Buying a portable generator to provide backup electricity during power outages can keep the house functioning with the lights on and the refrigerator running until power returns. While the operation of these machines is relatively straightforward, if you have just purchased a new generator or are about to buy one, there are 3 things you don’t want to do with your portable generator the first time a blackout occurs. When reviewing this list, keep in mind that power outages aren’t limited to daylight hours and that doing any of these activities in the dark will make them exponentially more difficult.
1) Try to figure out the best location for the generator – Your portable generator will most likely be connected via extension cords to the appliances, lighting, electronics, etc. in your home. These connections will require a location that is close enough for the cords to reach but not so close that dangerous emissions can be vented into the home. Rather than trying to sort out the best location for the generator during crunch time, determine a place in advance that will allow for safe operation and easy connections to items that will be powered during the blackout.
2) Pull the generator out of storage and wheel it into position – Even on wheels, portable generators can be relatively heavy, with smaller units starting at just under 50 pounds and larger ones exceeding 200 pounds. Getting the generator into position can become even more challenging if the path has steps, obstacles or uneven surfaces. Once you have determined the best location, select the easiest route for the generator, remove any obstacles that are in the way, and do a test run to see if there are any other issues that should be addressed before the first use.
3) Fueling – Under normal conditions, putting gas in the tank is a relatively easy process, but it can become difficult if you’re trying to find the gas cap and fill the tank in the dark. Instead, familiarize yourself with the machine and have gas as well as a fuel stabilizer in the tank so that you’re ready to go.
Planning for the use of your portable generator in advance can eliminate many of the issues that can arise from trying to take the above-mentioned actions for the first time after the power goes out. By knowing where the generator is going to go, how it’s going to get there, and having fuel in the tank, you will have your home powered up quickly and efficiently when the next blackout occurs.