Hurricane Prep – One of the best things you can have after a hurricane is a portable generator.
When the power is out, generators can make your family more comfortable while you’re waiting for the power to be restored.
To be prepared with supplies for hurricanes, it’s best to purchase your generator before the storm, and to do that, you need to walk through your house and figure out what items you want to power.
It’s good to power the refrigerator, pumps, a few lights, and a radio or TV.
Each item should have a tag or owner’s manual that lists rated wattage, and then some larger items may also list surge wattage.
Rated wattage is what’s required to keep the item running.
Surge wattage is how much power is needed to start the item.
Add up the total rated watts for all of your items, and then add to that the largest surge wattage.
This is how many watts your generator will need to supply.
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Hurricane Prep – Using an Emergency Generator
Picking the right generators for your needs, is crucial.
Once you have your generator, read the owner’s manual and assemble it according to the instructions.
To operate your generators safely, there are a few things you need do remember.
First, don’t overload your generator.
You could damage your appliances.
Also, you want the appropriate extension cords.
Run your generator outside on a level surface at least five feet away from your home.
You’ll just have to run your extension cords through a door or a window.
Before you plug into your generator, walk through your home and check for gas leaks, because storms can sometimes damage gas lines.
If you do smell gas, don’t turn on any appliances, and call a professional to fix the lines.
It’s a good idea to have a CO detector on every floor of your house.
Also, don’t plug your generator into a wall outlet.
That can back feed power into the lines, which is dangerous for the workers trying to restore your power.
If you want to run a hard-wired appliance, ask an electrician to install a power transfer system.
Starting a generator is a lot like starting a lawnmower or a string trimmer.
Begin by unplugging any cords and making sure that it’s outside on a level surface.
Turn the fuel on, and then turn on the choke.
Push the engine switch to on.
Now, pull the recoil cord.
When the engine starts, move the choke to run.
If the engine doesn’t start, move the choke to half-run and pull the recoil cord again.
When it starts, switch the choke to run.
Backup generators provide power during outages and storms.
Safety is the key concern with generators.
Place your generator at least 5 feet from any building and 10 feet from windows and doors.
Never place inside a garage or under a covered porch. (use a storm cover)
Leave several inches above fuel in the for the fuel to expand.
Never fuel the generator while it is hot, running or electrical cords plugged in.
Plug what you want to run with you generator directly into the generator or use a HEAVY duty extension cord into the generator.
Do not overload your generator’s circuit.
Test you generator several times a year.
Extension Cords for Your Generator:
Good: 50 Ft All-Weather Heavy Duty 12/3 Gauge Extension Cord With Lighted Triple Tap Outlets -125 Volts 1875 Watts
Better: 50ft 10 Gauge Heavy Duty Lighted Triple Outlet Extension Cord – 10AWG 125Vac 15Amp 1875Watt
Best: 100 Ft. Heavy-Duty 10/3 Gauge Extension Cord with Lighted End
- QuickWinder RAP-200 Reel for Heavy Duty Electric Cord
- Heavy Duty GFCI Indoor/Outdoor Lighted Triple Outlet Extension Cord
If it doesn’t start, try again.
Let the generator run for a few minutes before plugging anything in, and make sure the circuit breakers are on.
When you plug in your items, start with the one that consumes the most power.
Turn it on, and let the engine stabilize.
Do the same for your other items, and when you plug them in, alternate them between the circuits.
When you need to add fuel, turn off your electrical items and let the generator run for a few minutes.
Then, turn off the generator and move the fuel switch to off.
Unplug the cords, add fuel to the baffle level, and restart.
Your generator will last longer if you perform some routine maintenance.
Just check your user guide for specifics like changing the oil, cleaning the spark plug, and changing the air filter.
You can find all of your maintenance supplies at Lowe’s, where you can also find other tools and supplies to help you prepare for heavy storms.