A portable generator is a lifesaver during a blackout. With a portable generator, you can continue watching TV, powering your appliances and charging your smartphone. But how do you find the right one and set it up? Here are five steps for buying, setting up and maintaining a portable generator.
1. Decide how much power you need.
Large solar battery generators can keep large appliances running for up to 24 hours on a single charge. These chargers require about six hours to fully charge using solar panels, or 18 hours using an alternating current (AC) plug.
A typical 5,000 watt gas-powered generator will consume about 18 gallons of gasoline in 24 hours. A more cost-effective and efficient option is an inverter generator. This type of generator will last eight to 10 hours on one tank of fuel.
Check out this guide to determine your power needs.
2. Research portable generator features.
Here are a few potential features to look for in a portable generator:
– Circuit-breaker-protected outlets to guard against generator overload
– Larger fuel tanks for longer runtime
– Integrated fuel gauges to help prevent power interruptions
– Safe to use with computers and other sensitive electronic devices
– Low-tone mufflers for quiet operation
– Fold-down handles and wheel kits for easy portability
3. Read the owner’s manual and follow safety rules.
Once you’ve purchased a portable generator, here are a few general rules to follow:
– Never run a portable generator indoors or in a partly enclosed area, such as a garage
– Don’t overfill the fuel tank and always allow room for fuel expansion
– Allow the generator and engine to cool completely before adding fuel
– Don’t smoke near fuel or a generator
– Don’t connect your generator directly to your home’s wiring or into a standard electrical outlet
4. Place the generator in a safe place.
When considering where to store or operate your portable generator, make sure there is at least five feet of space on all sides of the generator. Keep the generator away from rain and snow and make sure the generator is properly grounded.
5. Perform routine maintenance.
Your new portable generator will need its first oil change after 30 hours of use. After that, change the oil after 100 hours of use. You’ll also need to replace the spark plug and air filter every 200 hours of use. To make sure your generator is ready for an emergency, start up your generator every 30 days and allow it to run for a few minutes.