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John F. O'Hara

John F. O'Hara
731 W Skippack Pike  Blue Bell  PA 19422
Phone:  610-277-4060
Office:  215-643-3200
Cell:  267-481-1786
Fax:  267-354-6973

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5 Tips for Generator Use in Winter

October 22, 2015 2:42 am

With winter projected to bring unseasonably cold temperatures across much of the United States, homeowners should prepare now for possible power outages by inspecting and tuning up portable generators.

"Don't wait until it is zero degrees and the power goes out," says Dan Roche, director of marketing for Briggs & Stratton's Portable Power and Cleaning Systems division. "Because portable generators are not typically used unless the electricity goes off, it is important that users inspect, tune up and are prepared to safely use their generator before a power outage occurs."

To ensure your portable generator is operating efficiently, Briggs & Stratton recommends:

1. Thinking about fuel. If you have your generator in storage and do not plan to use it within 30 days, stabilize the gas with fuel stabilizer. Add the stabilizer according to package directions and run your generator for a few minutes to circulate the solution through the carburetor. This is also a good time to rotate your fuel supply. Pour the gas from your stored fuel into the car and fill up the gas cans with fresh fuel, again adding fuel stabilizer for storage.

2. Changing generator oil. Make sure your portable generator has enough oil to keep it running smoothly. Many generators shut down automatically to protect the engine if the level gets too low. To keep yours protected and ready for a winter storm or home emergency, check the oil level whenever you add fuel by referencing the dipstick and filling to the full marker. Keep a few quarts of oil on hand in case of emergencies. Refer to your engine manual for exact specifications.

3. Inspecting replaceable parts regularly. In addition to the engine oil, check out the carburetor, air filter, fuel filter and spark plug regularly according to the portable generator owner manual. Maintain your generator according to the maintenance schedule for peak performance and safety.

4. Getting a transfer switch. A manual transfer switch is the best way to use a portable generator for emergency use, as it connects directly to a home's electrical system to power furnaces, refrigerators, pumps and more. When engaged, a manual transfer switch isolates the generator power from the incoming utility lines, which is important to not endanger utility line workers and ensure the generator is not overloaded. A dedicated cable connects the generator to the transfer switch through an inlet box. This method protects the integrity of a home's electrical wiring, safeguards the generator and eliminates running multiple extension cords from the generator into the house.

5. Knowing how, where and with what. Keep a flashlight handy so you will be able to find your way to your generator and learn to start, adjust and shut off your generator to make sure you are familiar with how you will operate it when there is a power outage. Running your generator occasionally will not only help you learn to use it, but will also keep the engine well-lubricated.

Briggs & Stratton also encourages homeowners to think about where you will place the generator when you do need to use it. Do not run a generator inside homes, garages, crawlspaces, basements, sheds or similar areas, even when using fans or opening doors and windows for ventilation. Deadly levels of carbon monoxide (CO) can quickly build up in these spaces and can linger for hours, even after the generator has shut off. Place the unit outside and far from doors, windows, vents and other openings that could allow CO to come indoors or be drawn into potentially occupied spaces. Direct the engine exhaust away from potentially occupied spaces.

Source: Briggs & Stratton Corporation

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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Modern Family: Connected Homes Pose Risks

October 22, 2015 2:42 am

Securing personal information has become all the more challenging in the era of the digital data breach, as households become increasingly connected with Internet-enabled devices. And according to a recent ESET® survey, many Americans have a false sense of online security despite data breach notifications indicating otherwise, leaving their homes’ “digital doors” susceptible to cyber threats.

“From the digital workplace to the connected living space and across age groups and demographics, today’s households are more connected than ever and the number of connected devices is growing at considerable pace,” says ESET Senior Security Researcher Stephen Cobb. “Sixty-seven percent of those surveyed had between one and five connected devices at home connected to the Internet, with 30 percent owning six or more. Even more telling, 30 percent of those surveyed today have two to three more devices at home compared to last year. With so many potentially vulnerable digital entry points, this survey underlines the importance of cyber security as a core commitment in our digital lives.”

Remarkably, more than 40 percent of Americans fail to properly secure their wireless router – the gateway to most digital devices – by not resetting the factory-set default passwords.

Parents, however, have been taken steps to educate their children about cyber security. Seventy-five percent of parents have had a “CyberEd” talk with their children, and 90 percent have made at least one rule about using the Internet and connected devices. Still, nearly 60 percent of parents don’t require permission before downloading a new app or game or joining a social network. Seventy percent don’t limit the kind of personal information their children share on social networks, and 60 percent allow password-sharing with friends.

“There is no question that with the explosion of connected devices in the home, a fresh set of rules must be initiated in every household so that the always-on, always-connected family can enjoy the Internet safely and with a great level of confidence,” says Michael Kaiser, executive director of the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA). “What this study reveals is that Americans are managing their lives and clearly reaping the benefits of the Internet, but it is not risk-free. With a shift in the paradigm, families can make practicing good cyber security a way of life and our interconnected families and communities will ultimately be safer and more secure.“

Source: StaySafeOnline.org

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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