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Be Ready for Winter Power Outages

Be Ready for Winter Power Outages with a Generator

October 4, 2021 | Electrical, Homeowner Tips

Living in the Midwest means we often experience unpredictable weather. Having a backup generator for your home can alleviate some of the stress during a power outage. Learn about your options and take the proper steps now with your generator to ensure you aren’t left out in the cold this winter.

Standby Systems

There are two main types of generators that can be used to run your home during a power outage. Standby generators, such as the Generac Power System, are permanently installed outdoors by an electrician and kick on automatically when the power goes out. They are powerful enough to operate everything in your house at once. Since they operate on natural gas or propane, it means they can go weeks at a time without needing to be refueled. Another reason to think about installing a standby
system is that they tend to be much quieter than a portable generator. While they are more costly, they are the best choice for a worry-free winter. To learn more about what Mattex has to offer for a standby system, visit our website here:

Portable Generators

The other option for homeowners is a portable generator. These are a cheaper alternative to the standby generators, but come with more maintenance and work as well. As the name implies, portable generators are stored and pulled out in the event of a power outage. They have to be manually connected to the home’s breaker panel with a transfer switch. The transfer switch allows you to power things up via your circuit breaker panel instead of having to use extension cords running directly from the portable generator. This includes hardwired devices, such as your hot water heater and ceiling fans. Most portable generators are powered by gasoline and require around 12 to 20 gallons of gas per day. Since these will be temporarily stationed outdoors, it is important to provide a protective cover for the generator so elements such as snow and rain cannot damage the system.

Portable Generator Maintenance

Proper maintenance is essential for your portable generator. When a storm hits, the last thing you want to be doing is trying to set up your portable generator in the cold and dark. Planning is the key to minimizing these issues. While the weather is still nice,
inspect your generator and change out any parts such as air filters, fuel filters, and spark plugs. An oil change is probably a good idea as well. Deciding where you will place your portable generator in the case of a power outage is something you can plan now. Never run a generator inside the home, garage, basement, porch, or shed. The recommended distance to place your generator is at least 20 feet from the house.

If you plan on stocking up on fuel, be sure to use a fuel stabilizer if the gas won’t be used within 30 days. Running the generator once a month for about 20 minutes in the winter is a good idea too. This helps to run some of the fuel through and helps with starting. Finally, do a practice run with your portable generator. This will help you figure out roughly how long it will take you to set up, and will let you know if you are missing any necessary tools or supplies before you actually need them.