Archive for November, 2013

Generator Safety

Posted: November 21, 2013 by Bunce Rental in Uncategorized

Portable generators can offer convenience for use on construction sites, at special event locations and for use during periods of prolonged power outages.  They can also be very dangerous if used improperly.  Our portable generator safety tips below can help you avoid personal injury and expensive damage.

Always operate the generator outdoors – Never indoors or in an attached garage.
Just like your automobile, a portable generator uses an internal combustion engine that emits deadly carbon monoxide.  Carbon monoxide is odorless and colorless, making it undetectable to humans.  This deadly gas can cause health problems such as headaches, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, shortness of breath, confusion, blurred vision, loss of consciousness, and even death.  Be sure to place the generator where exhaust fumes will not enter the house.  Only operate a generator outdoors in a well-ventilated, dry area, away from air intakes to the home, and protected from direct exposure to rain and snow, preferably under a canopy, open shed or carport.

Never connect your generator directly to your home’s wiring.
Connecting a portable generator directly to your household wiring can be deadly to you and others.  A generator that is directly connected to your home’s wiring can ‘back-feed’ onto the power lines connected to your home.  Utility transformers can then “step-up” or increase this back-feed to thousands of volts—enough to kill a utility lineman making outage repairs a long way from your house.  You could also cause expensive damage to utility equipment and your generator.

The only safe way to connect a portable electric generator to your existing wiring is to have a licensed electrical contractor install a transfer switch.  The transfer switch transfers power from the utility power lines to the power coming from your generator.

Never plug a portable electric generator into a regular household outlet.
Plugging a generator into a regular household outlet can energize “dead” power lines and cause injury to neighbors or utility workers.  Always connect individual appliances that have their outdoor-rated power cords directly to the receptacle outlet of the generator, or connect these cord-connected appliances to the generator with the appropriate outdoor-rated extension-cord having a sufficient wire gauge to handle the electrical load.

Never overload the generator.
Overloading your generator can seriously damage your appliances and electronics, as well as the generator itself.  Always prioritize your needs.  A portable generator should be used only when necessary, and only to power essential equipment.  Your generator is also equipped to power only a certain amount of wattage.  Exceeding that wattage rating will also overload the generator.  Never operate more appliances and equipment than the output rating of the generator.

Safety, Safety, Safety
Remember “safety first” when operating a portable generator.

  • Always use the proper power or extension cords
  • Read and adhere to the manufacturer’s instructions for safe operation
  • Never store fuel indoors or try to refuel a generator while it’s running
  • Turn off all equipment powered by the generator before shutting down your generator
  • Keep children away from portable electric generators at all times.

Always plan ahead for your generator needs.
In the Pacific Northwest, fall and winter sometimes bring major storms that result in prolonged power outages.  Ideally, the best time to get a generator is well before the storm is announced.  Once the storm is announced, many times your local rental centers (as well as other outlets) almost instantly run out of generators.  If you find yourself in need of a generator, and looking to rent one, remember to call ahead to reserve a unit (or get on the waiting list if it’s storm related).

For more information on operating your portable generator safely, check out the following resources below.

http://www.consumerenergycenter.org/tips/generators.html

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/carbon-monoxide/DS00648/DSECTION=symptoms

http://www.usfa.fema.gov/downloads/pdf/fswy24.pdf

http://www.fpl.com/storm/generator_safety.shtml

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Preparing For Winter: Clean The Chimney

Posted: November 7, 2013 by Bunce Rental in Home Improvement, Safety Tips

Winter and snow tends to bring to mind images of curling up on the couch next to the fireplace. Before winter sets in, it might be a good idea to clean your chimney. Ash and soot can build up in the chimney, Making your warm, winter fire a health and safety hazard.

Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

The build up from soot and ash narrows the opening in the chimney, leaving less room for the smoke to get out. If the smoke and toxic air can’t get out going up the chimney, it will makes it way out into your living room. Not only could you be smoked out, but you run the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. This is also a good time to make sure your chimney flues are cleared of soot, ash, and cresote as well. The chimney flue is designed specifically to vent the exhaust gases from the fire out the chimney.

Chimney Fires

Usually behind the ash and soot is a build up of what is called cresote in the chimney. When you sweep the chimney, be sure to sweep this out as well. It’s a little more difficult to remove, but necessary to remove to prevent chimney fires. Cresote is the primary fuel needed to create a chimney fire. The chimney fire will soon spread to the rest of the house. Cleaning your chimney regularly will help prevent these hazards from occurring.  At Bunce Rental, we carry chimney sweep brushes, handles, and ladders to help you get the job done.

To learn more about how to clean your chimney, there are plenty of resources available including the following links…

http://home.howstuffworks.com/home-improvement/heating-and-cooling/clean-a-chimney.htm

http://www.realestate.com/advice/tips-on-how-to-clean-a-chimney-and-fireplace-69715/

The Family Handyman also provides you with some insight in how to tell if your chimney is in need of cleaning. http://www.familyhandyman.com/cleaning/when-to-clean-a-chimney-flue/step-by-step

You can always call and talk to our staff to learn more about cleaning your chimney at any of our locations.

Fall & Winter News & Events

Posted: November 7, 2013 by Bunce Rental in Uncategorized

With the holiday season approaching, we wanted to take a moment to let you know what’s coming up from our Toy Drive and Party Equipment Sale to our holiday hours.

Annual Party & Event Equipment Sale @ American Party Place

  • Friday, November 8, 9:00am – 4:00pm
  • Saturday, November 9, 9:00am – 3:00pm

It’s time again for our party division’s annual sale of retired and discontinued rental equipment. Stop by 4522 South Tacoma Way, Tacoma, WA 98409 and grab a great deal on old table linens, dishware – you never know what you’ll find.

Thanksgiving Hours

In honor of the Thanksgiving Holiday, Bunce Rental, American Party Place, and American Medical Rental & Supply will be closed on Thursday, November 28. We will resume normal operations on Friday, November 29.

Toys For Tots Toy Drive

Our annual Toys For Tots Toy Drive kicks off November 29. Drop off new unwrapped toys at any Bunce Rental, American Party Place, or American Medical Rental & Supply. Our elves will ensure the toys our delivered to the Toys For Tots warehouse to be given to underprivileged children in the area for Christmas.

Christmas Hours

In observance of the Christmas holiday, Bunce Rental, American Party Place, and American Medical Rental & Supply will be closed Wednesday, December 25. Bunce Rental and American Medical Rental & Supply will also be closed Christmas Eve, Tuesday, December 24. American Party Place will be open December 24 for party and event rental pick-ups from 9 am to Noon. All divisions will resume normal operations on Thursday, December 26.

New Year’s Day Hours

To celebrate the New Year, Bunce Rental American Party Place, and American Medical Rental & Supply will be closed on Wednesday, January 1, 2014.

Towing 101: Load Matters

Posted: November 7, 2013 by Bunce Rental in Towing

The trailer is hooked up to the truck. The lights are working.  Now it’s time to load the trailer.  Loading a trailer correctly is one of the most important steps of safe towing.  Safe driving practices and maneuvering are very important components, but safety truly begins with the proper loading of your trailer.  Proper positioning and securing of the load is key to driving your load safely from Point A to Point B.

Position Your Load

Loading your trailer heavier in the front (towards the vehicle) helps prevent swaying and whipping.  A trailer loaded heavier in the rear half will sway at a certain speed and can progress into whipping if you increase your speed.  The correct way to load a trailer is to put 60% of the cargo weight in the front half of the trailer (sitting forward of the front axle) and evenly distributed from side to side to provide stability.  The load may not extend more than three feet from the trailer and the height of your load may not be more than thirteen feet from the ground.

Do Not Overload Your Trailer

Proper loading is essential to safe towing.  Overloading (exceeding the trailers capacity or your towing capacity) a trailer can cause serious injury or equipment damage.  Certain items, like forklifts or scissors-lifts, may have too much of their weight centralized in a small footprint for safe towing.  Even though the overall weight may be less than the rated capacity of the trailer, these high density loads make it impossible to distribute the weight of the machine or load across the trailer, which is not only unsafe – but can also cause damage to the equipment or trailer.  For example, a 5000# forklift on a wood decked trailer will fall through the wood decking.

Secure your load

Once you have your trailer loaded as mentioned above, use cargo straps, chains, or tie-downs to secure your load to the trailer.  This will restrict the load from shifting while being moved, which not only prevents damage to your load or cargo – but also maintains the stability of the trailer by keeping the load heavier in the front half.  If hauling loose debris, we recommend covering it with a tarp to prevent material from falling out and obstructing the road or the view of other drivers.  Prior to hitting the road, check the trailer for loose items such as tools, trash, or even spare parts that could become a road hazard while towing your trailer.

Towing 101: Staying Connected Matters

Posted: November 7, 2013 by Bunce Rental in Towing

Imagine cruising down the road at 55 mph, towing your trailer behind you.  Suddenly, you hit a huge bump in the road, and your trailer becomes unhitched from your trailer ball.  Just like that, 6,000 pounds of metal is flying freely down the highway, ready to slam into oncoming traffic.

The coupler of the trailer you are towing has been designed to fit a specific size trailer ball.  As in the scenario above, attaching a trailer to a towing vehicle with an improperly fitting ball or hitch coupler can cause a serious accident – mainly the tongue of the trailer popping off the ball and disconnecting itself from the towing vehicle.

That is why you need a second line of defense when towing a trailer and this is where hitch safety chains come in.  Safety chains are used to keep the towing vehicle and the trailer connected in case they become disconnected while towing.  Not only is it just a good idea to have these on your hitch whenever you’re towing, but federal and local laws also require you to have safety chains equipped while towing.

Including hitch safety chains, there are three crucial components when attaching the trailer to the tow vehicle hitch.  The first is the hitch ball or trailer ball where the trailer coupler attaches to the tow vehicle.  Trailer balls come in a variety of sizes, so if you have a trailer ball, don’t assume it is the correct size.  The shank diameter of a trailer ball can also vary depending on the weight rating of the trailer ball.  Remember, the rating of the hitch ball is just as important as the hitch rating.

Hitch Diagram(Courtesy of www.autoaccesoriesgarage.com) – This diagram reflects the different components necessary for hooking up a trailer. They also provide a comprehensive guide to buying hitches on their website at http://www.autoaccessoriesgarage.com/Towing-Hitches/Research-Guide

Second is the hitch coupler, which is used to secure the trailer to the towing vehicle.  Some couplers have a “hand wheel” that can be turned to tighten or loosen the coupler to the hitch ball.  There are also “latch style” couplers that will lock onto the trailer ball to hold the coupler and ball together.  The most important thing to remember is the trailer ball and coupler must be the same size!

The third crucial component is the safety chains.  Safety chains must be secured every time you tow.  Make sure any kind of hitch you use has provisions for the connection of safety chains.  The safety chains should always be crossed to help prevent the trailer tongue from dropping to the road if the trailer were to separate from the tow vehicle.  Chains should be fastened to a solid area of the framework (of the towing vehicle) or to the area of the tow hitch designed for that purpose.  The chains should have some slack to permit sharp turns, but not drag on the road.

When renting a trailer from Bunce Rental, our staff will make sure you have the correct trailer ball, sized to the trailer hitch coupler and assist you with the proper hook-up and connection of your rental trailer.  We want your towing experience to be safe and accident free.  By following these simple guidelines, you can stay “connected” and towing with the utmost ease and safety.

Towing 101: Lights Matter

Posted: November 7, 2013 by Bunce Rental in Towing

Before legally towing a trailer on a public road, you have to have working trailer lights.  If your trailer lights don’t work, not only are you at risk of getting a ticket, but you’re also inviting an accident.  Trailer lighting is critical to letting other drivers know what your intentions are, mainly braking and turning.

I can’t stress the importance of checking your trailer lights before you leave on any towing trip, no matter how short.  This is why we work with you to make sure trailer lights are functioning to the best of our ability before you leave our yard.

All of our trailers use 4-wires on a flat plug to control basic lighting and brake functions: tail lights, brake lights, and turn signals.  Most trucks, vans and SUV’s (made since the mid-1990’s) include factory installed trailer lighting connectors.  If your vehicle has one of these connectors, we carry standard wiring-connection adaptors (provided free of charge with the rental) that should make installation a snap!

However, if your vehicle is not prepared for towing or requires a special wiring-connection adaptor, you will need to install or find the correct connection or adaptor.  With some planning and research, you can safely install a wiring kit into your vehicle’s wiring system, or take your vehicle to a professional camping or trailer shop and have the wiring installed there.  Remember, to tow a rental trailer it is your responsibility to ensure your vehicle has the proper trailer wiring and connection adaptors.

We also suggest you always have an observer confirm your tail lights, brake lights, and turn signals are working properly each time you hook up and several times during your trip.

For more information on you federal lighting requirements, check out the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s website, http://www.nhtsa.gov/cars/rules/standards/conspicuity/trlrpstr.html

Towing 101: Hitch Matters

Posted: November 7, 2013 by Bunce Rental in Towing

In determining the proper towing vehicle, it is equally important to know the trailer’s overall weight and tongue weight.  This information is key to making sure you have the correct hitch for the trailer you are looking to tow.

It is important to note that your vehicle and your hitch may be rated for different capacities.  If this is the case you must use the lower of the two to determine what you can carry or tow with your hitch.  To determine your vehicle’s capacities consult with your owner’s manual or your dealer. Your hitch capacities can usually be found on the hitch itself or, if it is an OEM hitch, in the vehicle’s owner’s manual or through the dealer.

With the majority of our trailer rentals, we require towing vehicles to be equipped with Class III hitches, which ensure a secure connection between your vehicle and the trailer, especially with heavier loads.  A Class III hitch is rated up to a 5,000 pounds towing capacity with a corresponding tongue weight in the range of 350 to 500 pounds.

R & P Carriages provides a more in-depth look at the different classes of trailer hitches on their website. http://www.randpcarriages.com/tech/TrailerHitchClasses.htm

Smaller class hitches may be acceptable on smaller trailers and equipment.  We take into consideration the following when ensuring the correct hitch: the size of the vehicle, the vehicles tow rating, the tongue weight of the trailer and the tow rating of the hitch.   Bumper hitches – attaching a trailer ball onto the vehicle bumper is not allowed.  As always, our store managers and service technicians make the final safety determination, ensuring that a vehicle’s tow package meets our insurance company’s guidelines.

Popular Mechanics also provides some great information on the correct way to tow a trailer and the importance of a proper hook-up between the towing vehicle and the trailer. http://www.popularmechanics.com/cars/how-to/repair/the-right-way-to-tow-a-trailer

If you don’t have the correct size ball to tow our trailers, we’ll provide one (with hitch) free with your rental.  For more information on our trailers and towing requirements, contact any of our stores.  Our staff is more than happy to answer your questions.