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Guidelines on using generators

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Those who are setting out to buy a portable generator should follow these guidelines

Power failures are a familiar occurrence for many South Africans and now with the prospect of rolling blackouts for the next few months, it’s no wonder sales of portable generators are soaring.

But while having quick access to emergency power is handy, Gerhard Kotzé, managing director of the RealNet estate agency group, notes that the use of petrol and diesel-powered generators comes with a big responsibility to ensure they don’t harm anyone in your home or neighbourhood.

Those who are setting out to buy a portable generator should follow these guidelines:

* Choose a generator with enough power for your needs. You will need to calculate the combined running wattage required by the various items you want to power and make sure your generator will deliver that or slightly above. Then check out the starting wattages of your items, select the highest one, and pick a generator which delivers at least that starting wattage.

* Choose a generator with enough outlets for the items you want to power.

Alternatively, look for one with a heavy-duty cord that has four outlets at the end.

* Choose a generator that has a long run-time before it needs to be refuelled.

* When setting up your generator, select a dry, well-ventilated area outside, away from any air intake into your shop or home, not a closed shed, garage or basement.

* Store the fuel for the generator in an appropriate container away from wood, plastic and other flammables.

Also make sure it is stored away from the generator itself and any other possible ignition source.

* Test-operate the generator once a week for 15 minutes or so to ensure it will work when needed and be sure to keep it maintained and serviced.


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