HOUSTON - If you're looking to buy a generator before the storm, you may have to go to a few stores. Shoppers tell us they're finding some stores are running out.
A portable generator won't be able to run every appliance in your house. You'll want to run essential appliances, such as the refrigerator, some lights, a charger for your cell phone, or a window air conditioner.
After customers told us some stores are running on generators, we called around. Most major stores say trucks arrive nightly with more, including Lowe's.
"A lot of our south Houston stores, our Sugar Land store, and myself here in Conroe have generators ready for our community," said Lowe's Conroe store manager Valentin DeLeon.
Walmart says they've been moving product to areas of greatest need. Home Depot says they sent 175 trucks with storm supplies to the region. And Generac says they began sending additional generators to southeastern stores last week.
When choosing a portable generator, experts say look for one to run the essential appliances.
"We're kind of looking at making sure normal generators are in the 60 to 50 range, and those run some fans, the refrigerator," said DeLeon.
Reliant Energy says they have stock of both their permanent generators and their sister company Goal Zero's portable generators. They say remember that gas-powered generators emit carbon monoxide.
"It's an odorless, colorless gas and you really want to be safe with those. You want them at least 20 feet away from the house, exhaust pointing away," said Wayne Morrison with Reliant Energy.
And check that your generator has fresh oil and gas and works properly before the storm hits.
"Really checking the oil to make sure that it's up and running. Because when the generator runs, especially if we're into a week, two-week outage, they work really hard," said Morrison.
Here are more safety tips for using generators:
- don't run them in the rain
- do not stop or start them while they're powering anything
- and don't connect theirs to your home's wiring.