Archive for March, 2009

Back up power has become an essential part of our daily lives. This is especially so since we have grown accustomed to experiencing man-made or natural calamities that we have no way of preventing. When the power goes, the bottom line is this; we have to deal with!

During these unfortunate times, people need a source of energy to power their appliances and other critical necessities. A classic example is the ice storm of 2009. It struck with very little warning and countless homes and businesses were left without heat and lights and had no access to travel due to the terrible condition of the roads. I have to say, you haven’t lived until the power goes out for days as the temperatures dip into the teens every evening and there’s no end in sight.

The good news is, some people were OK because they had a house generator in place and enough fuel stockpiled to cover them until the bad weather broke. In such situations, you can’t be without heat and lights for long, before something goes awfully wrong. That’s just one scenario; there are many other reasons and conditions in which the power goes out. In any event, you’ve got to be ready and a backup generator empowers you to do so.

As in the example I just used, a house Generator is important because you have no way of determining how long the power will be out. If you want to make sure that your household will remain in a good and stable condition, you should have back up power that’s on standby ready to go at a moments notice.

The time to buy house generator is now! The heavy season for buying generators starts right around August and remains strong throughout March. After that, dealers start throwing in some pretty awesome incentives because they want to keep their inventory moving. You can usually catch deals as much as twenty percent off and go as high as forty-five percent off. It does no store or generator dealer any good holding merchandise until next season.

The best place to buy a house generator is to start your search online at FindGenerators.net. This is the generator megasite and has without a doubt has made getting deals on anything generator as easy as giving candy to a baby. Prior to searching, you’ll need to figure out how much backup power you need. This is done through a simple process called generator sizing. PLEASE, don’t do like a lot of people and attempt to buy a generator without performing generator sizing. If you get the wrong size generator, you could damage your appliances or equipment and potentially damage the generator. None of which, you will be covered for. In that scenario, don’t even think about taking the generator back. As soon as store determines that you overloaded the unit, the refund department is going to shake their heads and inform you that you should have done generator sizing and since you broke it, you bought it! They’ll then encourage you to have a good day.

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Hello Generator Joe,

I might just have to tough out the next power outage. We went through a ice storm here in Maine this past winter and it didn’t turn out do good. We thought we were prepared after purchasing a 3500 Watt Generator from our local Home Depot last summer. When the power went out, I plugged my refrigerator, furnace and a few lights into the generator with the extension cords recommended by manufacturers. The next morning my wife pointed out that only the light in the refrigerator came on. In addition, there was a strange odor coming from the motor. After the storm cleared, Sears came out and checked out our refrigerator and the compressor was blown. Was this a cheap generator? Did I do something wrong? Should I not have used the refrigerator with the furnace?

Without you mentioning the Brand of Generator, I have no way of determining if it is a cheap generator. However, if you bought it from Home Depot, I highly doubt it, they have a reputation to protect. But in terms of the information you did provide, it appears as though you didn’t perform any generator sizing prior to purchasing your portable generator. Secondly, and right out of the gate, it looks like you went beyond the wattage of your generator. See my article: 7 Things That Will Cause Your Emergency Power Generator To Fail When You Need It Most and 3 Ways to Purchase The Wrong Emergency Power Generator. I’m saddened to hear about your experience, but to be quite Frank, it could have been avoided. How do you recover from this expensive mishap? First check out your generator to make sure that it’s fully operational. If it is, put it up for sale on a website such as Craigslist or Ebay and use the proceeds to get the proper emergency power generator for your needs. I wish you much success.

Joe Elliot, better known as Generator Joe

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Once you purchase an Emergency Power Generator, the next important thing after proper maintenance is fuel. How much do you need? How much do you store? How do you store it? What do you store it in? Those are critical questions you must have the answers to if you are going to be prepared for power outages. By addressing this issue now, you won’t be in a state of panic if the lights go out.

It goes without saying that an Emergency Power Generator without fuel is like a light bulb without electricity. If that light bulb has no electricity it doesn’t produce any light. If the generator doesn’t have any fuel, it WILL NOT produce any electricity. I realize that’s elementary. However, it becomes a serious issue when a person is facing an ice storm or a power outage and they are just about out of gas. The situation becomes critical if there is no access to gas stations. Now what? This is exactly what people face in real time.

During the ice storm that blanketed the eastern part of the nation in 2009, numerous people with emergency power generators ran out of gasoline. The primary reason why? They didn’t know the rule for storing fuel.

To be clear, this is a general rule, guideline or rule of thumb that we use to cover most scenarios. The standard emergency power generator has a five-gallon capacity. Based on that figure let’s do some math, which I hate incidentally. The average consumption rate for a generator hovers around 0.67 gallons per hour. That means that a five gallon tank will provide you with roughly a little over five hours of power.

The question is, “How many hours do you plan to operate your emergency power generator before needing to refuel?” To answer that question we’ve got to factor in variables such as inclement weather, gas stations closed, gas stations out of fuel, roads closed, vehicle immobile due to weather, etc., etc. There’s no way that we can say how long any of those variables will last or how long they will impact your community. What we can do is look at past history and come up with a rule of thumb.

That being said, we find that storing a thirty-two gallon supply of gas, in addition to the five gallons already in your emergency power generator, is a great rule of thumb to follow. That provides you with a total of roughly fifty-six hours of power. Incidents such as the 2009 ice storm, Hurricane Katrina, the blackouts in Florida and New York taught us an invaluable lesson: BE PREPARED! Assuming that you’re conserving fuel by only running the absolutely necessary appliances and devices, your fuel consumption may be a little better.

The next issue to address is the type of gasoline container to use. There are all types of gas cans on the market. Cheap ones. Medium range ones and expensive ones. They come in various types of materials such as metal, plastic and polyethylene. The issue here is threefold: (1) The size of the gas can and remember, we’re talking about thirty two gallons. (2) It’s ability to dispense gasoline safely. You don’t wont the type of gas can that you have to wrestle with the spout or it has known splashing issues. (3) Can it safely store gasoline in any element; hot or cold weather?

Taking those questions into consideration, there are a number of brands that can suit your needs. Some examples are, Justrite, Flo N’ Go DuraMax and Eagle and there are a few others. These manufacturers put out reliable products that will compliment your emergency power generator very well. The smart thing about storing gasoline for emergencies is this: keep recycling the gas if have no outages. That means, use the stored gasoline for other outdoor power equipment and then replenish your storage container with fresh gas.

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When you bought your emergency power generator, you intended for it to be there when you needed it most. The worst thing that could happen is the power goes out and your generator doesn’t start or fails to work as it was designed. Be clear on this next point; it happens! And when it does, it almost always occurs at the worst possible moment. Like in the middle of blizzard or during a snowstorm. In trying times like those, your generator has to be as dependable as the Rock of Gibraltar. Failed starts, sputtering engines and a low output is unacceptable. Here’s the good news; you can avoid those mishaps by addressing these common mistakes. To learn more, go to: 7 Things That Will Cause Your Emergency Power Generator To Fail When You Need It Most.

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The sole purpose of having an emergency power generator is to be able to have back up power when you need it. That last thing on earth anyone wants to experience is a power outage, grab his or her generator and it won’t start. Or, it runs sporadically. If this unfortunate mishap occurs during the winter, this could wreak havoc on so many levels. How does a homeowner or business owner end up in this unfortunate predicament? They make one or more of these three mistakes when purchasing their emergency power generator.

Mistake #1 – Not Doing Your Homework Prior To Buying
This happens more than you would think. I recently had an individual attempting to sell us a practically new 1000-watt generator. He ran it once and figured out after it kept shutting down that he purchased the wrong size emergency power generator for his needs. He ended up having a total of four problems: (a) He needed a 3500 watt generator. (b) He paid way too much for the 1000 watt generator. (c) The company didn’t allow returns after the unit had been fueled and cranked unless it was defective (d) He bought a cheap generator brand that was not in high demand.

Essentially, unless he can sell this unit on websites like Ebay or Craigslist, he’s stuck! When buying any generator, including an emergency power generator, do your homework. You need to know how much wattage you’ll need at start up and how much you’ll need once the unit is running. In the industry we call this generator sizing. When a person or a business doesn’t perform generator sizing, they almost always end up with the wrong generator,

Mistake #2 – Buying a Cheap Generator
When stores and companies advertise an emergency power generator at a ridiculously low price, its most likely a cheap generator. In many cases, the price is so low they literally make the deal too good to pass up. Especially when consumers perform price comparisons. Who in their right mind is going to pass up saving $350.00 on a generator purchase? I’ll tell you who, only savvy informed buyers. The truth is you can’t compare a cheap generator to any of the well know brands that have established a reputation for dependability, ruggedness, fuel efficiency and clean quiet portable power. Cheap generators cost you in the long run. You’ll end up using more for fuel, dealing with more maintenance issues and receiving less customer service.

Mistake #3 – Buying From The Wrong Source
Since the Internet, an incredible number of people have jumped on board the purported online bonanza. The problem is, the majority of these individuals have no knowledge of the products they are selling and therefore can offer zero support. It is becoming a common theme. A person launches a website struggles for months to make money and then BOOM! The website disappears into the vast ocean of expired domain names. If you bought an emergency power generator through such a website, you’re pretty much out of luck. Make sure that you purchase from an authorized dealer. If not, make sure that the company selling the generator can provide you with some type of onsite warranty service.

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