With a sales tax free holiday May 28-June 6, 2021 on storm supplies in the Sunshine State, Floridians will be stocking up. Portable generators and fuel containers are among the items qualified for tax-free purchases, and here are a few tips from the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute to help consumers.
“When the electricity goes out, generators keep your home humming with light and power,” said Kris Kiser, President and CEO of OPEI. “Today’s generators offer a variety of features, and there is a product for every need.”
Year-round weather challenges also are now the norm with snow, ice, wind, tornadoes, hurricanes and record-breaking rain and flooding occurring throughout the year, “and no longer just confined to a season,” he adds. “While shopping for your tax-abated generator, consider other equipment that could be useful in cleaning up after challenging weather such as a water pump, chain saw or pole pruner.”
Tips from OPEI for safe generator use:
• Consider what you need. When purchasing a generator, 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 the staff at the store or ask questions online. Discuss safety features and ask about manufacturer fueling and care instructions. Generators offer a variety of features. Circuit-breaker-protected outlets will guard against generator overload. A larger fuel tank will provide extra running time. Integrated fuel gauges will help keep tabs on fuel levels and prevent power interruptions. Low tone mufflers make for quieter operation. Fold-down handles and wheels can make it easier to move your generator.
• Be sure to have an outdoor-rated extension cord on hand that is long enough to place the generator a safe distance from your home, and it’s certified to carry the generator’s power load.
• Identify where you will put the generator. Place it outside and away from windows, doors, and vents that could allow carbon monoxide to come indoors. Give portable generators plenty of room for ventilation.
• Install a carbon monoxide detector. Now is a great time to pick one up and batteries are available tax-free May 28-June 6.
• Keep generators dry. Before a storm hits, identify how to cover and vent the generator. Buy model-specific tents or generator covers online, at home centers or a hardware store.
• Have the right fuel on hand before a storm hits in an appropriate container that seals well. Fuel cans ($50 or less) are also tax-free during Florida’s 2021 Disaster-Preparedness Sales Tax-Holiday.
• 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. Remember fuel 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% ethanol in outdoor power equipment (for more information on proper fueling for outdoor power equipment visit www.LookBeforeYouPump.com).