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Fall Outdoor Power Equipment Care – Jacksonville FL

Here in Northeast Florida, we usually have mild winters, and many of us don’t even stop using our outdoor power equipment through the winter months for fall power equipment care.

For example:

  • northeastern Florida bermuda grass in the fall the lawn grows uneven and shaggy looking
  • warmer days offer an opportunity to pressure wash our home, patio, driveway, or other outdoor items
  • portable generators need to be run periodically to assure they are ready for use in an emergency

But if you are done with your outdoor power equipment until the Bermuda grass starts turning green again in the spring, the main thing you need to remember is to add Briggs & Stratton 5-in-1 Advanced Formula Fuel Stabilizer & Treatment to your gas tank.

  • the first step in any small engine maintenance is to review the instructions in your power equipment Owners Manual
  • next, run your lawn mower, lawn tractor, or pressure washer (outside) to get the fuel additives and preservatives that protect your small engine from the effects of ethanol damage through your engine fuel system
  • finally, top off your fuel tank to prevent accumulation of moisture that could lead to corrosion

If you don’t have the time to do this maintenance on your:

  • lawn mower
  • lawn tractor
  • portable generator
  • pressure washer

just give Black Creek Services a call at 904.449.3986. We can help you keep your small engine-powered equipment maintained for a fair and reasonable price.

  • Pickup and delivery service is available, too!

Black Creek Services, Inc. LogoWhen springtime rolls around, we can also help you make sure your outdoor power equipment is ready for a busy season with a Springtime Small Engine Maintenance Service.

Black Creek Services, Inc. offers mobile lawn mower repair and mobile lawn tractor repair in the Jacksonville Florida area. We’re talking Jacksonville, Orange Park, Fleming Island, Green Cove Springs, and Middleburg, Florida.

If you have questions, please call us 904.449.3986 or use our contact form to Contact Black Creek Services. We like to help people get their small engine-powered outdoor equipment running right again!

Pressure Washer for Boat Cleaning

Sailboat on the waterIf you have a boat, be it a sailboat or a motorboat, you know that a clean hull helps your boat go through the water faster.

Because boat cleaning can mean some real work and take up a chunk of your day, many people use pressure washers to keep the hull of their boat clean, as part of their regular boat maintenance procedures.

Motorboat on the water.New boat owner and not sure how to start cleaning your boat?

Pressure Washers Direct provided this handy step by step guide for keeping boats clean and ready for a good time on the water – “How to Pressure Wash Your Boat and Trailer”

A pressure washer can really save time and work while cleaning your boat. If you haven’t cleaned your boat with a pressure washer before, Briggs & Stratton made this helpful video about cleaning boats with pressure washers.

Is your pressure washer running well and ready to help you enjoy your time on the water in your boat?

Pressure Washer with Honda small engineIf your pressure washer isn’t running right, or not even running at all, call Black Creek Services 904.449.3986 to make an appointment to bring it to our Middleburg, Florida shop for service or repair.

Pressure Washer Pickup and Delivery service for Middleburg, Fleming Island, Orange Park, Green Cove Springs, and Jacksonville are available. Call Black Creek Services 904.449.3986 for details or to make an appointment.

Summertime Outdoor Equipment Maintenance

northeastern Florida bermuda grass in the fallThe days are longer, the lawns are growing like crazy – it’s not the time to have your lawn mower or lawn tractor sputter and cough and not run when you go to cut the grass!

Black Creek Services performs maintenance on Lawn Mowers, Riding Lawn Mowers, and Lawn Tractors in the Jacksonville, Florida area. And we can perform repairs, if necessary.

Our service area includes Fleming Island, Orange Park, Green Cove Springs, and of course Middleburg, where our shop is located.

  • Black Creek Services 904.449.3986 offers equipment pick up and delivery service for people in our service area.
  • We also provide maintenance and repair service for Portable Generators, and Pressure Washers.

Black Creek Services 904.449.3986 can perform routine maintenance on your small engine-powered outdoor equipment, or repairs, as needed, to get your equipment ready to go, when you need it!

  • Cost: Payment required – Estimated maintenance service fee is based on type of equipment to be maintained.

– – Repairs and pickup and delivery service fees are in addition to maintenance fees.
– – Call 904.449.3986 for an estimate and to make an appointment for your equipment.

Contact Black Creek Services today or Call us 904.449.3986 to make your appointment to get your Outdoor Power Equipment Ready to Go when You are!

Lawn Mower won’t start?

Regular lawn mower maintenance helps prevent problems, and lengthens the life of your lawn equipment. But even with regular maintenance, there can still be surprises.

* * Before you start to work on your lawn mower or lawn tractor, remember to Always review and refer to the operator’s manual for guidance specific to your lawn equipment.

Husqvarna rear discharge lawn mowerHere are 4 quick steps to get you going again:

1.  If the Starter Rope on the engine of your lawn mower is hard to pull, or seems to be stuck,

  • your engine flywheel brake (usually a bar on the handle of your lawn mower) may not be fully depressed when you try to pull the rope
  • could be your mower blade is too close to the ground and dragging in tall grass (move to a flat, hard surface like a sidewalk or driveway)
  • your mower deck may be clogged with grass clippings (turn your mower OFF, disconnect the spark plug, and then remove the grass clippings)

> > If you have a Battery Started lawn mower or lawn tractor, and nothing happens when your turn the key, your battery may need to be re-charged or replaced.

2. When’s the last time you cleaned or replaced your Air Filter? Your air filter should be replaced or properly cleaned at least once each mowing season (which can mean once each year, here in Florida, where some of us have to mow our lawns all year around). Take a look at your air filter, if it looks like time for a change or cleaning, it’s time.

Walk Behind Lawn Mower3. The problem may be in your Gas Tank. (Ethanol/Gasoline blend fuel goes “stale” in about 30 days, according to the technical advice of Briggs & Stratton.) If you don’t use a fuel treatment like Briggs & Stratton STA-BIL Storage fuel stabilizer, replace the gas in your tank with fresh fuel.

4. Check your Spark Plug. Good maintenance practice is to replace the spark plug in your mower each year. If you already replaced your spark plug this year, check it for being fouled/dirty, loose, or even a spark plug wire that’s disconnected.

If you try these quick steps, and you still can’t start your lawn mower or lawn tractor, call Black Creek Services 904.449.3986. We may be able to provide a suggestion to get you started again, over the phone.

If you need help to work on your mower, Black Creek Services does mobile and in-shop maintenance and repairs.

Black Creek Services uses quality parts and materials during small engine maintenance service and any repairs. Black Creek Services, Inc. has built a reputation for providing reliable, quality small engine service for people living in Middleburg, Fleming Island, Orange Park, Green Cove Springs, and all around the Jacksonville area, and we want to keep it that way.

When you are having a problem starting your lawn mower or lawn tractor, Contact Black Creek Services, Inc. or give us a Call 904.449.3986.

Ready for Florida Hurricane Season in Jacksonville?

Being prepared during this hurricane season in Jacksonville Florida is very important.

Hurricane Season for the United States Atlantic Coast runs from June through November.

Hurricane Season in Florida - Hurricane Fran - September 1996Waiting until you see a storm nearby in the Atlantic, or see a Hurricane Watch or a Hurricane Warning being flashed across your television or smart phone screen could be too late to protect yourself, your family and loved ones and your property.

A little preparation goes a long way to being prepared for a hurricane coming to the Jacksonville Florida area.

Please take some time to go over Hurricane Preparedness lists like the one at the NOAA National Hurricane Center.

A few minutes spent gathering resources and preparing a plan for you and your family can mean the difference between survival and sorrow.

  • Do you have a portable generator for providing emergency electrical power to your home or business?
  • Is your portable generator maintained annually, and run periodically, to make sure it is ready when you need it?

Briggs and Stratton Portable GeneratorBlack Creek Services, Inc. provides in-shop and on-site, mobile portable generator maintenance and repair. No portable generator is too big or too small.

If you have a portable generator, and it needs annual maintenance, or you are having trouble getting it to start or stay running, or it will not provide the power that it used to, use our Black Creek Services Contact form, or Call 904-449-3986 for an appointment to get your portable generator ready to go when you are!

Let us help you have confidence that your portable generator is one thing you don’t have to worry about during this Florida Hurricane Season.

Portable Generator Maintenance

Many people living in Florida have purchased a Portable Generator to provide some electrical power if their primary electrical service is lost.

Thankfully, for most of us our primary electrical service is very reliable.

hurricane weatherBut during Florida Hurricane Season (June through November each year) or even during a more common thunderstorm, or as the result of an accident, there can be a power outage that can last from minutes to hours, even days. And to provide a reliable backup source of electrical power, we have a portable generator.

Because our primary electrical power service is so reliable, often our portable generators can sit for months without being needed. If they are not run periodically, they may not perform when we need them.

Briggs and Stratton Portable Generator“It’s a good idea to have a professional service your portable generator once a year.” – Allstate Insurance, on Portable Generator maintenance.
In addition to annual professional maintenance of your portable generator, most generator manufacturers recommend:

1.  Read and follow the instructions in the manufacturer’s Owner’s manual for your portable generator. If you do not understand the instructions clearly, give them a call; most manufacturer’s have a telephone number in the Owner’s manual, and many are toll free.

2.  Put a fresh half gallon of fuel in the generator fuel tank, once each month, and run the generator for at least an hour. Drain any left over gasoline from the fuel tank. Gas goes stale when left sitting in a fuel tank for a month, and is harder to start.

As an alternative, some people add a fuel stabilizer (such as Briggs and Stratton fuel stabilizer treatment) to the fuel in their tank, which helps the fuel stay fresh longer.

3.  Check your generator starting method.

  • If your portable generator is a manual, pull-start, check the pull rope for wear as you pull it to start the generator each month. If the rope is worn, it should be replaced so it doesn’t break when you really need that generator.
  • If your portable generator is a battery started model, check the charge on that battery.
  • Some portable generators have a manual start capability as a backup for the batter starting capablity, and in those cases, you should check both ways of starting your generator.

portable generator with a small engine4.  While running your generator each month, plug in a small appliance; a lamp or a portable drill or kitchen hand mixer, and run the appliance to make sure that the generator is producing electricity.

5.  Remember that Portable Generators produce exhaust gasses when they operate, including carbon monoxide with is colorless and has no odor, and can be deadly.  Always operate you portable generator outside of your home or business. And do not run a portable generator near an open window, because the carbon monoxide can blow into the home or business and endanger anyone inside.

6.  Protect your Generator. When you operate your Portable Generator, shelter it from wet or damp conditions, to prevent shock hazards from the electricity being produced by the generator (and to keep your generator from shorting out, or from being damaged by corrosion). Then store your generator in a safe, dry place, to keep it ready for use during an emergency.

7.  Generator fuel is flammable. Store fuel (usually gasoline) in a safe container, and in a safe, cool and well ventilated place that is not in the same space as where you operate the Portable Generator. Never add fuel to a generator until the generator cools down. Better to use flashlights for a while than take a chance on a fire or explosion!

Generac Portable GeneratorBlack Creek Services, Inc. provides on-site repairs in Middleburg, Fleming Island, Green Cove Springs, Orange Park, and Jacksonville, Florida, as well as in our shop in Middleburg, Florida. We can also provide pickup and delivery of your portable generator.

If your portable generator is hard to start, runs rough, or won’t start at all, before you start pricing a replacement, Call Black Creek Services, Inc.  at 904.449.3986 or Contact Black Creek Services, Inc. for a free estimate. Often, with some minor repairs, we can have your portable generator running right and reliable again in no time.

Springtime is Outdoor Equipment Maintenance Time!

Pink springtime blossomsSpringtime is such a great time of year! Buds are blossoming, the grass is starting to grow again, leaves are popping out on shrubs and trees! Time for Outdoor Equipment Maintenance!

Is your Lawn Mower, Lawn Tractor, Riding Mower, Portable Generator, or Pressure Washer ready for Spring?

Black Creek Services can perform routine maintenance on your small engine-powered equipment, or repairs, as needed, to get your equipment ready to go, when you need it!

  • Cost: Payment required – Estimated maintenance service fee is based on type of equipment to be maintained.
    – – Repairs and pickup and delivery service fees are in addition to maintenance fees.
    – – Call 904.449.3986 for an estimate and to make an appointment for your equipment.
  • We offer equipment pick up and delivery service for people in Middleburg, Fleming Island, Orange Park, and the Jacksonville area, from our Middleburg, Florida shop.

Contact Black Creek Services today or give us a Call 904.449.3986 to make your appointment to get your Outdoor Power Equipment Ready to Go when You are!

What size Portable Generator do You Need?

Briggs and Stratton Portable GeneratorPortable generators can provide emergency power for your home or business when your electrical power service is disrupted.

The size/power capacity of portable generators are measured in its rated wattage output.

  • Before buying a generator, you need to decide how many appliances you need to provide power for.
  • Then size your portable generator to provide power for the total of the STARTING watts you need.

More considerations when shopping for an emergency generator for your home or business are discussed in the Good Housekeeping article, “Are You Ready for a Power Outage?

Here is a chart of approximate wattage needs of various typical appliances:

Appliance/Equipment Running Watts Starting Watts
Water Pump 1/2 HP 1,000 3,000
Water Pump 3/4 HP 1,500 4,500
Sump Pump 1,000 3,000
Refrigerator 750 1,500
Freezer 500 1,000
Microwave 600 – 1,500
Lights 40 – 200
Television 150 – 400
Radio 6 – 15
Oscillating Fan 50 – 100
Water Heater 4,500
Coffee Maker 750 – 1,200
Toaster Oven 1,100
8,000 BTU A/C (window unit) 1,000 3,000
3 Ton A/C or Heat Pump 6,000 32,400
Garage Door Opener 500
Laptop Computer 1 – 15
Cell Phone Charger 3 – 6
Home Security System 24

Chart data provided by our local, reliable electrical service provider, Clay Electric Cooperative.

Read more tips for portable generators in our article, Safe Operation of Portable Generators.

10000 Watt - Briggs & Stratton Portable GeneratorHaving problems with your portable generator? Or do you have questions about buying or maintaining your portable generator? Give us a call at Black Creek Services 904.449.3986, or Contact Black Creek Services.

We like helping people keep their portable generators running!

Safe Operation of Portable Generators

If you are thinking about buying a portable generator for emergency electrical power to your home or office during a power outage, such as during a hurricane, here are a few quick tips for safe operation of portable generators to help you get started.

8000 Watt Briggs & Stratton Portable Generator1. Portable generators are designed for providing temporary power to one or several appliances, based on the output of the generator and the power requirements of the appliances.

2. The first step in buying a generator is deciding how much wattage you need during an emergency power outage. The size of your generator in wattage is determined by which appliances you want to power and how much total startup energy they need.

See our Chart for approximate wattage needs of various appliances.
– – (Click on the Chart below to see enlarge the chart.) – –

watts of power needed chart

3. Check the rating of the extension cord that you use to connect each appliance to your portable generator to be sure the cord is designed to carry the full amount of electrical current to the appliance.

4. Portable power generators are not designed to be run continuously, nor run inside your home or garage.  They should be run (outside)  for short periods of several hours, and then shut down for several hours before being run again.

Generac Portable Generator5. We recommend adding a fuel stabilizer to your fuel tank , and running your portable generator for at least 10 minutes each month, to keep it ready to go when you need it.

For more tips on the safe operation of Portable Generators, please see these tips shared by:

Is your portable generator not running or giving you other problems?  Black Creek Services can provide mobile, on-site repair service, and an annual servicing to your portable generator to help you keep it ready to go.  Call 904.449.3986 for an appointment. or Contact Black Creek Services.

Tips for Buying a New Lawn Mower in Jacksonville, Florida

When it’s time to buy a new lawn mower, and you live in the Jacksonville, Florida area, here are a few tips to help deciding which to choose.

Depending on the type of grass you’ve chosen for your lawn, the mild winters we enjoy in northeast Florida mean you may be using your lawn mower from late fall to early spring, to keep your slowly growing lawn from looking shaggy and uneven. And if you do use your lawn mower year-around, buying a lawn mower to suit your needs is even more important.

There are basically two types of “Walk Behind” Lawn Mowers:

side discharge lawn mower1. Push-type Lawn Mowers

The operator provides the power to move these lawn mowers, and can burn off a good amount of energy while mowing an average lawn.

Many lawn mowers have Safety Brakes installed on the handle bar, so that when the Brake lever is released, the blade stops.

Cut Width of the lawn mower tells how wide a path of grass will be cut by each pass of the lawn mower; the wider the cut, the less trips it takes to mow the lawn.

Height adjustment levers (usually one at each wheel) allow the operator to adjust the height of the lawn mower cutting blade; cutting too close to the ground can hurt the grass, cutting too high can mean shorter times between mowing.

Recoil start lawn mowers have a traditional rope which is pulled by the operator to turn the engine over and start the engine. Electric started mowers are started by turning a key to complete an electrical circuit and start the mower engine with a small battery which is mounted on the lawn mower. Recoil start lawn mowers take more physical energy to start. While it is much easier to turn the key for an electric start lawn mower, the lawn mower batter will need periodic maintenance to provide easy starting. Many electric start mowers have recoil start capability, in the event the battery runs down.

Side discharge lawn mowers are the most common, basic lawn mowers; as grass is cut, clippings are ejected to the side of the mower, left to settle to the ground and decay back into and nourish the soil. Rear discharge lawn mowers are also known as rear bag lawn mowers, because the grass clippings are discharged to the rear of the lawn mower deck, into a removable bag. When the rear bag is sufficiently filled, the clippings can be dumped into a compost heap or recycled by the community, with other yard waste. Rear (bag) discharge lawn mowers tend to leave the lawn with a cleaner appearance, as apposed to the layer of clippings left on a lawn by side discharge lawn mowers.

Troy-Bilt Lawn Mower with Briggs and Stratton small engine.2.  Self Propelled Lawn Mowers

The lawn mower propels itself, the operator has to steer the lawn mower. The operator still uses energy to steer the mower over the lawn. If the lawn to be mowed is medium to large in size, a self-propelled lawn mower can be a real asset.

Some self propelled lawn mowers have swivel wheels at the front of the mower deck, which makes the mower easier to maneuver.

Cut Width of the lawn mower tells how wide a path of grass will be cut by each pass of the lawn mower; the wider the cut, the less trips it takes to mow the lawn.

Height adjustment levers (usually one at each wheel) allow the operator to adjust the height of the lawn mower cutting blade; cutting too close to the ground can hurt the grass, cutting too high can mean shorter times between mowing.

Rear wheel drive gives better traction control and maneuverability than front wheel drive self-propelled lawn mowers, because the operator has to lift the front wheels of the lawn mower to make a turn.

Adjustable speed settings allow the operator to speed up or slow down the speed the mower is going over the lawn, to meet the conditions of the lawn, and to help the operator find a suitable, maintainable pace for mowing.

Recoil start lawn mowers have a traditional rope which is pulled by the operator to turn the engine over and start the engine. Electric started mowers are started by turning a key to complete an electrical circuit and start the mower engine with a small battery which is mounted on the lawn mower. Recoil start lawn mowers take more physical energy to start. While it is much easier to turn the key for an electric start lawn mower, the lawn mower batter will need periodic maintenance to provide easy starting. Many electric start mowers have recoil start capability, in the event the battery runs down.

Many self-propelled lawn mowers have an engine shut off built into the handle bar, so that when the operator lets go, the engine shuts off. It’s a good safety feature.

Many lawn mowers also have Safety Brakes installed on the handle bar, so that when the Brake lever is released, the blade stops.

Which ever lawn mower you buy, to keep it running like new, follow the manufacturer’s instructions for periodic maintenance.