NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) — In 2021, the power outage caused by Hurricane Ida highlighted the importance of alternative power sources for homeowners in the area.

Fire officials say carbon monoxide poisoning is the primary hazard to avoid when using a generator.

For portable generators, the first step is making sure that it’s operating at the proper distance away from your home.

New Orleans Firefighter, Edwin Holmes gave WGNO some tips on using generators.

“Ten yards, that’s at least 30 feet away from home in a well-ventilated area, away from open doors and window and another precaution is, the nearest entrance to where the generator is, make sure there’s a carbon monoxide detector there,” said Holmes.

The fire department also suggests shutting off a portable generator unit and allowing it to cool before refueling.

He added, “and never connect generators to your home’s power grid.”

By doing that, permanent damage to your home’s electric panel and create a fire hazard. 

Many homeowners in Southeast Louisiana have opted to invest in whole-home natural gas generators.

And while these units are less labor-intensive during a power outage, they can be pricey and must be regularly maintained.

Toby Stevens, from Keefe’s AC Heating and Electrical, said “It’s essential, if you don’t service them, they will break and you’ll be sitting in sweltering heat. Very uncomfortable.”

Keefe’s is one of the many local vendors that provide service agreements on everything from tune-ups to oil changes but considering that we all lost power for up to 9 days last year, homeowners with these units should have supplies on hand necessary for maintenance before a storm hits.

We saw with Ida, I don’t think I got a delivery for 2 weeks before I got anything on my doorstep and that was even a stretch. It’s definitely better, especially since that’s your power source in the backyard.  It’s the best thing to have,” said Stevens.

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