Is your generator ready for hurricane season?

Orlando, Fla. — If you’ve battled the long hurricane-prep lines and come home with a brand-new portable generator, congratulations!

Maybe you’ve just pulled out your dusty weathered generator from the shed. If so, this guide is for YOU too.

Here are some basic safety tips:

  • Operate it outdoors in an area with plenty of ventilation. Never run a generator in a home or garage. Generators give off deadly carbon monoxide.
  • Do not plug a generator into the wall to avoid back feed. Use heavy-duty extension cords to connect appliances to the outlets on the generator.
  • Turn the generator on before plugging appliances to it. Once the generator is running, turn your appliances and lights on one at a time to avoid overloading the unit. Remember, generators are for temporary usage; prioritize your needs.
  • Generators pose electrical risks, especially when operated in wet conditions. Use a generator only when necessary when the weather creates wet or moist conditions. Protect the generator by operating it under an open, canopy-like structure on a dry surface where water cannot form puddles or drain under it. Always ensure your hands are dry before touching the generator.
  • Be sure the generator is turned off and cool before fueling it.
  • Keep children and pets away from portable generators. Many generator components are hot enough to burn you during operation.

First, if your generator has been stored improperly with gasoline in the fuel tank or carburetor, all of the fuel must be drained and the carburetor must be cleaned before you can use your generator safely.

  1. Take your generator out of storage and place it outside.
  2. The first thing you'll need to do is add fresh, regular octane fuel. Make sure you don't overfill the tank so you can allow for fuel expansion.
  3. Next, you're going to want to check for fuel leaks. Make sure your engine switch is off, then, turn your fuel valve on. Wait five minutes and then check the carburetor and air filter areas for leaks. If you do happen to discover a leak, you'll need to disassemble your carburetor and clean it or replace it.
  4. If you don't find any leaks, you can go ahead and turn your fuel valve to off, use a dipstick to check the oil level and add fresh oil if necessary.
  5. Next, take a look at your air filter and make sure there are no obstructions like bugs or cobwebs. Remove any obstructions you find and clean and replace the air filter according to your owner's manual. 

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