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Do you have the right Generator?

From heating and cooling to running the refrigerator, the microwave, the TV and even re-charging our cell phones, electrical power is something most people don’t want to be without very long.

10000 Watt - Briggs & Stratton Portable GeneratorTo provide temporary electrical power during a power outage, such as during a storm, or worse, in the event of hurricane damage, many people have purchased portable generators.

Most people have heard that portable generators cannot be run inside their home (or even in their garage) because the exhaust of the small engine that runs the generator can produce hazardous levels of deadly carbon monoxide in closed spaces.

portable generator with a small engineBut some portable generator owners don’t understand that portable generators are only supposed to be used to power several appliances in their home or office, via heavy duty extension cords plugged into the generators electrical outlets.

Actually, before buying a portable generator, the first step is supposed to be deciding what your temporary power needs are, and then buying the generator that will provide sufficient electrical power to run the appliances you pick. Read more about determining the size portable generator that you need in our Black Creek Services article – What Size Portable Generator Do You Need?

Some people have tried connecting their portable generators directly to their home or business breaker panel/electrical distribution panel. This is dangerous, because it creates an electrical hazard not only for the people using their portable generator this way, but also can backfeed electrical power into the local electrical grid, endangering others in the family, neighbors, and electrical  service personnel when they start to restore normal electrical power to the area.

Portable Generators are for temporarily powering several appliances for a home or office.

Permanent stand-by generators are larger units that can be installed in homes or offices and wired into breaker panels/distribution panels to provide backup power when there is a power outage. If you want to provide power to more than just a few appliances during a power outage, we recommend you look into a stand-by generator. In Clay County, Florida, a good resource for more information is our Clay County Florida Electrical Cooperative.

Most people find portable generators an affordable option.

hurricane weatherIs your portable generator ready to provide you electrical power during a power outage? When is the last time you started it up and ran it for 5 to 10 minutes?

If you can’t get your portable generator to start, or if you’d like to make sure your portable generator is ready for the next Hurricane, Call Black Creek Services 904.449.3986 for our Hurricane Season Generator Service, or Contact Black Creek Services! You can’t beat our in-shop service prices, and we can also provide pickup and delivery service.

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.

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 maintenance and repairs in our Middleburg, Florida shop.

  • Call 904.449.3986 to make an appointment to bring your lawn mower or lawn tractor to our shop.
  • OR we can provide pickup and delivery service.

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.

Reliable Lawn Mower Repair in the Jacksonville FL area

Black Creek Services logoBlack Creek Services, Inc. offers reliable lawn mower repair and lawn tractor repair in the Jacksonville Florida area.

  • We’re talking Jacksonville, Orange Park, Fleming Island, Green Cove Springs, and Middleburg, Florida.

mobile lawn mower repair service to save your pickup truckIt is frustrating enough to have problems with your lawn mower or lawn tractor when you have a lawn to mow. And even worse when you have to load your mower or tractor into your truck and take it somewhere to get it fixed!

And still even worse if you have to borrow or rent a truck to get your lawn equipment to where it can get worked on!

workshop benchBlack Creek Services, Inc. is a different kind of small engine service provider. We provide repairs and maintenance in our Middleburg shop.
And, we can provide pickup and delivery service, if you need it.

We can handle anything from routine maintenance service to more complicated repairs.

Call Black Creek Services, Inc. 904.449.3986 or Contact Us with your Lawn Mower or Lawn Tractor Problems.

If you need reliable lawn mower or lawn tractor repair, we look forward to helping you get your lawn equipment running well again!

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 reliable maintenance and repair servicing to your portable generator to help you keep it ready to go.


Call 904.449.3986 to make an appointment to drop off your small engine powered Lawn Mower, Lawn Tractor, Portable Generator, or Pressure Washer at our Middleburg, Florida shop.
  • We also can provide pickup and delivery service for clients in our service area.

 

Tips for Buying a New Lawn Mower in Jacksonville, Florida

When it’s time to buy a new 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  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 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 Mowers

The lawn mower propels itself, the operator has to steer the  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  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 mower tells how wide a path of grass will be cut by each pass of the  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 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 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 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 mowers take more physical energy to start. While it is much easier to turn the key for an electric start mower, the mower battery 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 mowers also have Safety Brakes installed on the handle bar, so that when the Brake lever is released, the blade stops.

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

  • Save time; let Black Creek Services provide professional lawn mower and lawn tractor periodic maintenance.
  • Call 904.449.3986 to make an appointment to drop off your small engine powered Lawn Mower, Lawn Tractor, Portable Generator, or Pressure Washer at our Middleburg, Florida shop.
  • We also can provide pickup and delivery service for clients in our service area.

Black Creek Services Inc. Small Engine Maintenance Service

Koehler Command ProWhether your small engine is in a lawn mower, a portable generator, a pressure washer, a lawn tractor, or another application, based on our experience, Small Engines perform better and last longer with an annual maintenance service.

Small engine maintenance service doesn’t cost a lot  of money. It’s really more of an investment in having a reliable small engine for whatever you want to do.

small engine Briggs and StrattonAt Black Creek Services, we follow the same basic guidelines for an annual small engine service as recommended for Briggs and Stratton small engines:

  1. Change the Air Filter.
  2. Drain and replace the Oil.
  3. Change the Spark Plug.
  4. Give your gasoline a boost while protecting your engine with a Fuel Treatment and Stabilizer.

As part of our Annual Small Engine maintenance service, we also look for reliability concerns like:

  • Condition of starting rope (if it is a manual, pull-start engine)
  • Condition of Battery connections (if it is an electrically started engine)
  • Missing springs or fasteners
  • Condition of carburetor throttle controls or function of governor

lawn mower small engineWe will notify you about any concerns we find with your small engine, and provide you an estimate for the cost of making necessary repairs.

We use 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 need maintenance service or repairs for your small engine, Contact Black Creek Services at 904.449.3986.

Pressure Washers – Rent or Buy?

Pressure Washers make short work of many cleaning projects.

  • Home, private owner use Pressure Washer from Lowe’s, Home Depot, or similar home improvement stores cost between $300 to $500.
  • Good, commercial grade Pressure Washers can be found for less than $1000.

Pressure Washer with Honda small engineBoth private use Pressure Washers and Commercial grade Pressure Washers may look nice, but the Commercial grade Pressure Washers are designed to last a lot longer.

Frequent causes of problems with Pressure Washers are old fuel, loose electrical connection, or the water pump.

Most private use pressure washers are built with a pump designed to last from 30 to 40 hours before the first operational problem happens. Then the bearings go out, and it locks up.

Unfortunately, the cost of a durable replacement pump is $150 to $200, and then there is the cost of labor for replacing the pump, and any other repairs to your pressure washer.

Of course, if clients just want to replace the failed pump with another one designed to only last 30 to 40 hours of use, we can do that too.

DeWalt Pressure Washer with small engineLet’s see – $400 for a Pressure Washer that works for around 20 hours, that’s about $20 / hour. If there is an equipment rental store in the neighborhood, people might save money by renting a Pressure Washer rather than buying one of their own.

But if you have a Pressure Washer and it isn’t running, give us a call at Black Creek Services, Inc. 904.449.3986.

We have over 20 years of experience with small engine repair. We may be able to get your Pressure Washer running again at a cost less than buying a new one.

Often we find problems are fuel system from sitting too long, and we can fix those relatively easily, and for not much cost.

Black Creek Services, Inc. offers reliable Pressure Washer Repair, Portable Generator Repair, Lawn Mower Repair, and Lawn Tractor Repair in the Jacksonville Florida area. We’re talking Jacksonville, Orange Park, Fleming Island, Green Cove Springs, and Middleburg, Florida.

Call 904.449.3986 to make an appointment to drop off your small engine powered Lawn Mower, Lawn Tractor, Portable Generator, or Pressure Washer at our Middleburg, Florida shop.

  • We also can provide pickup and delivery service for clients in our service area.

We like to help people get their small engine-powered equipment running right again!