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Things to remember in generator use.


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This is a list I just made up for my 3 grown children and their spouses. Most know this stuff, but some really need to be told what to do. Last winter's ice storm, and no power for 8 days, was really tough for so many. Thank the Lord, we had bought a generator in the fall. Small one, 7,500/5,000, so not a whole house set up.

 

 

Lessons learned in the 2009 Ice Storm, using a generator.

 

If you learned something we don't have on here, please add to the list.

 

1. Store plenty of gasoline. You will use much more than you can imagine.

 

2. Wash/dry all dirty clothes before the storm hits. DO NOT use the clothes dryer with a generator.

 

3. You will have to alternate electrical items all the time. We could not use the microwave and much of anything else, lights maybe. Don't turn on any unnecessary lights.

 

4. With an electric stove, we could only use one burner, and not use the microwave at the same time. Could not use the oven at all.

 

5. We only used the gas central heat sparingly, because the electric fan forces the heated air. Do not try to run an appliance when you are using the heat. Not sure if an electric heat system could even be used with the generator. Did have a gas log fireplace, so that helped.

 

6. DO NOT use an iron, hair dryer, or any other non-vital electrical appliance. NO, a hair dryer is not essential. Use as few lights as possible. TV is a luxury, if you even have it. Our cable was down, too. If you have cable or dish, and use the TV, it will be a drain, so forget the TV, and get busy doing something that uses your energy, not the generator's.

 

7. DO NOT USE AN ELECTRIC HOT WATER HEATER. If you have an electric hot water heater, make sure the breaker is OFF. If you must have hot water, turn everything else off, let heat up as little as possible. Switch the breaker back OFF, and use the water sparingly. No dishwasher use, and no baths unless absolutely necessary, as in you have to go to work, or the group is beginning to smell.

 

8 We were constantly turning the refrigerator and freezer off and on. Tried to only run each one enough to keep the food cold/frozen. Eat ice cream first, it will melt. Don't try to use fridge and freezer when much besides lights are on.

 

9. Use your head, not electricity. Having a little electricity to use is far better than having none, ask our family and neighbors.

 

10. Always listen for a change in the sound of the generator. If it is laboring, starting turning electrical stuff off, NOW. Burn a generator up, and you will be out of luck. (This is specific to a couple of people, who would expect someone to immediately come and fix what they burned up).

 

11, Expect to be tired all the time. A generator is real work. You have to think wisely all the time, work carefully, use your brain. It is well worth it, but it is a job within itself.

 

12. Watch out where you set the generator. People have caught their houses on fire with generators. Talk about being in a bad way, that is it.

 

We also let brother and neighbor run cords to their homes just to keep fridge/freezer going. They helped with the gas, and we co-ordinated their use with ours.

 

I repeat, using a small generator is work. We do have our house wired so we can just plug it into the system (not sure how they did this). There is a small red light on the box to indicate when the power is restored. Don't want to run the gen when the power is back. Another job, is running out to check that little red light. Especially, if you see houses in the are getting lights.

 

One might be able to calc a way to use more electrical things at once, but we wanted to err on the side of caution. Our first time to depend on a generator.

Edited by Virginia
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Very good advice.

 

12. Watch out where you set the generator. People have caught their houses on fire with generators. Talk about being in a bad way, that is it.

 

also, make sure it's not too close to doors or windows, where the carbon monoxide could get into the house. Those fumes get into the smallest of cracks.

 

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3. You will have to alternate electrical items all the time. We could not use the microwave and much of anything else, lights maybe. Don't turn on any unnecessary lights.

 

10. Always listen for a change in the sound of the generator. If it is laboring, starting turning electrical stuff off, NOW. Burn a generator up, and you will be out of luck. (This is specific to a couple of people, who would expect someone to immediately come and fix what they burned up).

 

In the aftermath of a storm a few years ago, we were without power for about a week. We quickly discovered that our smaller generator could not run the water pump. It did not generate quite enough juice to run the pump's motor correctly. we could "hear the sounds" of both machines struggling. DH unplugged the waterpump. We ended up running a long extention cord from his Mother's house (that has a Large generator wired in) just to run that pump. We did purchase a Large generator very soon after that .

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Also, make sure that your grid service is shut off. Throw the switch. If the power company people are working on the line they know their line is dead and work accordingly. If the path is clear from your generator to where they are working, you can electrocute the person.

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