10 Portable Generator Safety Precautions

Posted by Hy-Tech Roof

Improper or careless use of a portable generator can result in potentially serious safety hazards, including personal injury, electrical shock, and fire. Alleviate these dangers, and achieve safe, reliable performance, by adhering to the following 10 precautions.

Read More

Topics: Power Supply

Total Harmonic Distortion’s Effect on Construction Power Equipment

Posted by Hy-Tech Roof

With proper operation and regular maintenance, high-quality power tools can last well beyond their warranties. Unfortunately, tools with advanced electronics and circuit boards—such as the Leister VARIMAT V2—also require the right power sources for maximum life and performance. 

When using an AC-power commercial portable generator, the consistency of the electric current is specifically important. On most generators, this is listed as total harmonic distortion (THD). The higher the THD, the greater the fluctuations in current flow. If THD is too high, it will overheat critical components, and if it is too low, it will negatively impact performance.

In this post, we will explain total harmonic distortion’s impact on power equipment, and detail what you need to consider when purchasing a commercial portable generator for your construction site.

What is Total Harmonic Distortion?

Alternating current (AC) gets its name from the fact that the electronic particles within the current regularly fluctuate polarity from positive to negative. This gives the flow of electricity the appearance of a sine wave (see below).

Source: Associated Power Technologies

In ideal conditions, the sine wave alternates between positive and negative consistently over a specific time period. However, a variety of factors can cause small distortions or irregularities, which show themselves as spikes and dents (see below).

Source: Associated Power Technologies

In the most basic terms, total harmonic distortion is the average percentage of how much an electrical current’s sine wave differs from what it would be under ideal conditions.

So in essence, the lower the THD, the more consistent and clean the power supply.

What Does This Mean to Your Power Equipment?

Power sources with higher harmonic distortion overheat, short out and damage the internal electrical components of power equipment.

According to IEEE Standard 519, Recommended Practices and Requirements for Harmonic Control in Electrical Power Systems, when a power source has higher levels of harmonic distortion the result is subtle malfunctions in the equipment that in some cases may have serious consequences.

To further emphasize the point, Associated Power Technologies in their paper, Total Harmonic Distortion and Effects in Electrical Power Systems, states that, “Unwanted distortion can increase the current in power systems, which results in higher temperatures in neutral conductors and distribution transformers... If left unchecked, increased temperatures and interference can greatly shorten the life of electronic equipment and cause damage to power systems.”

While this may not be a big deal for your basic power tools, a tool with a digital interface and advanced circuitry could:

  • Experience minor malfunctions that affect performance, such as inconsistent heat output from an automatic welder.
  • Shut down to protect itself against large spikes, resulting in brief work stoppage and possible delays.
  • Break down sooner than it would otherwise, causing avoidable downtime and costly repairs.

Ultimately, the quality of your work will be impacted, and repeatedly poor power will cost you hundreds or thousands of dollars in repairs and replacement parts.

Main Takeaway

When shopping for a commercial portable generator, most manufacturers will list the THD on the product specification table or on a label.

The IEEE Standard 519 recommends that computers and allied equipment, such as programmable controllers, use an AC power source with no more than 5% harmonic voltage distortion, with no single harmonic being more than 3%.

By making the investment in a clean, consistent power generator today, you will end up saving yourself time and money down the road. 

Hy-Tech Roof Pro Portable Generators

Made in the U.S.A., Hy-Tech’s Roof Pro Family of Portable Generators are the first generators designed by roofers for the roofing and construction industries. Download the Hy-Tech Roof Pro Portable Generator Brochure to learn more.


Read More

Topics: Power Supply

Flat-Roof Repair Tips for Damage Caused By Hurricane Sandy

Posted by Hy-Tech Roof

As we all begin to assess the damage done by Hurricane Sandy, one area that should be of key concern to all commercial building owners and managers is your roof. For flat-roof buildings, punctures or tears to roofing material caused by flying debris or the intense wind should be fixed right away to avoid adding water damage to your growing list of repairs. 

We’ve put together the following tips and recommendations to help ensure your roof is repaired correctly the first time.

Before You Start

Above all else, the first thing you need to do is find out what type of material your roof is made of. This information will be important because all repairs should be done using this same material.

The reason for this is that neither plastic, rubber nor asphalt form strong bonds when welded with different types of material. For example, a patch made of TPO welded to a PVC roof will not create a durable, watertight seal, and will likely leak.

There are a variety of materials your roofing membrane can be made of, such as TPO, PVC, rubber, modified bitumen or asphalt. If you are unsure what is used on your roof and it does not say anywhere on the material surface, contact the manufacturer or a reputable roofing contractor (see below for how to find a reputable contractor).

Warranty Repairs

Next, check to see if your roofing membrane is still under warranty. Many manufacturers offer a warranty that protects against damage, including punctures or tears.

Oftentimes, material manufacturers have a list of roofing contractors they have qualified to repair their roofing material. By working with one of these contractors, you know your roof will be properly repaired and remain covered under the warranty.

Small, Non-Warranty Repairs

For small flat-roof repairs, like punctures or small tears not covered under a warranty, we recommend Olympic Everseal Roof Repair Tape. This tape creates a strong, watertight seal on smooth-surfaced roofs, including TPO, PVC, rubber and non-granular modified bitumen. It is also available in common surface colors, like black, white and grey.

The repair process is simple:

1. Clean the surface with denatured alcohol and allow it to dry (less than a minute).
2. Cut a strip of tape to the desired length.
3. Remove 2-3 inches of the EZ-release liner from the start of the tape strip.
4. Position the tape over the damaged area.
5. Secure the start of the tape strip to the surface.
6. Peel the rest of the liner off and press the tap onto the surface.
7. Use a hand roller to further press the material down and ensure a strong, uniform bond is formed with the roofing material.

Watch this process on the video below.

Large, Non-Warranty Repairs and Granular-Surface Roofs Repairs

For large damage areas or repairs to granular-surfaced materials, the most important thing to do is work with a reputable contractor. Avoid contractors who contact you directly after a big storm and are based in a different state. We call these contractors “storm chasers,” and have worked with a number of contractors brought in to fix their shoddy work. 

To find a reputable contractor, your best bet is to contact your roofing material manufacturer and ask what contractors they’d recommend. You may also want to reach out to other building owners and see if they have a contractor they trust to deliver quality work.

If you have any questions, please contact one of our roofing experts at 800-635-0384. Good luck and stay safe.

Read More

Topics: Roof Repairs

Hy-Tech President Ken Paine Receives 2012 Visionary Award from Smart Business

Posted by Hy-Tech Roof

Ken Paine, president of Hy-Tech Products, was honored with a Visionary Award at the 2012 Smart Business Innovation in Business Conference held on September 20, 2012. Ken was one of four Northeast Ohio business leaders to be presented with this career-achievement recognition.

Visionary Awards are presented to business leaders who have demonstrated a history of innovative ideas throughout their careers, or have developed cutting-edge processes and products. Ken was recognized for the award largely due to his focus on customer service, product innovation and unique tolerance for risk. Read about why Ken was selected by Smart Business for this award.

In his acceptance speech, Ken offered a word of advice to fellow entrepreneurs: “Always do what you know to be right, and if you err, make sure it is to the benefit of the customer. When all else is equal, you can stand apart from the competition and grow a business by treating customers with respect, fairness and world-class service.

Watch Ken’s entire acceptance speech below.


A very special thank you to Smart Business for putting on the event, and to all the sponsors, including: Lorain County Community College; US Bank; Weltman, Weinberg & Reis Co. LPA; Colortone Staging and Rentals; Ohio.Net; and LaCenter.

Read More

Garlock Cobra Cart: How to Set Up the Multi-Man Fall Protection Cart

Posted by Hy-Tech Roof

The Garlock Cobra Cart is a roofing fall protection system for up to 3 contractors working at or near a roof edge. It is only intended for work performed on flat, level roofs with a maximum pitch of 0.5 in. over 12 in. (0.5:12).

The Cobra Cart has been tested and approved for:

  • Fall arrest—Stopping a worker after he or she has fallen off a roof, or
  • Fall restraint—Preventing a person from falling over the edge.

Specifically, the Cobra Cart is approved for use on the following substrates:

  • Built-up roofing systems (BUR)
  • PVC / TPO / EPDM fully adhered and loose-laid membranes
  • 20 gauge and 22 gauge metal decks
  • Adhered plywood and hardwood decking
  • 4,000 PSI lightweight concrete (2-person fall arrest ONLY)

In this post, we’ll detail the steps to properly hoist, set up and safely attach to the Garlock Cobra Cart. While this information was taken from Garlock’s operating manual, Hy-Tech Products recommends that every contractor working with the Cobra Cart read through the manufacturer’s instructions carefully before using.

Hoisting the Cobra Cart to the Roof Deck

Before hoisting the Cobra Cart to a roof deck, make sure that the roof can support the cart’s weight (1,000 lbs.) in addition to all material, equipment and personnel. Weak roof decks under this type of stress can collapse.

To hoist the Cobra Cart, use an OSHA-approved 4-point sling with a minimum-rated capacity of 2,000 lbs. Hook all four sling connection points onto the four cart lift lugs (1 connection point to 1 lug lift) (see right).

When attached, the sling’s chains should be long enough not to press against the cart. If they are too short, you will need to purchase longer changes as the stress put on the chains by the cart’s weight may cause damage to the cart or cause the sling to fail. 

Cart Set Up and Positioning

On the roof deck, remove all debris, loose roof coverings, and any ice, snow, water, oils, dirt or dust from where the cart will be positioned, as these may prevent the cart from locking in place.

Next, perform a pre-use inspection using the Inspection Label on the side of the toolbox.

To set up the Cobra Cart:

  • Make sure there is nothing obstructing the pull plate (square green plate that the green attachment rings are secured to) from extending forward, and that the claw can swing down directly into the roof deck should someone fall. 
  • Align the cart so its side runs parallel to the roof edge and is a minimum 15 feet (no less) away. 
  • Position it straight back from the work area (see right).
  • Make sure the cart handle points straight forward, and the angle brake (perpendicular bar located near the end of the handle) engages the tires to keep them from rolling.

Attach Contractors to the Cobra Cart

When attaching contractors to the Cobra Cart, use only self-locking snap hooks and carabineers that are specifically designed for fall-protection devices.

The Cobra Cart includes two types of attachment rings.

  • Yellow Rings (2 total): Use these rings when kneeling behind the roof edge. Adjust the length of the lifeline so the worker’s shoulders cannot extend over the roof edge. (Top Right)
  • Green Rings (3 total): Use these rings when working at the roof edge. Attach only one lifeline to each ring, and the lifeline should be adjusted to be no more than 2 feet longer than the distance from the cart to the roof edge. (Bottom Right)

When attaching snap hooks and carabineers to either rings, make sure all closures are fully closed and locked in place.

While attached to the Cobra Cart, make sure the angles of lifelines to the cart are no more than 45°. Venturing past this “safe zone” could cause serious injury or death should the worker fall.

If you have any questions, or would like clarification on any of the items addressed in this post, please contact Hy-Tech Products 216-661-5000 or email

WARNING: Serious injury may result if this product is misused. The manufacturer’s operating manual provides instructions for use and care of the Cobra Cart. It is important that all operators read this manual completely to ensure their safety and the ongoing performance of the cart.

Garlock Fall-Prevention Equipment Brochure

Garlock safety equipment is built to provide rock-solid fall-protection for your crews. Learn about their perimeter guardrails, warning line systems, skylight and hatch kits, and fall-protection carts. Download Hy-Tech's Garlock Fall-Prevention Brochure to learn more.

Read More

Topics: Garlock, Roofing Safety, Fall Protection

Garlock Ultra Cutter: How to Set Up and Operate

Posted by Hy-Tech Roof

The Garlock Ultra Cutter is a powerful commercial roof cutter designed to effectively slice through flat, level built-up roofs for reroofing applications. To maximize its performance and ensure operator safety, it is important that the machine be set up and used according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

The following offers an overview of the Ultra Cutter’s controls, along with pre-use checkup, prep and operating instructions. In addition to this post, we recommend that all operators thoroughly read through the operating manual before using, as it contains details on important safety precautions.

Garlock Ultra Cutter Controls Overview

Before operating, familiarize yourself with the Ultra Cutter’s controls, all of which are detailed below:

A. Handle: Where hands should be positioned when using the machine.
B. Depth Control: Raises and lowers the blade.
C. Throttle: Adjusts the engine’s speed.
D. Engine Shut Off Switch
E. Choke Lever: Used when starting a cold engine.
F. Starter Handle: Pull-rope to start the engine.
G. Gas Cap
H. Air Filter: Should be checked daily, especially in dusty environments.
I. Fuel Shut-Off Switch: Must be turned to the “On” position before starting.

Step 1: Pre-Use Checkup

Prior to turning on the Garlock Ultra Cutter, check that the engine’s oil levels meet the manufacturer’s specifications. Also check that there is enough gasoline (preferably unleaded) for the cutting job.

Next, ensure that the blade is tight and won’t wobble while spinning. The blade is held in place by a disc on either side, and a 1-in. nut. This nut should be tightened down with a wrench. Also, inspect the blade to make sure it’s not bent, broken or damaged, as this may cause vibrations that loosen the blade, which may possibly cause it to fly off.

Finally, turn the Depth Control (B) lever counter-clockwise to raise the blade off the roof’s surface. As soon as you start the engine the blade begins spinning, and if lowered, it will cut into the roof deck.

Step 2: Start the Engine

To start the engine:

1. Turn the Fuel Shut-Off Valve (I) to “On” position. The lever should be pointing straight down.
2. Slide the Choke Lever (E) into “Choke” position.
3. Move the Throttle (C) halfway between the slow and fast position.
4. Turn the Engine Shut Off Switch (D) to “On.”
5. Pull the Starter Handle until resistance is felt, and then briskly pull away from the cutter.

NOTE: Let the rope recoil itself slowly to avoid damage to the starter.

1. Do this until the engine starts, and then adjust the Choke Lever and Throttle until the engine is running smoothly. Give it a couple minutes to warm up.

Step 3: Operate the Cutter

To use the Garlock Ultra Cutter, follow the steps below:

1. Position the machine with the blade directly over the cut mark.
2. Turn the Depth Control lever clockwise to lower the blade to the roof surface for cutting. Lower the blade just enough to penetrate the top layers of the roofing felts and no more than half the thickness of the insulation.
3. Push the cutter forward only as fast as it will allow you to go while still making a good, solid cut.
4. To turn at the end of your cut, push down on the Depth Control lever to move the blade into idle position, and off the roof deck.
5. Push down on the machines handle so that the front wheel lifts off the ground, and then position the cutter at the next area of the roof.
6. When in position, slowly lower the front wheel and push up on the Depth Control to lower the blade out of cutting position.

Step 4: Shut off the Cutter

When you’ve finished cutting your roof deck:

    • Push down on the Depth Control lever to lock the blade in idle position.
    • Turn the Engine Shut-Off Switch to “Off.”
    • Move the throttle down to slow.
    • Slide the choke into off position.

After heavy use, give the machine time to cool down before transporting it off the roof otherwise it may cause accidental burns. 

If you have any questions, or need support for your Garlock Ultra Cutter, contact Hy-Tech Products at 800-635-0384 or email 

WARNING: Serious injury may result if this product is misused. The manufacturer’s operating manual provides instructions for use and care of the Garlock Ultra Cutter. It is important that all operators read this manual completely to ensure their safety and the ongoing performance of the cutter.

Read More

Topics: BUR, Roof Cutting