SOUTH MISSISSIPPI (WLOX) - Hurricane season officially begins next week. While there's a lot that can't be controlled when storms hit our coast, there are a few things that you can do to be prepared. One of those is making sure your generator is in top working condition.
According to Butch Richmond at the Lawn and Garden Center in Gulfport, the first step in hurricane preparedness is being proactive. He said, if possible, make sure your generator is running well before the season starts.
If it's been sitting out of use for the winter and spring, he says there's a good chance it won't crank up.
"Or if they do, they run erratic and such so, you know, they need to be tuned," said Richmond.
Sometimes tuning requires the hands of a professional, but there are a few things that can be done at home. Changing engine oil, spark plugs, and air filters, and fuel filters are fairly simple procedures. But small engine repair shops are your best bet if you need the help.
Richmond recommends changing the oil every year, whether it needs it or not. Doing so may prevent you from having to buy a brand new machine sooner than you should.
"If you change it once a year, your investment is under $10 and your generator investment is way much more than that," said Richmond.
Once it's changed, Richmond said it's also a good idea to add a fuel stabilizer to your gas tank. Then crank the engine and let it run for a while to fully circulate the treatment.
And then, if it's not used for other events throughout the year, Richmond recommends cranking it up occasionally to keep it running smoothly.
"Try to run it at least once a month if possible," said Richmond.
He said it's always better to be prepared than to find that your generator can't perform when it's needed the most.
"Take care of it, engine oil, air filters, spark plugs. That generator will last you years and years," he said.
The official start of Hurricane Season is Monday, June 1.