Having a portable generator opens up a number of opportunities to you, but perhaps one of the most critical involves feeding power to your home in an emergency. Getting the power you need for heat, keeping your refrigerator from defrosting, and powering a few lights can make enduring a severe storm a little more bearable. Without good practices though, you're likely to end up replacing your generator in the aftermath too.
Until your power is restored, make sure you're taking good care of your generator to ensure that it's not suffering any more than you are. This means performing certain basic maintenance tasks periodically, based on the time your generator has been running. Keeping the fuel topped off, as well as changing the oil and filter on a strict schedule will go a long way toward protecting your generator from wear.
If you haven't already, stock up on fuel, oil and filters before a major storm hits, since after the storm you may not be able to find what you need, even if you have time to go look for it. A complete oil change should happen every 50 to 60 hours of running, half that if it's a brand new generator. Since generators use a gravity fed fuel system make sure you keep the tank full, but be sure to unplug it and let it cool down before you start pouring.
Powering Your Home
For everyone's safety, make sure you're using extension cords from appliances to the generator. There are devices which will allow you to energize your whole home, but these will overtax the generator, and feed power into surrounding electrical lines. Not only will you be putting extra strain on your generator, and burning fuel, but utility workers attempting to restore service will be at risk of electrocution too.
When choosing extension cords, focus on heavy gauge cords designed to carry a large load to ensure you don't overheat the cord or under-power your appliances. Avoid closing doors on extension cords, regardless of the conditions outside. The pressure a door's edge can place on your extension cord can cause it to split, cut, or even short out, leaving you back at square one.
Taking a safe and thoughtful approach to powering your home with a portable generator (available through a local outlet such as D T R Services electric motors) will ensure that everyone is taken care of, including the utility company employees. It doesn't take much on your part, but it will make all the difference in the world when the time comes to power up your generator.
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