How many years have you been doing generator maintenance and repair in East Texas?
I’ve been doing generator installation and maintenance for over 20 years, and have 40 years of experience as a certified electrician.
Where does the name “BNK” come from?
I had a business partner previously. His last name was Kinnaird. Mine is Bryant. When we were choosing a company name, we wanted to use our initials—”B” and “K.” He wanted to use an “N” instead of “and”. The result was BNK.
My business partner was tragically killed in an accident two years ago, and I’ve since tweaked the name and started a new LLC. Previously when we were together, we were Brykin, LLC (as in Bryant and Kinnaird), and did business as BNK Services. Now, I operate under Generator Specialties, LLC, doing business as BNK Generator Specialties.
What kinds of generators do you work on?
Every size and type of Generac and Cummins generators.
Will BNK perform generator service and/or repairs on units you previously did not work on?
Yes. We service and do maintenance all the time on generators we didn’t sell, install, service, or repair.
What kinds of tests do you perform for a generator?
Mainly functionality tests. Does it start? Does it start directly? Does it transfer generator power back to utility power when you need it to? Another thing we do is check the load banking to determine if they’ll carry the load that they need to carry. We use leak detectors to try to find fuel leaks and things like that while we’re on site.
Why are these tests important?
When I’m servicing a generator, I’m checking to make sure things are within factory specifications. For instance, a propane generator needs a 10-12 inch water column on its fuel pressure and to the generator from the propane source. That’s something we closely look for by using a special gauge to check for proper pressure.
How often would you say a generator should be serviced?
A minimum of once a year. We provide excellent pricing and through service on our maintenance plans. You can contact us to learn more.
Why that frequently?
Annual maintenance is the manufacturer’s recommendation. Additionally, based on decades of experience in the field, when I am called to repair a generator, the most common reason is because no maintenance has been done since the unit was installed. Can you imagine going multiple years without changing your oil in your car? Generators require the same upkeep.
Which kinds of components do you service in a generator?
We first go through the controller in the generator. It’s basically the brain of the generator. We will reboot or reload the firmware for the controller. It’s similar to resetting your smartphone or tablet.
Another thing we look at is fuel delivery. A lot of times with generators that we didn’t install, the fuel delivery was not set up correctly. Houses commonly have gas-powered hot water heaters, but 1 in 50 use a generator. We sometimes run into situations where plumbers didn’t read the manufacturer’s installation guide before installing. It can be problematic when they don’t get it right.
We’ll also check the engine for proper compression and adjust the exhaust and intake valve. We check for proper RPM (rotations per minute) to make sure it’s running at the right speed. After that, we look at the alternator to make sure it’s putting out the correct voltage with a load check and that it’s responding to load correctly. Finally, we look at the battery-charging system on the generator.
Why is it important to service those parts of the generator?
I always tell people that they have a lot of money invested in their generator, and they could lose money by neglecting regular maintenance until a major problem occurs. Not to mention, following the manufacturer’s maintenance and service specifications helps ensure that your generator is ready to go when you need it the most.
Which parts of a generator do you repair?
The engine, alternator, sheet metal enclosure, fuel delivery system, control, and everything else. There is not a single part of a Generac or Cummins generator we can’t or won’t fix.
Which BNK qualities make its craftsmanship a cut above others in the generator industry?
Our attention to detail and adhering to manufacturer guidelines. The manufacturers put a lot of investment in engineering to take care of research and development, and because of that I think it’s best to follow their recommendations. This also keeps you compliant with your warranty from the manufacturer.
The warranty stipulations on both Cummins and Generac say to schedule maintenance every year to keep the factory warranty in effect. When you hire BNK, you’ll receive documentation that it was done by a certified dealer, not your brother-in-law who works at a muffler shop. This documentation keeps the manufacturer from challenging the upkeep of the generator.
How do BNK’s rates compare to other services?
We’re more economical. My cost is $275 for annual maintenance service. Everyone I’ve talked to—colleagues who do what I do—charges $300 or more for generator parts. In contrast, I’m furnishing parts and only charging $275. Maintenance includes changing the oil and filter. Other parts are extra. That’s my business model because you’ll almost never need any other parts.
What are some of the horror stories you’ve seen while repairing or servicing a generator that was previously taken care of by another service?
Generators have an engine similar to a large riding lawn mower, like a 1000cc V-twin engine. These give off carbon monoxide. In the installation guide, you’ll see that the manufacturers and NFPA (National Fire Protection Association) require that the generators must be installed at least 5 feet away from a window or door on any kind of occupancy to keep carbon monoxide from entering a person’s home.
I’ve seen generators installed right in front of the bedroom window, which is extremely dangerous. That’s a perfect example of The BNK Difference. The installer understood how to read a wiring diagram, knew how to wire connections, but clearly didn’t take time to read the installation guide. We never skip those important details.
— “NOT A FARFETCHED SCENARIO” —
Another story involves an all-electric heat system. If your home uses an all-electric heat system, that means it doesn’t use natural gas utilities. An average sized house with an all-electric heat system will draw 20 kW of electricity with only the heat running. Electricians will often install a 20kW generator to back up the whole home. That electric heat system by itself maxes out that generator. If the refrigerator, electric water heater, or any other appliances are on, the generator won’t be able to handle that much power.
For just a $5 part and 20 minutes of labor, we can install a control feature that will offload some of that power. I recently did this for a customer that had a 15kW electric furnace. The control feature keeps it at 10kW instead. Otherwise, if the utility is available, it’ll just run normally, and he can run all his electric heat off the utility.
Electricians will put in a 20kW generator in a situation that they either need to incorporate some energy management like I just described, or they need to put in a double-the-size generator, for example, but they do neither. They set up the customer’s generator for failure. Being exposed to an overload can cause catastrophic damage to the generator. When I say “damage,” I mean a typical install runs about $8,000, and the next thing you know the generator’s not working and it needs a $3,000 repair.
It happens because someone who wasn't credentialed didn’t really know what they were doing when they installed it. That’s not a farfetched scenario. We see it all the time.
What else would you like for new or returning customers to know about BNK’s expertise?
Integrity is really important to us. A company recently called us to check on their generators. Another generator service company had just replaced the spark plugs, which didn’t need to be replaced to begin with, yet the generators were still not working properly. The worst part? The technician sold them the spark plugs, which cost about $4 each, for $80 per spark plug. That is an outrageous markup. We are committed to fairness with our pricing and excellence with our service. We will never gouge anybody like that.