Category Archives: Generator

Generator Installation Loudoun County VA

What You Need to Know Before Installing a Generator

Severe storms and other weather events threaten our home comforts. An unprotected home could go without electricity for hours, days, or sometimes weeks. Nevertheless, many homeowners fail to consider installing a backup generator, let alone investigate the different types or the necessary power capacity. So, secure your home and family from power outages by hiring the technicians at R.A. Dobson for standby generator installation and expert product guidance.

R.A. Dobson proudly provides generator installation and repair services to our clients in Loudoun County, VA. We’re a second-generation, family-run company, so we empathize with our customers and their concerns. We strive to provide home systems you can trust, especially in emergencies. For a professional evaluation and $250 0ff your installation, contact us today at (703) 481-3700.

Below, we review what you should know before installing a generator:

Portable vs. Standby Generators

Generator Installation Loudoun County VA

Relying on a portable generator for backup home power creates a few problems. First, they can pose a risk of carbon monoxide poisoning when placed in or close to a house, as well as an electrical and tripping hazard if they need extension cords.

Additionally, portable generators have much less run-time capability than standby generators. Though portable models may provide home power for short spells, their small fuel capacity means they must be refueled quite often.

But standby generators can link to large fuel containers/natural gas lines, be wired to your home, and activate automatically during an outage. Moreover, they provide the energy and fuel capacity necessary to power your home without the safety hazards associated with portable models.

Choosing the Right Power Capacity

The right power capacity for your standby generator depends on the size of your home and the extent of your needs. A standard whole-house generator produces between 20-22 kW, which supplies the power required by heating and air conditioning units. However, if you only want to keep your refrigerator and a few lights on, a 5-10 kW generator could fulfill your needs. A professional evaluation can determine which standby generator would work for your home.

Selecting a Fuel Type

You should consider your fuel options as well, including:

  • Natural Gas: Both clean and accessible during most weather conditions and emergencies, natural gas fulfills the reliability needed for a backup generator.
  • Propane (LP Gas): Safe, stable, and easy to store in large quantities, propane is usually accessible and supplied by a local delivery service. Although propane doesn’t contain as much energy capacity as diesel, it’s still a great option for a standby generator.
  • Diesel: Having low volatility and high energy content, diesel is a popular choice for commercial properties. Although it often requires an external tank, diesel is a viable option if you lack access to natural gas or propane.

If you’re still unsure, an expert can help you determine the best fuel type and generator for your home.

R.A. Dobson: Professional Generator Installation in Loudoun County, Virginia

Turn to the professionals at R.A. Dobson for generator installation services in Loudoun County, Virginia. We select our products carefully and respect all warranties. When our technicians install your standby generator, you can trust it to protect you and your family in emergencies. For a standby generator from a trustworthy service provider, visit our website or call (703) 481-3700 today.

Generator outside of building

Choosing the Right Generator for Your Home

No matter the circumstances nor time of day, power outages are always a huge inconvenience. After all, every device and appliance in your home runs on some level of power. So, you should consider having a whole-house generator installation in your home. And the best generators are provided and installed by the home appliance professionals at RA Dobson. 

We have dedicated ourselves for over 45 years to providing home appliances to residents throughout Ashburn, VA. Additionally, we offer expert services in maintenance, repair, and installation across a wide range of specialties—plumbing, heating, indoor air quality, and more. If you require a repair or installation in your home, speak with a professional from RA Dobson and get a free estimate for the specific service you need. 

Here, we outline some crucial details to help you identify the right generator for your home:  

Types of Home Generators

Before we discuss how to choose the best generator for your home, let’s review the different types of available generators. As you might be able to guess, different generators produce different wattage capacities. 

The higher a generator’s capacity, the more appliances that it can power. You have an array of options to choose from according to your budget and preference. 

Specifically, we’ll be talking about inverter generators, which are suited for home emergency power. The general types of inverter generators include:     

  • Recreational Inverter Generator – Small, portable generators that produce up to 2,000 watts of power, usually used as a portable power source for camping or small-scale construction. However, they can also power a few appliances in your home during a power outage.  
  • Mid-Sized Inverter Generator – Larger portable generators that, as their size suggests, produce more power—usually up to 3,500 watts. Thus, they can also act as a short-term power supply for several appliances in your home (at least a few more compared to the previous generator type). 
  • Large Inverter Generator – The largest type of portable generator, producing up to 7,500 watts. One of these will power a good deal of your home’s power supply, though not its full capacity. 
  • Home Standby Generator – Essentially, a second generator for your entire home. These produce around 20,000 watts, enough to power the essential appliances and more. These are also installed directly into your home’s power system, meaning that in the event of an outage, your system will immediately switch to this generator, making your lack of power almost seamless. 

Along with increasing capacities, these generators are also in order of lowest to highest cost. Below, we’ll discuss how you can choose the right generator for your home based on the situations regarding your climate. 

Situations That Require A Generator Installation

While price and preference have their weight in your decision of which emergency generator installation to buy for your home, the climate around your home–and the situations that result–is also another important factor to consider. 

  • Power Outages Are Frequent – These usually occur in homes located in climates that involve frequent severe weather events like blizzards, storms, and hurricanes. In this case, you should invest in a home standby or large inverter generator, as the high frequency of outages requires a more consistent source of backup power. 
  • Outages Are Occasional – In a climate where outages occur every so often but are not prolonged, it’s best to go with a mid-size or large inverter to maintain some if not most of your home’s power when it is needed. 
  • Outages Are Rare – Though the likelihood of an outage is small, preparing to maintain your home’s power in the potential event of one is still important, so having a recreational or mid-size inverter generator around your home is a practical choice to make.   

RA Dobson: High-Quality Generator Installation in Ashburn, VA

The above information should help you narrow down the generator you want to install for your home. In the end, what counts the most is the service you choose for assistance in making the necessary setup and premium generator installation work. Hiring RA Dobson will not only get you high-quality generators but also other excellent home appliances, as well as great services in plumbing, heating, HVAC, and more. Our team has over 45 years of experience in the industry, which means our technicians are qualified and seasoned in providing the best heating, HVAC, and plumbing services possible. Contact us at  (703) 481-3700 to learn more and get a free estimate for one of our services.

An home in Northern VA gets a quality HVAC Inspection

Spring Maintenance Checklist

Routine home maintenance is crucial to maintaining your home comfort even as the weather gets warmer. It also allows you to catch any problems before they worsen and result in costly repairs. Get in touch with your local HVAC inspection company in Northern Virginia to help you detect problems before they worsen. 

At RA Dobson, our team adheres to the federal, state, and local government’s COVID-19 guidelines, implementing daily health checks on our technicians, wearing face masks, and providing contactless visits and quotes. If you require any HVAC or plumbing services, contact us to receive a free contactless estimate!

Here are a few items that should be on your spring maintenance checklist this year: 

Clean Your Ducts

Keeping your ducts clean on a regular basis, especially before spring, helps reduce allergens and allows you to breathe easier. With dirty air ducts, you could be breathing in fungi and bacteria. Prevent your allergies from getting out of hand with professional duct cleaning.

Maybe even consider installing an air cleaner to prevent pollutants from circulating throughout your home. At RA Dobson, our team receives high-level training and can help you determine which air purifier is right for you.

Check Your Heating and Cooling Unit

If your heating and cooling system experiences frequent breakdowns, then it will likely break down again, which could lead to emergency repairs and damages to your heating and cooling systems. Even if your system is a few years old, it still requires routine maintenance to function properly.

Clean Your Drains

Dirty drains are a common problem in many households. If your drains are clogged, drain slowly, or produce a pungent odor, then have a professional plumber take a look. Have your drains professionally cleaned to keep your home comfortable throughout the warmer months.

Generator Check Up

Before Northern Virginia’s hottest temperatures arrive, ensure your generator is functioning properly. An efficiently functioning generator will be able to handle any outages that take place during inclement weather and conditions.

Receive an HVAC Inspection, Routine Maintenance, & More in Northern Virginia

At RA Dobson, we are committed to helping you maintain your home comfort and safety with comprehensive spring maintenance and adhering to our COVID-19 safety protocols. By providing professionally trained HVAC inspection technicians that are dedicated to maintaining your home comfort, we ensure that you will experience ultimate comfort right away. 
We have served the Sterling, Virginia area for over 45 years, and you can trust us to provide efficient and affordable spring maintenance. Contact our team at (703) 481-3700 to receive a contactless quote today.

Generator Repair Service in Sterling VA

Four Common Generator Issues

Northern Virginia residents experience some of the hottest and coldest days of the year and being prepared is key to having ultimate home comfort. At R.A. Dobson, our generator installation service technicians are proactive in ensuring your generator can handle outages in the harshest of conditions.

As a locally-owned and family-operated business in Sterling, Virginia, maintaining the comfort of our community is of the utmost importance. If you require a replacement, we offer generator brands such as Generac and Honeywell, and we can help you determine which one will work best for your needs.

Below, we discuss the common issues you may experience with your generator.

1. Battery Failure

No matter what model your generator is, one of the most common issues people experience is battery failure. However, it requires a professional fix to ensure the circuit breaker is operating as it should be and that you don’t get injured attempting to fix it yourself.

Another reason why your battery may not be functioning is due to terminal connections being blocked by dirt and debris buildup. Having a specialist perform these processes will ensure battery terminals are tightened and your circuit breaker is working.

2. Leakages

With a generator that has experienced wear and tear over the years, it may be more susceptible to coolant leaks. If you are able to catch this earlier on, you may be able to prevent your generator from failing.

Not many people know they should inspect their generator every couple of years. If you find yourself in this boat, allow our team to inspect your generator and help you determine whether you have any issues before a repair or replacement is needed.

3. Low Fuel and Oil

Generators need fuel and oil to function efficiently, as lack of both may cause overheating, broken parts, and system failure. If the fuel or oil is too low, then the generator may be unable to respond right away.

It is also important to note that if the generator fuel has run dry, then air may enter the system and hoses. In order for a generator to function efficiently, air must not be present in the system. While it isn’t impossible to remove air from the generator, it is a hassle and takes time.

As a quick rule of thumb, always check your generator’s fuel level gauge before and after use. This will help prevent damages from getting worse and keep you from spending more on a repair or replacement. If your fuel gauge seems off or inaccurate, our technicians will help replace it if complete replacement isn’t necessary.

4. Worn/Damaged Components

If you don’t perform generator upkeep often, then it’s likely that its components have experienced general wear and tear over the years. On top of that, you might have overlooked any burnt electrical components, motors, coils, or damages caused by inclement weather or pests.

While we always recommend preventing worst-case scenarios with routine maintenance, we understand it’s easier said than done. And depending on your generator’s make and model, some may need maintenance more often than others and vice versa.

Choose Professional Generator Installation Services in Sterling VA!

Our generator experts can pinpoint issues quickly and provide solutions that work with your budget. Whether your generator needs to be repaired or replaced, our generator installation services are customized to your specific needs. For additional information, Consumer Reports has released a helpful Generator Buying Guide.

As our experience dates back to 1975, you can trust our team to provide you with the most up-to-date knowledge and experience to ensure your generator is prepared for the worst. We also offer a one-year warranty as well as honor all manufacturer warranties.

Receive a generator installation discount and save more on your service. Contact our generator installation experts at (703) 481-3700 to schedule an appointment today!

Generator Repair Service in Sterling VA

Preparing Your Generator for the Winter

Preparing your generator for the winter depends on the type of generator you have. If you do not have a generator and are not sure about your options, it’s best that you contact a professional, such as R.A. Dobson! Professional generator repair specialists have the proper knowledge about weather conditions and the kind of soil you have and will provide better recommendations for your situation.

R.A. Dobson is a heating, air conditioning, and plumbing company in Sterling, VA that is dedicated to keeping residents in the Northern Virginia area comfortable in their homes through each season. For over 40 years, our team has provided the latest heating and AC technology to homeowners at a reasonable price. We offer reliable generator installation and repairs as well as many other services that will help keep your home running efficiently throughout the colder months. Below are a few tips for preparing your generator for the winter.

Check the Battery

Although portable and standby automatic generators have different needs, charging the battery is one of the needs that they have in common. Portable batteries typically need to be charged once every month, even if you have no plans to use the generator for a while. For standby automatic generators, it’s best to refer to your product’s manual. If the battery is too low or dead, you may need to have it replaced as it is less likely for the battery to charge.

Standby Generators

Automatic standby generators do not require as much preparation as portable generators, but there are still a few things you should do before the winter weather cracks down:

  1. Using the proper oil for maintenance
  2. Be sure to clear any debris from around the generator. If there is too much buildup around the generator, it could potentially overheat.

Portable Generators

As the process for preparing your portable generator can get a little bit complicated, it is best to have a licensed professional to ensure proper preparation, as well as any other maintenance that may be required. Just as with standby generators, professionals can determine what type of maintenance your specific generator will require, as well as solutions for any repairs your generator may require.

  1. Drain all of the fuel in your generator, especially if you are storing your generator for more than a month. Be sure that your generator’s engine has cooled off before starting this process. We recommend starting the generator and running the engine until it stops due to a lack of fuel.  
  2. Drain and/or replace the generator’s original oil with synthetic oil such as 5W-30. We recommend checking your generator’s manual for its specific oil recommendations to be sure.
  3. Lubricate the piston rings and cylinder bore.
  4. Clean the generator and be sure to cover it so that it stays warm. If you can put it indoors, it advised that you do so that that your system is kept away from dust and dirt.

Choose R.A. Dobson for All of Your Generator Needs in Northern VA!

With the colder temperatures we are experiencing this season, we can anticipate that this coming winter season may be even colder! Don’t let any power outages add to your list of worries over the holidays. Let a trusted generator installation and repair company in Northern Virginia keep your home strong enough to withstand the weather extremes of the seasons. You can rely on the years of experience R.A. Dobson in Sterling, VA has to take care of all your generator-related needs.

If your generator is in need of repair or replacement, contact us at 703-481-3700 for more information. Don’t wait with winter just around the corner!

Backup Generator Installation: Stay Prepared for Hurricane Season

Atlantic hurricane season can bring on some crazy weather for people living in the Eastern United States. Hurricanes and typhoons can down trees and powerlines, leading to electricity outages that last hours or even days. In the event of a power outage, families not only experience a lot of inconvenience, they lose the certainty of safety while they wait for the storm to pass.

Fortunately, with a backup generator installation, residents of Sterling, Virginia can have their power quickly restored after an outage. With our featured Honeywell and Generac brand backup generators properly installed in your Northern Virginia home, you can breathe easy next time a big storm is headed your way.

Here are 4 important things a backup generator allows you to do while a storm passes through your area.

  1. Watch the News

During dangerous storms, news outlets work tirelessly to make sure the public knows exactly what is happening and exactly what to do. Sometimes storms get bad enough that experts will advise citizens not to leave their house, or quite the opposite—to evacuate and leave the area entirely. Losing access to television means not being able to be updated quickly and by the most credible sources. With a backup genitor installed in your Sterling, Virginia home, you will be able to stay tuned to this valuable line of communication.

  1. Charge Mobile Devices

In case of emergency, dialing “9-1-1” is the first plan of action. Because of lightning, flooding, and downed trees posing a concern during hurricanes, it is crucial that residents along the Atlantic coast keep their mobile devices turned on and available in case of emergency. Without power, cellphones can die quickly, closing an important method of communication to possible emergency services.

  1. Preserve Food

While heavy rain persists, trips to the grocery store are ill-advised. After losing power, your refrigerator and freezer quickly lose cool air and the contents inside go bad. During storms, canned foods and granola bars become your best friend, but these options only last for a limited time. To keep from running low on food options, a backup generator will keep your kitchen appliances running, so you don’t have to worry about rot or mold ruining your food supply.

  1. Use Faucets and Toilets

Some homes rely on electricity for use of running water. If you live in one of these houses, a power outage means losing the ability to flush toilets, take showers, and use the sink. Especially for families with young children or infants, this lack of hygiene can be unhealthy and uncomfortable.  A backup generator can be an amazing help, raising quality of life for these families during hurricanes and other storms.

RA Dobson Provides Generator Installation and Repair in Sterling, Virginia

Are you prepared for the next big storm? RA Dobson’s highly trained technicians are happy to offer backup generator installation and repair in Sterling, Virginia. We value customer satisfaction and will exceed your expectations for all services we provide. For a free estimate, call us today at 703-481-3700, or fill out an online contact form. We look forward to hearing from you.

The Benefits of Having a Standby Generator

After the unexpected severe wind storm that took place at the beginning of this March, several Northern VA and DC metro residential and commercial buildings faced multiple power outages. Unexpected weather events like these always make us worry about the crucial source that keeps our homes running: electricity.

It’s not until these units begin to shut down, when we realize how much we rely on power and electricity and the greater importance of having these units running at all times. As weather events attack us at the most inconvenient times, you should always be prepared and ahead of the game all-year round.

At R.A. Dobson, we offer standby generators that serve as a backup power source for any home or facility. As an HVAC company in Northern VA, we understand how often unexpected extreme weather storms can make its way through this region. Our technicians are experts in helping our clients understand the benefits of a backup generator and providing excellent installation services.  Doing research before making any investment is important, so here is our list of reasons why you should install standby generator.


Benefits of a Standby Generator

  • Reliable Power Source: Protect your home by keeping the power going at all times with a generator installation in Northern VA. When serious and unexpected weathers occur, the standby generator automatically turns on and keeps the power and electricity from running out. You can rely on a backup generator to keep you out of the dark.
  • Peace of Mind: During emergency weather events that cause power outages, we tend to panic and dread waiting to see how long it will take for it to regenerate. Will it take hours? Days? Weeks? Without a backup generator, you are stuck worrying and wondering when the weather will subside and your power company will get the power back on. With a standby generator, however, you can rest easy knowing your home is already taken care of. If you work from home, you do not need to worry about being unable to work during a power outage. If children or e elderly family members are home when power outages occur, a standby generator gives you peace of mind and ensures they will remain safe.
  • Great investment: Standby generators are the number one guaranteed safety precaution any homeowner should take if they want to prepare for the unknown, making this a valuable long-term investment. Generators will also keep your electricity running efficiently during a power outage so you do not need to worry about a hefty energy bill on top of everything else.


R.A. Dobson Offers Generator Installation Services!

Be prepared for unexpected changes in weather with a standby generator. Protecting you and your family’s safety and home should be a number one priority. With a backup generator installation in Northern VA, there is no need to worry about emergency situations that take place within the area.


As a Northern VA HVAC company, we are proud to offer generator installation in Northern VA. Our technicians are fully trained and experienced with installations and have background knowledge on anything related to home appliances. Protect your home with one of our Honeywell or Generac backup generators. These are amongst the top-rated generators and establish eco-friendly protection for your home. Most typical generators are run on natural gas and are set to automatically turn on when needed.


We offer a limited $250 off installations and have 1-year service warranty on all appliances. Trust our technicians in handling the installation process and ensuring the safety of your home. It is always great to be one step ahead and prepared for unforeseen weather conditions.


Check us out online and fill out a contact form for a free quote today!

Generator Repair Service in Sterling VA

Why You Should Have a Generator for Winter

Generator Repair and Installation in Northern VA will keep your house safe and family warm as winter approaches.

Preparing for Northern Virginia’s upcoming winter storms often includes checking insulation, mulching the garden, and stocking up on emergency supplies for the first snow storm. There is one thing that is often overlooked: Generator Installation.

A home generator is one of those emergency supplies that can make all the difference during a blizzard. Young and senior family members depend on your home’s heating to avoid catching the flu or pneumonia. Or, maybe you or someone you know were one of the 40,000 people who lost electricity during the March 2013 snowstorm and experienced the torture of waiting a week before power was fully restored. Generator installation and repair in Northern VA by R.A. Dobson will offer convenience, warmth, and protection of your house pipes and plumping when electricity lines fail.


Reasons to Install a Generator in Northern Virginia this Winter

While a generator is useful year-round to keep the food from spoiling in an unexpected storm outage, in the winter it becomes essential to keeping you and your family from freezing inside the shelter of your own home. Unlike in the summer months, it’s much riskier to drive to a new location in search of heat and electricity with snow and other bad winter weather. Staying at home is the safest option, and generator installation in Northern VA is ideal for keeping your family and pets healthy and warm.

A power outage not only makes it hard to see, but can cause problems in your plumbing system. While some sewage systems work solely on gravity, others depend on a chamber with an electrical pump that will push waste out to the main sewer system. If the pump isn’t working for an extended period of time, the chamber can overflow up into your basement. Another flooding concern comes from water pipes that can easily freeze and burst when temperatures drop below freezing. Water damage from the sewage backup and burst pipes can add up to costly repairs.

A generator is even important when the weather warms up and snow beings to melt. The excess water from melted snow and ice can saturate your yard or leak through to your basement. Sump pumps rely on electricity to take excess water out of your home and keep your basement dry. Protecting your basement by installing a generator will save you money and time in the long run.

Lastly, a generator can offer you and your family convenience and comfort. There’s a lot to love about taking a hot shower or coming in to a hot cup of cocoa after shoveling and cleaning off piles of snow from your cars. Not to mention hot food, working toilets, and entertainment on those long, cold days waiting for the electricity to work again.

A generator installed for the variable Northern VA winters will still be there for you year-round. The sooner you select a generator and install it, the sooner you can have peace of mind and preparation for the worst winter storm.


Choose R.A. Dobson for your Generator Installation in Northern VA

R.A. Dobson is honored to keep families warm, safe, and happy during the coldest months with generator installation in Northern VA. As an authorized and experienced service and security dealer in top brands such as Generac and Honeywell, we can offer you a custom generator installation fit for your budget and needs. All Generator installations come with guaranteed 1-year warranty and quality customer service.

Don’t get caught in the dark this winter. Call us today at (703) 481-3700 for a free estimate!