Helps
As with any small-engine power equipment, changing the oil is a major factor in maintaining reliability.Change the Oil The majority of new generators need their first oil change to be done after just 30 hours of use.

After the first oil change is completed, future oil changes only need to be done every 100 hours of use, or every season at the very least.

To be prepared for unexpected extended power outages, stock up on oil, oil filters, and even gas.

2.) Plugs & Filters
Plugs and FiltersWithout a way to breathe and a way to ignite the gas in the cylinders of the engine, your generator would be useless.

Change your spark plug and air filter every 200 hours of use, or at least once at the start of each season.

Having a new spark plug paired with a clean air filter will assure proper fuel-air mixture, helping the engine to run more efficiently and extending the lifespan of your generator.

3.) Store It on an Empty Tank
Fuel StabilizerIf you’re planning on putting your generator away in storage for longer than a month, be sure to drain the fuel from the tank.

Start by adding quality gas stabilizer to the fuel in your tank, then run the unit for about 15 minutes.

Let the engine cool down, then start and run the engine until it runs out of gas and shuts down. If there’s a lot of gas left in the tank, you can use a siphon. Just be sure the siphon is non-conductive, to avoid generating static electricity in the tank.

4.) Charge the Battery
Battery ChargeNot all portable generators will have a battery, but those that feature electric start should be fully charged before storing.

If you can, plug the battery into a trickle charger to keep it fresh and ready when you need it.

5.) Train in the Off-Season
While these storage tips make a world of difference, it’s always best to start your generator every 30 days and allow it to run for a few minutes.

Doing so will help keep components lubricated by circulating the oil throughout the engine.

 

https://www.electricgeneratorsdirect.com/stories/1205-How-to-Maintain-a-Portable-Generator-in-5-Easy-Steps.html

Generator Maintenance Tips

Tip 1: Don’t get burned by wattage ratings

Generator Maintenance Tips

Watts are not all equal

Ignore the higher rating and select a generator based on its “rated,” “running” or “continuous” watts.

Every generator lists two capacity ratings. The first is “rated” or “continuous” watts. That’s the maximum power the generator will put out on an extended basis. And it’s the only rating you should rely on when buying a generator. The higher “maximum” or “starting” rating refers to how much extra power the generator can put out for a few seconds when an electric motor—like the one in your fridge or furnace—starts up. If you buy a generator based on the higher rating and think you can run it at that level, think again. It will work for a little while. But by the end of the day, your new generator will be a molten mass of yard art, and you’ll be out shopping for a replacement.

Tip 2: Stock up on oil and filters

Generator Maintenance Tips

Keep your generator humming

Pumping out watts is hard on engine oil, and oil-change intervals are short. Store up enough oil and filters to get you through a long power outage.

Most new generators need their first oil change after just 25 hours. Beyond that, you’ll have to dump the old stuff and refill every 50 or 60 hours. So you need to store up enough oil and factory filters to last a few days (at least!). Running around town searching for the right oil and filter is the last thing you want to be doing right after a big storm.

Tip 3: Chill out before you refill

Generator Maintenance Tips

A headlight helps for tank filling

After the engine cools, strap on an LED head lamp so you can actually see what you’re doing. Pour slowly and avoid filling the tank to the brim.

Generator fuel tanks are always on top of the engine so they can “gravity-feed” gas to the carburetor. But that setup can quickly turn into a disaster if you spill gas when refueling a hot generator. Think about it—spilled gas on a hot engine, and you’re standing there holding a gas can. Talk about an inferno! It’s no wonder generators (and owners) go up in flames every year from that mistake. You can survive without power for a measly 15 minutes, so let the engine cool before you pour. Spilling is especially likely if you refill at night without a flashlight.

Tip 4: Running out of gas can cost you

Some generators, especially low-cost models, can be damaged by running out of gas. They keep putting out power while coming to a stop, and the electrical load in your house drains the magnetic field from the generator coils. When you restart, the generator will run fine, but it won’t generate power. You’ll have to haul it into a repair shop, where you’ll pay about $40 to reenergize the generator coils. So keep the tank filled and always remove the electrical load before you shut down.

Tip 5: Old fuel is your worst enemy

Generator Maintenance Tips

Out with the old

Empty the tank with a hand pump before running the carburetor dry. Reload with fresh gas next time you run the generator.

Stale fuel is the No. 1 cause of generator starting problems. Manufacturers advise adding fuel stabilizer to the gas to minimize fuel breakdown, varnish and gum buildup. But it’s no guarantee against problems. Repair shops recommend emptying the fuel tank and the carburetor once you’re past storm season. If your carburetor has a drain, wait for the engine to cool before draining. If not, empty the tank and then run the generator until it’s out of gas. Always use fresh, stabilized gas in your generator.

Tip 6: Backfeeding kills

Generator Maintenance Tips

Don’t backfeed! It’s just plain dangerous

Forget about using a double-ended cord to run power backward into a receptacle. Instead, run separate extension cords or install a transfer switch.

The Internet is full of articles explaining how to “backfeed” power into your home’s wiring system with a “dual male-ended” extension cord. Some of our Field Editors have even admitted trying it (we’ll reprimand them). But backfeeding is illegal—and for good reason. It can (and does) kill family members, neighbors and power company linemen every year. In other words, it’s a terrible idea. If you really want to avoid running extension cords around your house, pony up for a transfer switch ($300). Then pay an electrician about $1,000 to install it. That’s the only safe alternative to multiple extension cords. Period.

Tip 7: Store gasoline safely

Generator Maintenance Tips

A better gas can means less spillage

The trigger valve on this gas can gives you total control over the fill. There’s a separate refill opening so you never have to remove the spout.

Most local residential fire codes limit how much gasoline you can store in your home or attached garage (usually 10 gallons or less). So you may be tempted to buy one large gas can to cut down on refill runs. Don’t. There’s no way you can pour 60 lbs. of gas without spilling. Plus, most generator tanks don’t hold that much, so you increase your chances of overfilling. Instead, buy two high-quality 5-gallon cans. While you’re at it, consider spending more for a high-quality steel gas can with a trigger control valve (Justrite No. 7250130; through our affiliation with amazon.com).

Tip 8: Lock it down

Generator Maintenance Tips

Stop crooks and prevent shocks

Protect yourself from accidental electrocution by connecting the generator to a grounding rod. Then secure the unit to the eyebolt with a hardened steel chain and heavy-duty padlock.

The only thing worse than the rumbling sound of an engine outside your bedroom window is the sound of silence after someone steals your expensive generator. Combine security and electrical safety by digging a hole and sinking a grounding rod and an eye bolt in concrete. Encase the whole thing in 4-in. ABS or PVC drainpipe, with a screw-on cleanout fitting. Spray-paint the lid green so it blends in with your lawn. If you don’t want to sink a permanent concrete pier, at least screw in ground anchors (four anchors; No. WI652775; from globalindustrial.com) to secure the chain.

Tip 9: Use a heavy-duty cord

Generator Maintenance Tips

Long cords let you get some sleep

Invest in some long extension cords to put some distance between you and the noisy generator. But don’t exceed 100 ft. between the generator and appliances.

Generators are loud, so most people park them as far away from the house as possible. (Be considerate of your neighbors, though.) That’s OK as long as you use heavy-duty 12-gauge cords and limit the run to 100 ft. Lighter cords or longer runs mean more voltage drop. And decreased voltage can cause premature appliance motor burnout.

More information available on our site:

  • Storms do more than cause power outages. Search for “disasters” and check out our prevention tips.
  • Small-engine frustration? Search for “start up tips” and get running.
  • Survive any weather in a reinforced room. Search for “storm shelter.”

Real World Advice From Our Field Editors

Exercise your generator
“I start my generator up every three months as recommended by the manufacturer and let it run for about 20 minutes to charge the battery for my electric starter.”
Larry Meacham

Build a generator garage
“For a portable generator, we poured a small concrete pad and basically built a doghouse over the unit that is hinged to the pad. It worked better than a blue tarp.”
Al Cecil

A door for cords
“Most people run extension cords into the house through an open window or door. But our fireplace has a small cleanout door on the outside, so I run extension cords through it.”
Charles Crocker

Unplug the freezer
“Freezers and fridges are power hogs. But you can disconnect them from your generator and free up power for other stuff. First, turn the temperature settings way down. When they reach the lower temperature, unplug them and don’t open their doors unless you have to. They’ll act like coolers and stay cold for a long time. Freezers usually will keep food frozen about 24 hours. During that time, the generator is free to power tools or your big-screen TV.”
Rick Granger

Required Tools for this Project

Have the necessary tools for this DIY project lined up before you start—you’ll save time and frustration.

  • Adjustable wrench
  • Posthole digger
  • Sledgehammer

Required Materials for this Project

Avoid last-minute shopping trips by having all your materials ready ahead of time. Here’s a list.

  • 4-in. plastic pipe with cleanout fitting and screw lid
  • 5-gallon gas cans, 2
  • Chain and lock
  • Concrete, 2 sacks
  • Fuel stabilizer
  • Ground wire connector
  • Grounding rod
  • Heavy-duty 12 gauge cords
  • Large eyebolt
  • Oil
  • Oil filters

 

https://www.familyhandyman.com/smart-homeowner/generator-maintenance-tips/view-all/

Top 7 Generator Maintenance Tips

By Dorit Sasson

A generator can last for decades but it needs proper maintenance. Just like it’s important to eat healthy and exercise, a generator also needs maintenance to prevent it from breaking down. The better the maintenance, the longer your generator will function without the need for extensive repairs, which can translate into serious cash from purchasing expensive parts or even replacing the whole unit. Read on for seven top maintenance tips to ensure that your electrical generator is safe and ready to go when the power runs out.

Purchase a warranty or backup generator

This may seem pretty self-explanatory, but investing in a warranty might be the best thing to protect yourself when power runs out as generators aren’t cheap. Get to know the coverage; it might be full or partial. Investing in a back-up generator can also help control your home insurance costs as well.

Invest in a cover or an enclosure

Electricity is susceptible to water and the slightest rainfall might damage a part that might cost a pretty penny. Depending on whether your generator is a standby model or portable, you’ll want to invest in either a cover or an enclosure. Another suggestion is to build a generator garage similar to that of a doghouse for a portable generator.

Prevent motor burn-out

Use heavy-duty cords for less voltage use which can also prevent premature burn-out. Lighter cords increase the voltage. And since generators are noisy, you might be better off investing in a longer cord for uninterrupted sleep.

Power up your generator every three months

Manufacturers recommend running generators every three months for about 30 minutes to charge the battery for the electric starter. The last thing you’ll want is to discover that your electric starter isn’t working in time of need.

Fill up your tank

Avoid damaging your generator by keeping your tank filled with gas. When a generator runs out of gas, they stop power while the electrical load in your home will suck the magnetic field from the generator itself.

Keep oil and filters plentiful

The last thing you want to be doing is shopping for a new oil or filter during a long power outage, so keep a supply of oil and filters.


Do your homework

You don’t want to purchase a generator that will exceed the maximum capacity that your generator is able to put out. Be sure to read the ratings before buying a generator — there’s the higher “maximum” or “starting” rating or the “rated” or “continuous” watts. If you buy a generator for the higher power level, it will only work for a short time and at that level. But at the end of the day, that generator won’t extend its running capacity, and off you’ll be — running to find a new generator.

As you can see, a generator can be a lifesaver in times of prolonged periods of power outages. And when you take care of your generator, it gives you and your family the right peace of mind.

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/dorit-sasson/top-7-generator-maintenance-tips_b_9292748.html

Energy Savings at Home

Maintenance Checklist

Maintain your equipment to prevent future problems and unwanted costs. Keep your cooling and heating system at peak performance by having a contractor do annual pre-season check-ups. Contractors get busy once summer and winter come, so it’s best to check the cooling system in the spring and the heating system in the fall. To remember, you might plan the check-ups around the time changes in the spring and fall.

A typical maintenance check-up should include the following.

  • Check thermostat settings to ensure the cooling and heating system keeps you comfortable when you are home and saves energy while you are away.
  • Tighten all electrical connections and measure voltage and current on motors. Faulty electrical connections can cause unsafe operation of your system and reduce the life of major components.
  • Lubricate all moving parts. Parts that lack lubrication cause friction in motors and increases the amount of electricity you use.
  • Check and inspect the condensate drain in your central air conditioner, furnace and/or heat pump (when in cooling mode). A plugged drain can cause water damage in the house and affect indoor humidity levels.
  • Check controls of the system to ensure proper and safe operation. Check the starting cycle of the equipment to assure the system starts, operates, and shuts off properly.

Cooling Specific

  • Clean evaporator and condenser air conditioning coils. Dirty coils reduce the system’s ability to cool your home and cause the system to run longer, increasing energy costs and reducing the life of the equipment.
  • Check your central air conditioner’s refrigerant level and adjust if necessary. Too much or too little refrigerant will make your system less efficient increasing energy costs and reducing the life of the equipment.
  • Clean and adjust blower components to provide proper system airflow for greater comfort levels. Airflow problems can reduce your system’s efficiency by up to 15 percent.

Heating Specific

  • Check all gas (or oil) connections, gas pressure, burner combustion and heat exchanger. Improperly operating gas (or oil) connections are a fire hazard and can contribute to health problems. A dirty burner or cracked heat exchanger causes improper burner operation. Either can cause the equipment to operate less safely and efficiently.

Actions To Do Yourself

  • Inspect, clean, or change air filters once a month in your central air conditioner, furnace, and/or heat pump. Your contractor can show you how to do this. A dirty filter can increase energy costs and damage your equipment, leading to early failure.

https://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?c=heat_cool.pr_maintenance