Power blackouts at your home or place of employment can be annoying, troublesome and expensive, depending on how long the period of darkness continues. Major companies usually have some type of backup system, and smaller companies may send everyone’s home.
The most common solution for a homeowner is to have a backup generator. There are two general classes of generators. The most common is the portable generator who can service a part of your electrical needs and runs on gasoline.
The there is the full-house generator is tied into your home’s electrical system and runs on natural gas or in some cases propane.
Backup Generators Have Limited Capacity
Backup generators running on gasoline have a limited capacity, but can be used for periods of several hours, allowed to rest, and restarted. The function they served can be changed as needed. Portable generators come in different sizes. Thus, a larger and more expensive generator will allow more functions to be served. If in doubt which generator you should choose, make sure that you consult the portable generator reviews and analyze the difference between the different models. Don’t forget that in addition to the generator, it is necessary to have several heavy-duty extension cords that can run from the outlets on the generator and into the house.
Use Common Sense—Keep the Refrigerator and Freezer Closed
The generator can be used to keep the refrigerator-freezer running, thus preserving food that the family will need. If you have a separate freezer, keep it closed unless absolutely necessary and perhaps connect to the generator for an hour or so a few times during the day to maintain the internal temperature.
Understand the Limitations
Some of the lights in the house can run off the generator. If the electrical outage is for an extended period of time, open the curtains and blinds so natural lighting can be during the day. Use the generator along with a good supply of flashlights for the evening hours. Portable generators usually cannot handle a 220 volt system, like a central air conditioner. However, the generator can run a microwave oven, toaster, etc. Be sure to read all the documents that came with the generator regarding usage, cool-down periods and numerous safety issues.
Generators Run On Gasoline—Use Caution
The generator runs on gasoline. Therefore, it may be possible to start with the gasoline kept in the garage to run the lawnmower, but that is not going to last long. A proper siphon pump can be used to remove gasoline from a car. If blackouts are frequent, keeping several gallons of gasoline in an approved container can be very helpful. Always let the generator cool before adding gasoline.
Be Considerate of Your Neighbors
When using the generator, there is going to be a considerable amount of noise. If you can help out your neighbors by keeping the baby formula cold or running a pizza in the microwave for dinner, they will be able to overlook the noise, and the exhaust fumes. It is also a good idea to let them charge their cell phones or laptop computers. They may return a similar favor someday.
A portable generator can be a tremendous aid if there is an extended power outage. However, do not rush to turn it on with every power outage. Contact the local electric company for an estimate of time before power is restored. If it is relatively short, keep the refrigerator and freezer closed, open a few windows and wait a reasonable time before cranking up the generator.