At NETR, we highly recommend Generac generators, and in this podcast, we talk about why. These generators offer high quality, great warranties, and other features. Newer models also offer remote monitoring so that you can check on your generator from anywhere.
John Maher: Hi, I’m John Maher. I’m here today with Brett Rogenski, General Manager of N.E.T.R. Inc, a residential and commercial HVAC contractor in Massachusetts. Welcome, Brett.
Brett Rogenski: Hey, thank you very much, John. I appreciate it.
John: Sure. And our special guest today is Jay Spanks of Green Mountain Electric Supply, the largest Generac generator distributor in the Northeast. Welcome, Jay.
Jay Spanks: Thanks, John. It’s great to be here.
John: Yeah. So Jay, today we’re talking a little bit about the Generac generator difference and how Generac is a little bit different from some of the other generator manufacturers out there. What different types of generators does Generac manufacture?
Jay: So Generac has portable generators. They have home standbys from smaller units to larger units and also have commercial and industrial size generators. So they cover a very wide spectrum of what the customer’s needs are.
John: Okay. And what are some of the benefits of installing and using a Generac whole home generator or you called it a home standby generator as opposed to another brand?
Jay: Well, so there’s a few different angles for that. So one, there’s name recognition. Generac has been around for a very long time. Everything is manufactured right in Wisconsin, so it’s American made, which is always good. But this is all they do, so there’s no split company of partially making this, making that. They focus everything on home safety and business safety.
So there is no backup plan. This is their bread and butter. And Generac has always stood out in the industry because of the longevity of their company, the way they service their customers, and the quality of their product. If you have a Generac next to 90% of other manufacturers, you see the difference in one, how it’s made, the quality of the exterior, I guess the quality of the motor. It’s well made. It’s made for the long haul. It’s meant to be your last generator.
Brett: It’s industrial commercial grade. The thing is, it’s not a light duty and a heavy duty option out there.
Jay: Yeah, it’s not something that you’re going to find in Harbor Freight, Harbor Freight Tools. It’s not going to be something off brand. It’s Generac. This is the best in the industry and that’s why they’ve lasted as long as they have.
John: And what type of maintenance is required for Generac generators to continue to operate at peak performance?
Brett: Sure. So Generac, number one, requires to keep their warranty intact, an annual maintenance by a certified Generac provider. So for instance, here at N.E.T.R., technicians are certified as well as our electricians are certified to maintain Generac generators. And the reason they require that certification is so they don’t just have some Joe down the street coming in, slapping some oil in and telling you that it’s been serviced. So there’s a multi-point inspection both for service and safety that we perform on an annual basis to ensure that that’s working at peak performance and of course is perfectly safe.
One of the other things that they require, why would you want it as a homeowner is peace of mind. So just like your car, you change the oil every 5,000 miles or 10,000 miles depending on what type of oil you run. You get your tires rotated, well that’s so that you don’t break down beside the road. So you get your Generac generator serviced annually by a certified provider to ensure that it’s ready to go when you need it.
Because yeah, the truth of the matter is this thing’s going to sit idle through much of the year, and then we’re going to have a severe storm or set of storms. That’s when you need it. Okay? You don’t need it when it’s sunny in July and the power’s just fine. You need it after a hurricane comes through and you don’t have power for three days and if you didn’t do that maintenance, you run a much higher risk of perhaps something’s wrong, clogged filter or fouled spark plug, something like that, that we would’ve caught during your service and replaced.
And instead you’re there with three feet of snow on you and a generator that won’t run, and we don’t want that for you. So it’s really small incremental service to ensure that you have full capacity and full use of that when you need it the most.
John: Do you know offhand what some of the things are that your technicians look at during that multi-point inspection other than changing the oil like you said?
Brett: Sure. Well, a couple that come to my mind and then Jay, I’m sure, has some that he can throw in. But yeah, we are changing the oil, we are changing the air filter in it. We are running it through a test cycle as well where it’s actually telling us what the voltage outputs are, et cetera. We are inspecting the spark plug while we’re there. Gosh, what else Jay? I’m trying to think what else there is.
Jay: That’s a pretty good checklist.
Brett: Yeah, it is. Yeah, so we’re putting it through its full paces and again, doing things like checking that voltage output. Frankly, most guys could walk up, not most guys, but a lot of people could walk up and change the oil in it. How do they know that the voltage output is correct?
We also put it through, if it’s tied to an auto switch, we go through that entire scenario so that then it powers, we’re making sure that battery is fully charged, and then that it’s going through the auto switch and converting the house over to the generator’s power automatically without any intervention.
If it’s a manual switch, we test that as well. There are some folks who typically on some of the smaller generators still have a manual switch where they then go down into their basement and they choose to go to generator power, which is fine, but we test all those components. We basically test it from fuel to power, if you will, for your home. So hit everything in between.
John: Right, basically put it through a scenario where if the power goes out, make sure that it goes on automatically and that sort of thing, so like you said, if the real event happens, it’s going to work.
Brett: Yeah, it’s a full function test and then obviously we’re replacing those things that wear out, that are consumables, filters and oil and all that. You guys got something to-
Jay: And Brett actually brought up a very good point is that all of his technicians are certified. So you can have somebody that can come out and offer to install the generator. One, they’re not going to have the factory training that N.E.T.R. has. So they’ve been trained by Generac, so it’s as if a Generac employee is out on the field doing the maintenance for you, doing the install, which not only helps with your warranty, but also helps to make sure everything is done thoroughly and done correctly.
This is why we, as far as a distributor, like to make sure that we partner with contractors that installs much like Brett and his team, because they go through every point, which then keeps extending the warranty, but also make sure that you get the full life of your generator, make sure everything’s done properly, make sure that when the storm comes and the powers out, everything runs nice and smooth. So that’s why it’s very important to make sure that you have a factory certified installer.
Brett: I appreciate that. That’s a great point. Just like we don’t like to meet people under bad circumstances.
Jay: Unfortunately, it does happen.
Brett: It does. But yeah, we want Mr. Smith to do his maintenance and we’re going to work with him with a maintenance plan, but mostly because I want that generator that he invested in to work how he wants it, when he wants it, when he needs it. I don’t want him to have to call us when there’s three feet of snow on the ground and he hasn’t had power for two days because he didn’t maintain it for three years ahead of time. So we don’t want that. We want people to enjoy what we provide for them. We wanted to do exactly what it should.
John: Jay, what are some innovations or new products from Generac that people should be aware of?
Jay: So the biggest thing right now is the Mobile Link unit. So that helps you with monitoring and it’s actually right into the system, so if something happens or something gets triggered, something fails, it automatically goes right to your phone. So no matter where you are, if something happens, you do get notified right away.
So that’s actually the biggest one. So when people… Somebody’s on vacation and there’s a storm that’s at their house and they’re down in Florida, they’re still going to get notified that something may be wrong and then they can reach out to N.E.T.R. because their units are outside. They can go there and they take care of it so your vacation doesn’t get interrupted. Nothing in your life is thrown off rails, if you will. So that’s definitely the biggest thing right now that’s coming to the industry that’s been helping a lot.
John: I say that’s probably the biggest thing right now.
Brett: Yeah, I would say that’s the biggest innovation and the one that makes it the most convenient for customers because as Jay said, yeah, someone, “Hey, maybe I’m a snowbird and I’m in Del Boca Vista for the winter. And that’s great, I’m going to get notified that that generator is running. So great, big storm comes into the greater Boston area. I’m getting notified that it’s running and just as, or more importantly, I’m getting notified if there’s a problem and that thing goes into shutdown.”
And to Jay’s point, if you have a service plan with us, or even if you don’t, we’ll call and help you. But if you have a service plan with us, it’s always the easiest path. You call us and tell us that your generator has gone offline, we’re going to get a technician there as soon as it’s safe to have a technician be there during that storm and he’s going to address whatever the challenge is.
So you’re not going to find out from your neighbor a week afterwards that your generator stopped working and pipes are frozen. Yeah, you’re going to know about it in real time and be able to notify us in real time so that we can come help before it ever gets to that unfortunate situation.
John: Right. And to that point, Brett, you have heating and cooling systems that you can install for folks as well that also have a sort of Mobile Link aspect to it as well, if you will, where people can control their heating and cooling system, change the temperature, make sure that their system is on or off at the right time, program it via their mobile phone as well. So that combined with the Mobile Link from Generac where you can see if the generator is working properly and is on or off, that’s the best case scenario. Especially like you said, if you’re in another state for part of the year, maybe you’re down south for the winter or something like that, and you’re able to control the heat in your home and also monitor your Generac generator as well.
Brett: Yeah, absolutely. Yeah, it’s really become a connected world and generators can be part of that ecosystem. So to your point, depending on what you have, you can certainly have a wifi based thermostat, control your temperature, know what the temperature is in your house, turn things on, turn things off. You can know that your generator is functioning properly.
And just as importantly, or even more importantly, those other things are convenient, but more importantly you know about when it’s not functioning properly. And again, you don’t find out the hard way when you come back from a nice time away and find that all your pipes have frozen and now your basement’s a swimming pool. So again, now how we want to meet people, not at all.
Jay: Yeah, and in waveland, it’s a very probable situation.
Brett: We all know people who’ve had that situation. And again, that’s not how we like to meet our customers. We want to put in great products for people that help them live their lives more comfortably. And the Generac product and the link is a huge step forward in that.
Jay: It’s all about peace of mind. And I think really, Brett, that’s what you and your team offer is peace of mind. You give the customers an ease of mind. I want to go away for a weekend, I want to go away for a couple months. They don’t have to worry about anything happening to their home. So we don’t really sell products, we sell peace of mind.
Brett: Great way to put it. That’s true.
John: Jay, what do you see Generac doing in the future in terms of maybe upcoming products or technology or changes in the market?
Jay: Well, last year Generac came out with the portable power stations, which is a little 1000 watt handheld unit that you can take anywhere with you, so that’s doing backpacking or weekend retreats. They can have these, and it’s almost like a smaller standby generator, so that’s definitely a bigger one. A lot more people, especially after Covid, they’re trying to get out more, be more active, be more out with nature, if you will.
Everybody was hunkered down for a while, so that’s definitely one of the bigger ones. And they do offer a solar wall and accessory to charge when it’s out. So that’s got its own little solar panels on it. So I think that’s the biggest thing right now. But with Generac, you’re never surprised. They always come up with something year over year where they’re upgrading units or they’re offering the wifi units. So it’s exciting to see because each year they always come up with something. So we don’t know what it is yet, but it’s kind of like Christmastime. You know something is coming.
John: All right, well that’s really great information. Brett and Jay, thanks again for speaking with me today.
Brett: Appreciate the time. Thank you.
Jay: Thank you very much, John. It’s been blessed.
John: And for more information, you can visit the N.E.T.R. website at netrinc.com or call 781-933-NETR. That’s 781-933-6387.