Stores running out of generators before potential storm

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Remember last year with the ice, wind and downed power lines?

If the local supply of home generators is any indication, many of you do.

Kingsland Ace Hardware in Cascade was sold out of portable generators as of Friday morning.

“We had about a half a dozen of our largest unit, that’s our most popular, the 8,000 (watt), and then 2 or 3 of the 6500’s and a couple smaller units but they’ve all sold out,” said Scott Kingsland.

He says usually, a run on generators happens after the storm hits and the power is out for a day or two.

But the predicted weekend storm has a lot of you thinking ahead.

“We have been on the phone with all the other local ACE hardware and they’re pretty much running into the same situation,” Kingsland said. “All ran out either last night or this morning.” 

Kingsland and other rent-alls in Metro Grand Rapids still had rentals in stock earlier in the day, but they were going pretty quick as well.

If you did find a generator in anticipation of the storm, you might have some questions.

So, here is a little generator 101.

First, decide what is important to power in your home.

“The core of the house will require 55 to 65 hundred watts. It will do just the essentials — your gas furnace, refrigerator, a couple lights. Things like that,” Kingsland said. “When you jump into something like an 8,000, it gives you that essential core plus a couple of little extras things, a couple more lights. Other things that you might want to add to the power supply.”

The larger portable units run about $1,000.

You also need heavy-duty extension cords and place the generator outside, far away from the home.

A generator running in a garage, other enclosed space or near interior doors can create a deadly carbon monoxide danger.

And remember the extra gas cans to keep the generator fueled and running.

You may want to consider having an electrician install a transfer switch, which allows your generator to plug directly into your home’s electrical system and prevent feedback into the outside line.

And don’t forget the generator when power is restored.

“Probably the number one mistake that people make once they buy a generator. They use it the one time and shove it in the back of the garage and let it sit,” Kingsland said.

Without a fuel stabilizer and a monthly start up, moisture can get into the fuel.

“By the time they need to use it again, it won’t start. It fails them. And it creates a lot of frustration for the consumer because of that,” Kingsland said.

As for the supply of generators, Kingsland placed an emergency order.

The good news is generators are being shipped in the next few days if you still need one next week.

The bad news, you may need one because the power is still off next week.