Generator repair calls increase ahead of Hurricane Irene

GOOCHLAND, VA (WWBT) - As people stock up for Hurricane Irene, they're also making sure their home generators are in tip top shape! We tagged along on one maintenance call with a Chesterfield company slammed with repair requests.

Richmond Generator in Midlothian has taken calls on everything from generator repairs to maintenance checkups. One Goochland homeowner said she's lost power before during Isabelle and doesn't want to take that chance during Irene.

The sounds of nature were replaced by the purring of an automatic generator. The latest service call for Anthony Paschall brought him to Amy Hall's house on Maidens road. Her generator didn't start a few weeks ago when a thunderstorm knocked out power.

"Usually it just turns on within just a few minutes," said Hall.

With Irene churning through the Atlantic, Hall made sure she was on his list for routine maintenance.

"I thought about Isabelle and being out of power almost a week," said Hall.

If the power goes out and generator doesn't kick on, the Halls won't have water. They're on well service, a big concern for this family with three young girls.

Generator maintenance is a lot like a car tune up. Paschall, the lead tech for Richmond Generator, changed the spark plugs, filter, battery and oil.

"Some people go two or three years without doing and when something like this happens, then they're ready to get service," said Paschall.

He's been running non-stop since last week, when his boss started getting calls from customers. Nearly 200 requests for service came in since talk of Irene.

"I've seen bad batteries, battery chargers, control boards, and faulty buttons," said Paschall.

For Hall, a working generator is one less thing to worry about.

"You just have to out here because if you lose power we're not the first people to get the power back on because we're lower population density, so when power goes out you'll be out a little bit longer," said Hall.

Paschall tells me these generators can last up to ten years with routine maintenance. The company tells us they've also received new orders for automatic generators since word of the storm.

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