Five Preventative Maintenance Services for Your Backup Generator

Backup generators are necessary for most businesses in Florida. In addition to facilities where they are required, such as hospitals and nursing facilities, they are also common for retail and other commercial applications due to our prevalent hurricane seasons. With any luck, you won’t need to use your backup generator over the summer. However, it is important to keep up with preventative maintenance to ensure if you do need it, your backup generator is ready.

Below are the five services your technician will perform during regular preventative maintenance tune-ups for your generator:

  • General inspection – Prior to any maintenance service, your technician will perform a general inspection to look for mechanical issues in the exhaust, fuel, air intake, and other systems. Because backup generators are not typically in use, mechanical defects may develop over time without anyone noticing. An annual inspection and frequent tune-ups are therefore necessary to ensure that when you need your generator, it is in tip-top shape.
  • Lubrication – Just like any motor, lubrication is essential to ensure proper running. Because backup generators stay dormant for most of their service life, lubrication is essential to ensure the parts do not rust or stiffen over time. Your preventative maintenance will most likely include an oil change and lubrication of essential parts.
  • Check coolant level – Just like your HVAC system, your generator needs to be inspected to ensure it has proper coolant levels. During your inspections, your technician may top off the coolant and check the radiator for mechanical problems.
  • Check air intake and fuel service – The air intake and fuel systems can develop condensation over time, and need to be drained as well as checked for mechanical errors on a regular basis.
  • Electrical safety check – Your generator’s electrical system should be tested often and fully inspected annually to detect shorts, issues with the battery, and other potential issues. Electrical issues can not only leave you stranded in the event of an outage but can be just as dangerous as electrical problems within the facility itself.

Hurricane season isn’t over yet, which means it’s time to schedule your annual generator checkup if you haven’t already. To find out when and how to set up generator maintenance soon, contact your local MaintenX office.

Electrical Requirements for ADA Compliance

ADA compliance is an essential component of commercial building design. Even for businesses that are not required to follow ADA regulations, it is wise to factor in accessibility to ensure everyone who visits your business has a positive experience. While most business owners know that entrances and exits need to be ADA compliant, there are many other elements of your building design that also fall under these regulations.

Your electrical system is one such design element that has specific ADA requirements for any building that is intended for public use. Electrical components that are required to be accessible include:

  • Light switches
  • Electrical outlets
  • Thermostats
  • Environmental controls operated on a frequent basis

These components are required to be installed in an accessible location, meaning they are positioned at a height that does not require one to reach up or down in order to use one. They should also be placed in areas without obstructions either on the floor or near the walls. An example of a non-ADA compliant installation would be an outlet that is placed on the floor (not reachable from a forward direction) or one that is installed on a wall obstructed by a wide countertop).

Some of these controls are not covered under ADA requirements. For example, if a comparable control is installed in an accessible location, then a control in an inaccessible location is allowed. You can see this in outlet and light switch placement, where multiple controls may be installed to provide access for all.

Other controls that are not required to be ADA compliant include:

  • Circuit breakers
  • Outlets dedicated to individual appliances
  • Appliance controls (such as knobs on an oven, as these are part of appliance design)

Understanding these compliance issues can help you create a better business for all. If you are redesigning your electrical system, talk to MaintenX about accessibility standards and ways to make your electrical system better for your business overall. We offer preventative care and affordable installations to businesses across the U.S.

What is a self-performing facility maintenance team?

MaintenX has become one of the largest and most reputable facility maintenance teams in the nation, in part because of our self-performing maintenance technicians. Unlike traditional facility maintenance teams who employ workers under the corporate belt, we hire subcontractors who independently perform HVAC, plumbing, electrical, and roofing repair in 20 states across the U.S.

This is not the typical model, but it works well for us for many reasons. Below are some of the most frequently asked questions we receive about our self-performing subcontractor network, and what you can expect from your MaintenX team:

How does a self-performing maintenance service work?

MaintenX operates under a self-performing contractor format, in which our contractors handle service independently based on their own skills and availability. Unlike a traditional office, we allow our workers the freedom and flexibility to take on service requests as they are able to, while utilizing MaintenX training, equipment, and service vehicles. This cuts out the middleman and allows for an enriched work environment where quality service is the most important part of the job.

How do we keep track of work orders?

Once we receive a service request, we are able to track the progress of your request every step of the way. We ensure a team is dispatched in a reasonable time frame and will receive updates to ensure your service request is completed to your satisfaction. Using a state-of-the-art Work Order Inception Center, we can also provide customer service support for issues with work order management.

How do we ensure quality control of service?

With a self-performing maintenance team, you may wonder, “How do you know if your technicians are performing to your standards?” With our work order technology, we are able to track the performance of individual technicians and maintenance teams to compare performance against SLAs compliance and our own company KPIs. This gives you the peace of mind to know that no matter what team is sent to your door, they are performing to the MaintenX standard every time.

We believe that by empowering our maintenance team to do their best work, you can get the best service. To learn more about our self-performing contractor network and available MaintenX services in your area, contact us today!

The Best Backup Generator Brands for your Business

Choosing a backup generator for your business is an important part of designing your electrical system as a whole. The right backup generator or UPS system can help your business weather a storm, citywide power outage, or another natural disaster. If your company provides essential services such as food access, shelter, or medical care, you need to invest in a generator that can power you day or night.

MaintenX installs and provides preventative care for a variety of generator brands, but we recommend the best based on our clients’ individual needs and budgets. Below are some of the most common brands we recommend to clients for both small business and industrial needs:

Generac

Generac is the most popular generator brand for commercial applications. They offer a wide range of sizes, fuel options, and energy-efficient models to suit the need of every business and industrial site. Generac is the only brand on this list whose only focus is generators, so there’s no surprise that they provide some of the highest quality products on the market today.

Cummins

Cummins generators are focused on innovation to meet the ever-increasing demands of the commercial world. With most urban areas running 24/7, Cummins generators are made to power your business no matter what. Their signature Centrum series is also focused on energy efficiency and sustainability for the next generation of environmentally conscious generator brands.

Briggs and Straton

Briggs and Straton builds high-quality commercial generators for small businesses and office buildings. While not as large or powerful as some commercial generator brands, Briggs and Straton are ideal for the small business that wants to prepare for power outages on a reasonable budget.

Kubota

Kubota generators are top-notch backup and portable diesel generators that can be used for a wide range of industrial and commercial applications. The diesel engine provides plenty of power and is guaranteed to last you for years with minimal one-side maintenance required. If you’re looking for a reliable and compact generator for your small business, Kubota is the brand for you.

To learn more about backup generator brands and proper maintenance, contact your local MaintenX team today!

How to Design a Better Retail Experience for Your Customers

For boutiques and small retailers who don’t have the support of a franchise or corporation, retail design can be a very tricky process. You must capture brand image, proper inventory, and an overall pleasant customer experience within a very small space. The more carefully you craft the customer journey, the better your retail space has a chance of surviving in your market. However, this is a difficult challenge to overcome, especially for local shops and first-time business owners.

The storefront and interior design of your retail store must be both aesthetically pleasing and functional for employees and customers. Overall, the design of the space should:

  • Maximize inventory capacity within displays
  • Reduce expenses by streamlining retail operations
  • Improve the overall customer experience while building brand image

However, in order to achieve these goals, you must think carefully about the way in which you display, order, and store your products to ensure your customer journey is well-articulated. Below are just a few ways you can transform your retail space and make it the best possible for your industry:

Use a cross-merchandising strategy

When choosing display orders and product placement, be sure to group similar items in a logical manner. For example, if you own a small clothing boutique, group by brand, clothing item, and by items that will complement each other well in an outfit. Or, if you own a music store, place your accessories near top-selling instruments to ensure each player can find exactly what they need for their instrument of choice.

Choose the right product quantity for displays. 

Product quantity should be determined not only by space but by volume of sales and aesthetics of product displays. You want your retail space to look full without being overcrowded. It’s also important to display smaller, affordable products in larger quantities to make them appealing as impromptu purchases.

Invest in lighting and daily maintenance.

Regardless of how you design them, your displays will look much better with ample lighting in a clean, sanitized space. Dirty floors or flickering, old lights will make your retail space seem outdated even if the products you sell are high-quality. By presenting a clean and inviting space, you’ll make customers feel more at home.

MaintenX helps make retail spaces even better with our preventative care and cleaning services available in 20+ states. We ensure your business is running smoothly so you can focus on what matters – your customers. To learn more about our retail maintenance services, contact your local MaintenX team today!

Hiring a Handyman vs. a Contractor For Minor Repairs

Small businesses are always looking for ways to cut costs on operations. A more efficient piece of equipment, a simpler closing process, or a cheaper repair can all help toward keeping a burgeoning business afloat. However, there are some places where cost-cutting simply isn’t the best solution.

Hiring a handyman may be tempting if your facility needs a minor repair and they’re cheaper than calling in a specialist. A friend or your home handyman may be able to cut you a deal, but will that deal cost you in the long run when the repair doesn’t last?

There are some times when cheap maintenance service is the right decision and other times when it can lead to ongoing problems at your facility. Here’s how to tell which situation you’re in:

Does the service technically require licensing?

Some services – such as roofing repair, electrical maintenance, and plumbing renovation – require licensing to be legally provided by a company. If your service typically requires some sort of license to perform, you need to hire a contractor. This is especially important for commercial facilities as not hiring the right person may lead to troubles with your own permits and licensing.

Does it require special equipment?

Contractors invest in high-quality equipment to provide service that a handyman may not have on their truck. Even if the handyman is able to complete the repair, they may put themselves at risk or not be able to complete the service properly without this needed equipment.

Does the handyman list this service on their website or brochure?

Typically, a handyman will have a list of provided services that you can select from. If the service you’re looking for is not explicitly listed, you should look for a contractor to make sure the job is done right.

Was previous work done by a licensed contractor?

If you’re having trouble with your HVAC system and a previous contractor has already done work on the unit before, you should call a licensed contractor to finish the work, especially if you think something was done wrong. A handyman may not be able to accurately diagnose problems or work on a piece of equipment that has had previous faulty service. Prevent the problem from getting worse by hiring the right help.

MaintenX helps small businesses find affordable and quality work for HVAC, plumbing, electrical, and roofing repair across the U.S. If you need work done by a specialist, contact us to connect with the best subcontractor network in the U.S.

Installing Additional Outlets? Here’s What You Need To Know

As your business grows, so will your need for technology. Many smaller commercial buildings will inevitably run into problems keeping up with increased electrical demand. By adding more wall outlets, you can create a more functional office space, but there are several considerations to make before you begin the installation. 

Below are three tips to help you make the most of your outlet installation:

Install smart outlets. 

Smart outlets use less energy, can have USB adaptations, and can even be controlled by Bluetooth for electronics like speakers and smartphones. These will be the new standard in several years, so the sooner you upgrade, the better your facility will be positioned for advancements in the future. For the modern office space, smart outlets are a must. 

Choose the right placement. 

Electrical codes specify how far apart outlets need to be, but you are allowed to place them anywhere. Make sure outlets are convenient for any place that people congregate, especially in open floor plan office spaces. Floor outlets are also a great option to ensure plugs aren’t a tripping hazard in high-foot traffic areas. 

Replace old outlets as needed. 

While you’re adding new outlets, ask your electrician about replacing old outlets and wiring that are giving you trouble. Older outlets can have issues with the electrical load of modern appliances and may not work as efficiently as new ones. They can also pose electrical hazards if the wiring is older and beginning to wear. 

MaintenX works with top electrical professionals across the country to make your building renovations as simple as possible. If you’re interested in upgrading your electrical system with new outlets or other technologies, contact us today!

Ask An Electrician: Four Most Frequently Asked Questions

Becoming a commercial electrician is one of the most difficult paths to take in the maintenance service world. These professionals must complete years of training and classes to prepare for the large scope of commercial electrical work and safety. However, those that make it are the best of the best. They can help you lower your electric bill and ensure your facility is safe and high-performing all throughout the year. 

Below are some of the most frequently asked questions our electricians receive, and what they recommend for electrical maintenance best practices: 

How can I save energy at my facility?

Most people expect the answer to these questions will be to turn off lights or unplug devices while away. However, the biggest electrical drain in commercial facilities isn’t the lighting and appliances themselves, but the continued use of outdated options. Older appliances will use more energy than modern, energy-efficient ones, and will also cost you more than it will to replace them. If you really want to save money, upgrade your lighting and appliances to the most energy-efficient options on the market. 

Do I really need a backup generator?

The answer to this question depends on the type of business you have operating in your facility. If you have a medical center, grocery store, gas station, disaster shelter, or any other facility that is essential in an emergency, the answer is absolutely yes. However, if you’re operating an office building or small retail business that can close during power or weather emergencies, you can decide for yourself whether the cost of a backup generator is greater or less than the cost to close your business during emergencies. 

What electrical work can I do myself?

Generally, we don’t recommend business owners or property managers do any of their own electric work unless they are themselves a licensed contractor. Even small jobs can compromise your business license and permits if not done properly. Plus, electrical work can be dangerous, so working on it without the proper skill can put you and your employees in danger. 

Where can I find a commercial electrician?

Most commercial electricians work with a facility maintenance company to source jobs and handle communications between them and the client. This provides you with access not only to your area’s top electricians, but plumbers, HVAC techs, roofers, and other specialists. If you’re looking for a facility maintenance team that can handle all of your commercial work, talk to a local MaintenX team. 

MaintenX works with top electricians across the country to provide you best in class service day and night. To learn more about our electrical repair and installation services, contact your local MaintenX today!

Do I Need A Backup Generator For My Facility?

Backup generators are common investments for larger facilities such as medical centers and industrial warehouses. They can be a lifesaver in a storm or power outage when essential services and production times cannot wait. However, not every facility needs uninterruptable power, and not all need the same type of power in case of emergencies. 

 

If you’re looking to invest in a backup generator for your business, ask yourself these questions before making the purchase: 

 

Does my business provide essential services to the community?

If the answer is “Yes,” then you need to invest in a backup generator for your business. Essential services not only include medical and emergency response, but businesses like grocery stores, transportation, and home maintenance service providers. These services are essential in the aftermath of a storm that knocks everyone off the power grid, and your proximity to neighborhoods may be a lifesaver for someone in need. 

 

Does my business store critical information digitally or onsite? 

Power interruptions can cause interruptions to server systems and computers, which can be detrimental if you store critical business or customer information onsite. An uninterruptable power supply (UPS) system or backup generator can save your data and ensure you don’t lose your most valuable information in the event of a storm. 

 

Does my business provide shelter in the event of a storm?

Your business may be small enough that you would likely close in the event of a storm or power outage. However, having a backup generator can turn your business into a safe haven during a natural disaster. If you can provide shelter for employees and residents in your area, a backup generator is a wise investment. 

 

Does your business store food or other perishables?

If you store food, drinks, or other perishable goods at your facility, a backup generator is a must. Not only do you want to preserve your inventory, but coming back after several days to a rotting commercial kitchen is a mess nobody wants to clean up. A backup generator or UPS system that does not need to be monitored can save your facility from great losses.

 

A Backup generator can help almost any size business feel safer and more prepared in the event of a storm. Talk to your MaintenX team about backup generator or UPS installation, as well as the annual maintenance that goes into these systems.

Four Things Your Electrician Wants You To Stop Doing at Your Business

At MaintenX, we like to get to know our clients and provide them with as much hands-on knowledge as possible to make their maintenance programs run better. From DIY tips to advice on the latest equipment upgrades, we strive to arm our clients with information so they can do what they do best. However, there are several things we wish our clients wouldn’t do, especially when it comes to their electrical system. 

 

Below are four things your electrician wishes you wouldn’t do, and why these actions can pose a risk to your facility and yourself: 

 

Using loose electrical outlets. 

Loose outlets are not only impractical but are a potential fire hazard to your facility. An outlet that is loose can generate quite a lot of heat, which is incredibly dangerous. If any of your outlets are loose, replace them immediately before plugging into one. 

 

Overloading your circuit. 

Oftentimes, commercial facilities are loaded to the max with electrical appliances, which can easily lead to an overloaded circuit in older buildings. An overloaded circuit will cause issues with all of your electrical appliances and can lead to electrical safety hazards if modern fail-safes are not in place. If you notice flickering lights or a circuit tripping frequently, contact your electrician to talk about upgrading. 

 

Ignoring electrical issues in the restroom. 

Water conducts electricity very well, which is why electrical components in a bathroom can be risky. If you notice exposed wires or a loose outlet, contact your MaintenX electrician immediately. Electrocutions can cause severe and debilitating injuries, so don’t take this hazard lightly. 

 

Doing electrical repairs yourself. 

Some maintenance tasks you don’t have to outsource – painting the walls, snaking a drain, and cleaning your gutters are all simple tasks for you or your onsite janitorial staff to handle. However, all electrical repairs should be done by a licensed electrician, no matter how small. Electrical repairs are dangerous if not done correctly. It is much better to pay for a professional than to risk your safety and health over a few saved dollars. 

 

MaintenX offers affordable, fast electrical repair for businesses across the U.S. If you’d like to learn more or hire a licensed electrician in your area, give your local MaintenX a call today!