WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - One year ago today, we were dealing with the aftermath of tropical depression Beryl, which moved ashore several days before the official start of the Atlantic hurricane season. This Saturday begins the 2013 season, and the government is predicting an "above average" hurricane season.
When tropical weather hits, the lights usually don't stay on for long, and for many people, a portable generator is almost as important as your flashlights and batteries.
But if your generator has been sitting in your garage since the last hurricane season, nothing may happen when you pull the cord.
Just like other small engines, gasoline containing ethanol can cause your generator to not crank, or if it does, not run smoothly.
"When it is left in there for any time, even with some of your better fuel stabilizers, it seems to gum up the engines," said Rick Parrish, owner of Honest Injun Equipment Company.
So long before the real threat of tropical weather arises, get the generator into a service center, because when the storms are bearing down on the area, and you go to get the generator out, and find it won't start, chances are it will be days after the storm passes before you can get someone to look at it.
If you don't already have a generator and are looking to buy one, do your homework first. Medium emergency generators may be relatively small, but they pack a good punch and can power multiple appliances, including your refrigerator and fans.
Be sure to keep safety in mind, gasoline is extremely flammable and explosive, and if the tank is over-filled, fuel can overflow onto a hot engine and cause fire or explosion.
And always operate your generator in a well ventilated area.
"A lot of people may be sleeping during a storm and at the time the generator is operating, so make sure there is no way the fumes from the generator can get into the home," said Parrish. "And also when you need to refuel, be sure to shut off the switch on the generator, cut the engine and wait at least five minutes before you refuel and then you can start back up."
A little common sense can help you whether the storm, and prevent an already bad situation from getting much worse.
You can get more generator safety information and storm tips by attending Storm Fest Saturday, June 1, at the Cape Fear Museum on Market Street, in Wilmington.
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