The hunt to find a generator, how to prep it before the storm hits

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – So many of you have been going store to store, hoping to get your timing right and be there as new shipments of generators arrive.

Ag-Pro Companies of Florida on Philips Highway -- which is a Honda generator dealer -- is just one of many stores that are receiving new shipments. The store tells News4Jax that 50 more generators are on the way and will take pre-orders. You can call (904) 240-0475. 

Odie Dolores was there at Ag-Pro hoping to buy one that was in her price range.

"We live on the creek side, and have a lot of groceries, you know. I could do without the electricity but the food is what I’m concerned about," she said.

With generators in such big demand, once the new shipment of portable Honda generators arrived, they were selling quickly.

"Our phones have been ringing off the hook," said Jeff McClendon, an equipment sales representative with Ag-Pro.

Generators are hard to find right now for a couple of reasons. A lot of generators were shipped to Texas to help those impacted by Hurricane Harvey and others are being used right now at numerous construction sites around Jacksonville.

If you are still looking to find a portable generator to buy before Irma arrives, keep checking with local stores because they are trying to get new shipments in.

Storm-prep your generator

Whether you just bought a brand new portable gasoline generator, or you already had one, the last thing you want is trouble using it when the storm hits. Consumer Reports offers these steps to keep your portable gasoline generator up and running.

1. Always have enough fuel. You’ll need more than just what the generator’s tank can hold. Figure on 12 - 20 gallons per day to keep it running 24/7.

2. Add a fuel stabilizer to keep the fuel fresh. If your gas is old, your generator might be difficult to start, won’t run properly, or might not run at all. This also eliminates the need to drain your tank when you’re done using your generator.

3. To save gas, run it for several hours to get your essentials running and then turn it off to save your fuel.

4. Pay attention to the oil. Many portable generators automatically shut off if the engine oil gets too low. So check the oil before you even start your generator to avoid disruptions in your power -- or worse, damaging your generator. If the oil is low, add only enough to bring the level to the “full” mark.

5. If you want to go the extra mile check the filters. Change paper air filter if they’re visibly dirty. For foam filters clean it in soapy water, let dry, and re-oil according to the manufacturer's instructions.

6. Many generators have a filter cup at the fuel tank opening. If it’s dirty, tap out any solid bits and wipe with a clean rag.

And remember, avoid carbon monoxide exposure. Never run your generator indoors - not even in your garage -- and don't put it near open windows or doors.

Also, Consumer Reports says don't run a portable generator in the rain. The exception is if you cover and vent it. (Model-specific tents can be bought online and generic covers can be found at home centers and hardware stores.) Read the full list of Consumer Reports' generator safety tips.

Once the storm is gone, Consumer Reports says your generator needs exercise. Once a month you'll want to start it up and let it run for about 20 minutes. This burns off moisture, lubricates the engine and recharges the battery.

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