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How to Prepare Your Generator for Hurricanes and Severe Weather

Hurricane season is officially upon us. Even if you don’t live in an area prone to hurricanes, spring and summer can bring severe thunderstorms, tornadoes, and more. It’s just as critical to have your generator ready to go if the power goes out in summer as it is in winter. Here, your friends at WEN have collected some tips to help you make sure your generator starts up easily when you need it most.

1. Prepare ahead of time.

Make sure your household has the bare essentials covered. Make a physical list of the items and appliances you want to power in case of a power outage, and ensure your generator can power all of them. If others live at home with you, make sure they know how to operate the generator (if able), and are able to physically get to the generator. Consider having a professional electrician install a transfer switch, which makes switching from utility power to generator power a snap.

2. Catch up on maintenance.

If you’ve been neglecting your generator for a while, there is no better time than now to fire it up and take it for a spin to make sure everything still works properly. Perform any routine maintenance advised by your owner’s manual or the generator manufacturer. Stick to this schedule, and you shouldn’t have any problems in the future. If your generator won’t even start, here is a list of common reasons it may be having problems. If you need to order parts, tune up your machine, or get repairs done, now is the time to do that, not when the power is out, you’re sweating buckets, and getting feasted on by mosquitoes.

NOTE: NEVER run your generator indoors, or within 20 feet of doors or windows. Generator exhaust contains carbon monoxide, which is a poisonous, colorless, odorless, tasteless gas. 

3. Stock up on fuel.

If your generator runs on propane (LPG) or natural gas, then your fuel supply won’t go bad. It’s a good idea, though, to make sure you have enough on hand to power your chosen appliances for a few days. If your generator runs on gasoline, ensure you have enough on hand, and that it is fresh (within 30 days of purchase). Old, stale gasoline may not work well in your generator, and can lead to problems down the road, like gummed-up carburetors. Fuel stabilizer is your friend, and can help keep gasoline fresher for longer. It’s a good idea to keep some extra oil on hand as well.

4. Prepare a place for your generator.

No need to get out the decorative throw pillows, but it’s a good idea to make sure your generator has a dedicated area to run in case the power goes out. Make sure you can get to this area easily, you can keep it clear of foliage or other obstacles, and the generator is not exposed to rain (since after all, water and electricity don’t play nicely together). Make sure the exhaust pipe cannot get blocked.

NOTE: NEVER run your generator indoors, or within 20 feet of doors or windows. Generators emit carbon monoxide, which is a colorless, odorless gas.

5. Regularly test and maintain your generator.

WEN recommends that you run your generator at least once a month to ensure there are no problems. Make sure to plug in a couple of loads and run the generator for at least 15 – 20 minutes. Not only will this keep your generator in tip-top shape, it will help familiarize you with your generator, which means you’ll be confident and ready to handle the worst that storm season can throw at you. 

WEN offers a range of generators to suit your needs. If you have questions about maintaining, using, or purchasing a WEN generator, feel free to give us a call at 1-800-232-1195, or drop us a message here, to talk to our friendly and knowledgeable technical support team. Also, check out some of our other handy articles about generators and preparing for emergencies.

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