Safety Tips

When the Chief of Police calls for help!

"When you're in the generator business and the town's power goes out in the middle of a blizzard, you know the phone is going to ring," says Scott Matthews, general manager of NE Generator in Pembroke, MA, a town of 19,000 about an hour south of Boston. "But it isn't normally the Chief of Police asking for help!"


"The fuel pumps at the Department of Public Works (DPW) barn stopped working when the generator went down. Pembroke couldn't get plows, police vehicles or fire trucks on the road. This was February 2013, Winter Storm Nemo, with hurricane-force winds plus a blizzard. Two feet of snow in Boston. Some parts of New England were pounded with three feet. 700,000 were without power."


Matthews already deployed all NE Generator service technicians in a fleet of four-wheel drive vehicles, so he and another technician responded to DPW's call. Slowed by deep drifts, blinding snow and winds, and trapped by fallen trees, it took two hours to drive five miles across town.


"Relying on car headlights and flashlights," says Matthews, "we were able to get the old DPW generator running around 2:00 AM, so the emergency response could finally get underway."


The next day, Matthews got a call from the town's water department where another old generator failed. Not only was the town covered in snow with emergency response behind schedule, its ability to supply water was threatened. NE technicians again responded and helped keep the town's water flowing. The town of Pembroke trusts New England Generator to get the job done!


The lesson to Matthews was clear: "We're not really in the generator business - we're in the service business. We want to serve every customer with the kind of attention we gave the town, like a preferred customer."


We make things easy


The type of service requests that Matthews receives about KOHLER generators are "fantastically small" and that's why NE switched from another brand of residential generators and went exclusively KOHLER five years ago. "KOHLER is #1 in consumer reviews, and there's a good reason for that," says Matthews.


"Actually, most of our service calls are for other generator brands or deal with improper installation from an inexperienced electrician."


"Typically, homeowners work with authorized KOHLER Generator dealers like us to help determine which generator best fits their needs and determine the total cost by packaging the generator, transfer switch and installation together."


"However, some people try to save money and buy just the generator and automatic transfer switch from a big box store or over the internet, but they're just getting the product - they're not buying peace of mind."


"We understand why people choose that route, but they usually end up saving little or no money by hiring a third party to perform the installation. We often fix generators that were incorrectly installed at a home."


"Installing a standby generator isn't easy and it takes expertise to get it right. Most people don't know, for example, that home generators installed in cold climates need carburetor heaters, and a startup needs to be done by a KOHLER Generators certified technician to reinitiate warranty."


What about those calls NE Generator gets for a quick installation the day before a big storm is projected to hit? "Wish it were that simple," laughs Matthews, "we'd love to install 10 KOHLERs the day before every major storm! Unfortunately, while installation is usually just a day, getting the right permits and local clearance tacks on days."


Expanding our services


Now customers won't have to wait for NE Generator to get a KOHLER shipped, thanks to the new 16,000 sq. ft. headquarters in Pembroke, with room to stock 100 KOHLER home generators. NE Generator has also expanded its service territory with another location in Barnstable, about an hour east on Cape Cod. Not bad for a company that started out of a 12'x14' shed over 20 years ago.


"We're successful," says Matthews, "because we focus on providing superior service. As we say at NE Generator, if we don't take care of our customers, someone else will."


New England Generator is an authorized KOHLER Generators dealer serving the New England area since 2005. We specialize in the sale, installation, and service of Kohler residential standby generators. Our mission statement is simply that, "If You Don't Take Care of the Customer, Someone Else Will." With that simple process we are able to grow bigger by serving better !


"Don't Be Left In The Dark"

December 30, 2020 6:18 AM

3 Easy, Affordable and Smart Tips on How to Prepare for Extreme Weather

June is National Hurricane Preparedness Month and the start of the summer storm season. Severe summer weather can strike anytime, anywhere, so homeowners are urged to be prepared. Being proactive is key when faced with an emergency situation and having a plan can reduce the effects of the disaster.


Having access to things like clean food and water is a top priority during an emergency; however, power outages are becoming more frequent due to extreme weather conditions and an aging electrical grid. Some power outages can last for days or weeks, which can have a devastating impact on quality of life and can increase the amount of damage to your home. Insured losses due to natural disasters in the United States in 2014 totaled $15.3 billion according to the Insurance Information Institute. Weather related power outages cost 25 billion to 70 billion per year according to the US Department of Energy.

Here's how to make your home #HurricaneStrong in 3 easy steps:

  1. Create a family disaster plan so everyone knows what to do if severe weather hits. Details like how to evacuate your home; where to meet; and how to communicate are key.
  2. Prepare a home emergency kit. Your kit should include basics like bottled water, non-perishable foods, necessary medications, first aid supplies, a battery-operated radio with extra batteries, and flashlight.
  3. Install a backup generator to protect vital systems in your home. Some homes are being built "generator ready" and there are also new more compact-sized, affordable standby generators that are ideal for urban living or situations requiring less power. Which is right for you?

Share your preparedness tips, photos and videos with #HurricaneStrong on Facebook or Twitter to join the conversation.

December 29, 2020 11:52 AM

Emergency Preparedness Tip: The best $25 you can spend

Almost every person we talk to about enduring an extended power outage says it: "The first thing we ran out of was water."


A lack of water can quickly escalate from thirst to a laundry list of physical discomforts. And severe dehydration can lead to a serious medical emergency, especially for children and older adults. Plus, water is needed for food preparation and is critical to maintaining hygiene.


How much water?


The American Red Cross recommends stocking an emergency pantry with a minimum of three gallons of water per person - that is, one gallon per person, each day for three days.


For a family of four, that's twelve gallons minimum. Plus, many experts say you should stock another two gallons of water per person for three days of cooking, cleaning up and personal hygiene. That's another eight gallons for a family of four - a total of 20 gallons for just three days. More if you have pets.


Other sources recommend storing enough water for a week, or even two weeks, especially if you live in remote areas! Well, that makes some sense: after all more water is better and some power outages from recent storms have lasted a full week, sometimes two.


The practical solution.


So a family of four needs to stock a good 20 gallons of water, or perhaps double or triple more for protection against a long outage. That may make you think "big," but unless we're talking about off-the-grid living, suggestions about 55-gallon drums of treated water are generally overkill. Even those five-gallon jugs of water like those in an office water cooler are fairly impractical - they weigh about 40 pounds each!


Being prepared is simpler than that. The practical approach to buying and storing water for an emergency is as close as your grocery store and those one-gallon jugs that take up a whole aisle. Let's say you've decided that you want to stock enough water for drinking, cooking and cleaning to support your family of four for three days - about 20 gallons. If the outage is longer than that, you'll restock water or visit relatives until power is restored.


What will 20 gallons of water cost you? Not much - prices vary widely, but water is cheap. My local grocery store sells a gallon jug of drinking water for between 89¢ and $1.69. So twenty gallons of water will cost just $18-$34. If I bring my own empty jug, they'll refill it for 39¢ - or less than $8 for 20 gallons.


Is stored water safe?


Yes. And actually, all the discussion about frequently rotating stored water is, arguably, overthinking things. The Department of Homeland Security suggests rotating stored water every six to twelve months. But for all practical purposes, commercially bottled water should remain safe for years. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration says that unopened, commercially bottled water stored in a dark, dry, cool place like a basement or closet will remain safe indefinitely. Source


Some bottled waters will display an expiration or best-if-used-by date. Those are actually the byproduct of a 1997 New Jersey state law requiring all food products to display an expiration date on the label of not more than two years from the date of manufacture. To avoid different labels and distribution just for New Jersey, many regional and national water producers started giving all water a two-year expiration date.


Can you just store your own tap water in plastic jugs? Many do, but the savings are minimal and the safety of your water will hinge on the obvious: is your jug clean at the bacterial level? It's safer to buy commercially bottled jugs and leave them unopened.


While stored water is safe, that's not to say that water that's been sitting in a plastic jug for a year is necessarily going to taste great. For quality purposes, it's best to rotate your water by simply replacing a jug or two every month. What to do with the water? Drink it!


With hurricane season now officially "open," consider Tropical Storm Andrea's recent bruising of Florida, Georgia and the Carolinas as fair warning: the time to stockpile water (and your emergency pantry) and safeguard your family is now!

December 23, 2020 6:18 AM

7 Winter Weather Power Outage Safety Tips

With major snowstorms like Winter Storm Jonas, homeowners are reminded to keep preparedness top of mind. KOHLER Generators has put together a list of expert tips to help homeowners prepare for possible power outages.


Power Outage Safety Tips
  1. Turn off major appliances such as water heaters, stoves and air conditioning units. Unplug other appliances such as TVs, stereos, microwaves and computers. This will prevent damage to appliances and possible overloads to the system when power is restored.
  2. Leave one light on so you will be able to see when power is restored to your home.
  3. Have a battery-operated or weather radio, multiple flashlights and a battery-operated clock and fan, along with extra batteries.
  4. Stay away from fallen wires, flooded areas and debris. Treat all down wires and anything touching them as though they have electricity running through it.
  5. Familiarize yourself with your main electrical panel. You may have to turn off the main breaker or have to reset circuit breakers after an outage.
  6. Inspect the area around your electricity meter. If you detect or suspect any damage, call your local utility provider.
  7. Look into a standby generator that turns on automatically when power is lost to your home. A standby generator permanently attaches to a home and runs on propane or natural gas. Depending upon the size, a standby generator can automatically power all appliances and systems in a home, including lights, HVAC, sump pump, refrigeration and electronics.


To find a local KOHLER dealer near you, enter your ZIP code here.

December 15, 2020 6:18 AM

Spring Weather Can Bring on a Flood of Problems

Spring is here and even with the mild winter in many areas of the country, most of us look forward to this time of year. Before you get too excited, I just want to remind homeowners that Spring weather can also bring along basement flooding in many areas of the country. Between snow melt, April showers, and high ground water tables, your basement can be subject to water damage. Water entering a basement from outside the foundation is usually caused by one of the "Three G's" - Gutters, Grading, or Ground water.


Here's how to control your Three G's:

  • Gutters - Make sure to extend your downspouts at least four feet away from your home, to carry water away from the foundation.
  • Grading - Make sure the area directly around your home slopes at least one inch per foot, so surface water does not flow towards your home.
  • Ground water - Install a basement sump pump system to pump out any ground water before it reaches your basement flood level.


Final note: Keeping electrical power on in your home is key in getting through Spring weather events. Installing a standby generator system can also be a good investment as your last line of defense. Standby generators are permanently installed, and turn on automatically. Now sump pumps, dehumidifiers, and fans can operate even if power is lost during a severe Spring storm.


Ed Del Grande is a three-time Master Plumber, GBCI LEED green associate, and contractor.

December 14, 2020 6:18 AM