Here's how to test your generator before a hurricane hits

Save up to 20 percent on hurricane supplies in June at your local ACE Hardware

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Even a weak storm, much less a hurricane, can knock out power for days at a time. That makes owning and maintaining a generator a way of life in some neighborhoods, particularly in Northeast Florida.

That's something Art Speight knew before his family lost power last summer during Hurricane Irma. He and his loved ones were prepared and they relied on their generator for days after the storm.

"We had a TV going and an air conditioner going and the refrigerator going all on the same 2,000-watt generator," said Speight.

But what if your generator doesn't crank? There typically aren't any repair shops open and the food and perishables in your fridge warm up quickly.

That's why Channel 4 and your local ACE Hardware stores are giving you some hurricane homework, as part of our ongoing Build-a-Kit That Fits campaign. So give your generator a test crank as soon as possible. That way, if there is a problem, you'll have plenty of time to get it repaired.

There are some tips you can use to keep your generator running properly when you store it after a storm, according to Ron Wood with Proctor ACE Hardware in Ponte Vedra.

"If at all possible, you should let it run until it runs out of gas. But if you already have filled it up, the best thing to do is to use StayBill or something like that that will keep the gas from corroding and messing up the carburetors inside."

If your generator won't crank and fuel is not the culprit, Wood suggests taking a look at the spark plug.

"Pull the spark plug and, if at all possible, ground it against the frame of the generator," he said. "And if when you pull the crank, you see a spark, then you know that is firing."

Remember, we want you to be as safe and comfortable as possible when the next storm heads our way, and a working generator is a major part of that equation. So to recap, test your generator now before it's too late. If it's working, make sure you store it properly.

As a bonus, for the next nine days you can get up to 20 percent off at your neighborhood ACE Hardware store on supplies you need to brave the storm. So now's your chance to stock up on extension cords and gas cans to make sure you're not left in the dark when the power goes out.

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