How To Use an Emergency Generator | Severe Weather Guide

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our outages are common after a severe

storm however a generator can be helpful

to keeping your family comfortable until

your electricity is restored it's best

to pick a generator up long before the

storm hits and be familiar with how to

operate it there are a variety of

options and guidelines for selecting the

best one

finding the right sized generator will

take a little planning to be sure you

have exactly what you need first make a

list of the items you want to keep

running such as the refrigerator lights

media and other critical mechanicals

check the manuals or data plate attached

to each device to determine the rated

wattage or how much it takes to run the

item for larger items like the

refrigerator you'll also need to know

the surge wattage or how much it takes

to start the item add up the rated

wattage for all items and add in the

highest surge wattage this total will be

how much wattage the generator needs to

supply don't overload the generator it's

not only unsafe but it can lead to

permanent or costly damage for items

you're supplying power to safety is

critical when it comes to operating a

portable generator first thoroughly read

and understand the instructions provided

by the manufacturer use the appropriate

heavy-duty exterior extension power

cords run them through a window or door

to the unit set up outside never setup a

generator in a garage a gas-powered

generator creates carbon monoxide so a

good rule of thumb is to keep it 20 feet

away from the house on a flat stable

surface also don't plug a generator into

a wall outlet back feed current can

create an extreme hazard for the utility

crews working to restore power before

you get started check for any gas leaks

in your home this is critical because

severe storms can cause leaks you smell

gas call a professional to repair the

lines before you turn anything on in

fact it's recommended to have a CO

detector on all floors of your house

just to be safe if you're looking to run

a hardwired appliance such as the

furnace you'll want to have an

electrician install a power transfer

switch system in advance

starting up most generators is a fairly

simple process however always read your

instruction manual prior to first use

make sure all chords are unplugged and

the gas is full

the generator again should be outdoors

on a level surface at a safe distance

from your home make sure you have fresh

fuel and always make sure the generator

is cool before you refuel also when it

comes to fuel store it away from the

generator for safety first make sure the

unit is outdoors on a level surface next

turn the fuel valve to the on position

set the on/off switch to on then pull

the choke handle out to the choke

position and push and hold the start

switch in the start position until the

generator starts and then gradually push

the choke handle into the run position

let the motor run for a while before

plugging things in once you are ready to

plug things in

start with the item that pulls the most

power once it's up and running for a bit

you can add other items alternating

circuits when it's time to add fuel turn

everything off and allow the generator

to run a little longer then turn off the

generator lift the fuel switch off and

unplug the extension cords allow the

unit to cool off and only then add more

fuel restart the generator as previously

instructed as with any motorized device

you'll want to ensure long trouble-free

life by doing the regular maintenance on

the unit as described in the manual

fresh fuel as well as oil and spark

plugs are important to keep a generator

running properly and ready when you need

it most when it comes to using a

generator preparing yourself is key and

now you know how to do it right