If you are thinking of buying a generator that is just the first step. Action News Anchor Christine Park has important do's and don'ts from installation to storage.
Paul Maniscalco services all types of outdoor power equipment. He says when it comes to generators, his customers do not realize they need regular maintenance.
"They let it sit for a year or two and then expect a miracle," said repairman Paul Maniscalco.
Consumer Reports' Dave Trezza agrees. He tests portable generators and says there is a lot to know in order to be all set in an emergency.
First, you want to get a larger portable generator. Consumer Reports recommends buying one that's at least 5,000 to 7,500 watts, with a 240 volt outlet.
"You can hook it to a standard transfer switch, which an electrician can install for you," Trezza said.
Installing a transfer switch also prevents you from a making a big mistake. Connect your generator directly to your circuit box.
"If you hook it up improperly, you could cause an electrical or fire hazard," Trezza said.
When you run your generator, it poses another threat, carbon monoxide poisoning. To prevent that, you need to keep the generator at least 15 feet from your house and point the exhaust away from your home. Also, be sure nearby doors and windows are shut.
" Many people don't realize that portable generators should be covered when it's raining or snowing. Manufacturers do make special covers for this purpose," Trezza said.
To make sure your generator will start when you need it most use a gas stabilizer. Also replace the gasoline with fresh fuel every six months.