Bottom Line: Tips to keep your generator ready

Published: Sep. 5, 2023 at 6:36 AM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Whether it’s from a wildfire, hurricane, or ice storm, massive power outages seem to be happening more often.

So it’s no surprise portable generators are popular items and as Consumer Reports reminds us, the best time to make sure yours will work is before you ever need it.

A portable generator can help power what you need, but only if the generator fires up when you need it.

Generators can go months or even years without being used. But keep in mind the fuel in them can go bad over time.

That can clog the engine’s carburetor or fuel lines, and it may not start when you actually need it.

Consumer Reports generated some easy DIY generator tips.

To prevent those clogged fuel lines: Keep the generator’s fuel tank empty and have at least 10 gallons of fresh gasoline on hand. Also, always add a fuel stabilizer to your stored gas to help it last as long as possible.

Store your generator in a clean, dry, and ventilated spot that’s not attached to the house. This will prevent odors and toxic fumes from entering your home.

Storing a generator in your home or too close to it is dangerous because not only can vapors escape from gasoline, but gasoline is flammable and that could start a fire.

If you have some extra money, Consumer Reports says the safest and easiest way to use your portable generator is with something called a transfer switch that an electrician installs alongside your main circuit breaker.

A transfer switch lets you power whole circuits on your home’s panel without running individual extension cords to each appliance. They also let you power things that may not have a plug, like a furnace or a water heater.

A final word on safety: Never run a generator in an enclosed space or indoors. Always place the generator at least 20 feet from the house, with the engine exhaust directed away from windows and doors.

Consumer Reports TV News” is published by Consumer Reports. Consumer Reports is a not-for-profit organization that does not accept advertising and does not have any commercial relationship with any advertiser or sponsor on this site.

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