Monday, November 25, 2013

How to Prep a Portable Generator for Winter

With winter fast approaching, you should winterize & prep your generator in case you lose power.

  • Always store portable generators in a dry, clean area that is easy to get to (such as a garage or shed). When the lights go out, you don't want to trip over things to get the power going.

  • Remove your generator from storage; drain the old gasoline (if necessary) from the tank and dispose of it properly. Inspect the fuel line and components for cracks or damage and replace if necessary.

  • Fill the generator with fresh gasoline. If the generator is likely to sit long periods of time before being run again make sure you use a gasoline stabilizer.

  • Start your generator at least once a month and let it run for a short period of time with a light load on it. If your generator has electric start, trickle charge the battery from time to time to ensure it is ready to go.

  • After the generator has warmed up, put a light load on it to exercise the alternator (after about 15 minutes of running). Turn off the fuel valve and run the fuel line dry.
  • After the engine stops, turn off the run switch and change the oil (if necessary) and put the generator back in storage following the manufacturer’s storage procedures.
  • Change the oil using winter weight oil (lower viscosity) to help the generator start easier. Switching to lower viscosity oil in winter ensures that the oil will start lubricating the moving parts sooner because it is thinner and flows better at lower temperatures than thicker oil.  Because every manufacturer has their own recommendations on oil always consult your owner’s manual for the recommended oil to make sure that you don’t void the warranty. 

  • With multi-viscosity oils such as 10W-30 or 5W-30, there is no need to change oils types based on the season or temperature.

  • If you had any trouble with the generator during this test, take it to an authorized service center to ensure that it's in good running condition before the snow starts falling.

  • When running your generator in the sleet or snow, keep it protected using a portable shelter such as the GenTent.
Stay warm and jolly this holiday season, and keep your family happy with a backup generator.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Best Place to Run a Portable Generator During a Power Outage

Where to place your portable generator when the power goes out
Portable generators can help restore life to normal during emergencies, but deciding where to place your generator requires care and planning due to the carbon monoxide it produces.

What is Carbon Monoxide?
Carbon monoxide (CO) is a poisonous gas that is created when common fuels such as natural gas, oil, wood, or coal burn incompletely. This odorless, colorless, tasteless gas is often called the “silent killer” because it is virtually undetectable without the use of detection technology like a CO alarm.  Extremely high levels of carbon monoxide poisoning can be fatal within minutes.

Always thoroughly read the manufacturer’s instructions. This can help avoid dangerous shortcuts and assist you in ensuring safe operation of your generator.

 Keep emergency portable generators away from all open windows so deadly exhaust does not enter the home or business.

 Be a good neighbor. If the power is out, your neighbors are probably sleeping with their windows open. Consider placing the generator away from your neighbor’s windows.

Never use a generator indoors, including in homes, garages, basements, crawl spaces, and other enclosed or partially-enclosed areas, even with ventilation. Opening doors and windows or using fans will not prevent (CO) build-up in the home.

Install battery-operated CO alarms or plug-in CO alarms with battery back-up in your home, according to the manufacturer’s installation instructions. The CO alarms should be certified to the requirements of the latest safety standards for CO alarms.

Test your CO alarms frequently and replace dead batteries. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), unintentional CO poisoning claims more than 400 lives a year. More than 20,000 people visit the emergency room and more than 4,000 are hospitalized due to exposure to toxic levels of the colorless, odorless gas. Fatality is highest among people 65 and older. Many of these deaths and illnesses stem from unsafe use of portable generators, often in the aftermath of devastating storms and other causes of electric power outages.