Power outages are inconvenient and, sometimes, a hazard, yet an outage can happen any time—snowstorms, severe thunderstorms or even a random transformer blow. The best way to combat the effects of losing power is to be prepared with your own generator to keep your home and family in the light.

What exactly do I need for my home?

Before purchasing a generator, it’s important to know what your needs are and what’s important to keep running. For instance, do you want to back up a few essential circuits, or your entire home? Do you want a home standby generator or a portable one, which you can use for camping, etc.?

Home standby generators will automatically supply power to your home, 24/7, whether you’re home or away. These generators, sold by Blind & Sons, automatically turn on within seconds of a power shortage and will automatically shut off once power returns. These are permanently installed and run on either natural and liquid propane gas. A typical house will have essential items that can average 5,000-7,000 watts of power to run.

Portable generators are exactly that—portable. You can use the generator for limited home standby power or on the road (i.e., on job sites, camping, etc.). Most portable generators run on unleaded gas. If you’re hoping to use a portable generator for an extended amount of time, look for a model with extended run time, as well as a fuel or hour gauge.

Inverter generators are great for small jobs—camping, tailgating, etc. These generators are known for better fuel efficiency and being clean power, low noise levels, and their lightweight/compact designs.

Maintenance

As with your air conditioning and heating unit, your generator will perform at its best under any condition under routine maintenance. Follow the manufacturer’s recommended maintenance schedule and have everything performed, including:
Check for, and remove/replace, worn parts
Change air and fuel filters
Lubricate parts as needed
Check fluid levels (coolant and fuel)
Check that control panel readings and indicators are accurate

Safety

Using a generator can be a little worrisome, so play it safe.
Know your generator’s rated wattage and don’t power too many appliances on one generator.
Portable generators should be used outdoors and away from the house (doors, windows, and anywhere else air can enter the home). Carbon monoxide poisoning kills 86 people each year, and using a generator indoors is one of the leading causes.
The National Safety Council recommends using a battery-powered carbon monoxide detector in the area you’re running a generator.
Since your generator must be used outside, remember to not operate your generator under wet conditions—protect it from rain and/or snow.
Allow the generator to cool before refueling, using fresh gasoline only.
Never operate the generator near combustible materials.
If you’re looking to use a home standby generator, do not plug it directly in your home outlet. Instead, have a qualified electrician from Blind & Sons install a power transfer switch.

If you have any other questions about owning or operating a generator, contact the technicians at Blind & Sons.