With a sales tax free holiday May 31-June 6 on hurricane supplies, Floridians will be stocking up. Portable generators, gas cans, and other hurricane preparedness items qualify as tax-free purchases, and here’s a few tips from the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute to help consumers.
When the lights go out, generators keep your home humming with light and power. When purchasing a generator, consider the types of items you need to power. Determine how many kilowatts are needed for essential items (charging family cell phones, a refrigerator, etc.) during an emergency.
Research generators online before you buy. Talk with experienced staff at the store or go online. Discuss safety features and ask about manufacturer fueling and care instructions.
Know what features you want. Circuit-breaker-protected outlets guard against generator overload. A larger fuel tank provides extra running time. Integrated fuel gauges help keep tabs on fuel levels and prevent power interruptions. Low tone mufflers mean quieter operation. Fold-down handles and wheels make it easier to move the generator.
If you are planning to use a generator, you should have a carbon monoxide detector. Now is a great time to pick one up and batteries are available tax-free during the sales tax holiday.
Identify the generator’s placement. Give portable generators plenty of room for ventilation. Place the generator outside and away from windows, doors, and vents that may allow carbon monoxide to come indoors.
Keep generators dry. Before a storm hits, identify how to cover and vent the generator. Buy model-specific tents or generator covers online, at a home center or hardware store.
Buy the right extension cords. Heavy duty extension cords suitable for outdoor weather are best, and they must be long enough to reach the generator.
Have the right fuel on hand before a storm hits in an appropriate container. Select containers that seal well. Store fuel in a safe place, away from heat sources and out of the reach of children. Label the can with the date of purchase and the ethanol content. Check filled cans regularly and replenish them if needed. Fuel that is more than 30 days old should not be used in any outdoor power equipment. Use the type of fuel recommended by the generator manufacturer. It is illegal to use any fuel with more than 10 percent ethanol in outdoor power equipment (for more information on proper fueling for outdoor power equipment visit www.LookBeforeYouPump.com).