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August 2, 2013

Generators offer benefits during lengthy power outages

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Ty Holland
Special to the Scout

Modern portable gas generators are both fuel efficient and quiet. There are many on the market, so it is advisable to research different brands before purchasing one.

With monsoon season in full swing, expect occasional power outages as storms and wind down power poles or cause other damage that disrupts electrical service. Outages can last for only a few seconds or several hours or longer.

With this in mind, generating emergency power can help save perishable items in the refrigerator or freezer, and power a fan to help cool the house and keep it more comfortable. Purchasing a generator can reap benefits when electrical power is lost.

Modern portable gas generators are both fuel efficient and quiet. They may not be needed very often, but they often prove their worth during lengthy power outages.

A generator which supplies about 2,000 watts can support both a refrigerator and fan when electric power goes down. Connecting an uninterruptable power supply, or UPS, to the gas generator will help smooth out power delivery when the generator needs to be refilled, as it provides power during generator refueling.

The UPS wattage rating should match that of the generator. Connect the power and extension cords from both the refrigerator and fan to the UPS. The only thing connected to the generator will be the power cord from the UPS.

Both the gas generator and UPS should be operated in a well-ventilated, dry outdoor area. Use only heavy-duty, outdoor rated, 12-gauge, three-prong extension cords with the units. Two gallons of gasoline will run a 2,000-watt generator for up to eight hours. Store gasoline outdoors in an approved plastic container designed for that purpose.

After purchasing a generator and UPS, read owner’s manuals for detailed maintenance instructions.
Generators need to be maintained through regular oil changes. Run the unit for at least 15 minutes about once a month. If a generator is stored in the corner of the garage with no maintenance, it may not start when needed.

Remember that a 2,000-watt gas generator cannot be used to power an entire home during a power outage, but it can keep perishables fresh and a home more comfortable during emergencies.

Not all generators are alike. For additional information on generating emergency power, visit a local generator dealer or search the Internet. Before purchasing a unit, it is helpful to do research online or talk to friends or neighbors who own and have used generators to get their recommendations.




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