Winter Storm Juno Bring Blizzard Warnings – Power Outages

NOAA Map of Winter Storm Juno and how it will impact the East Coast.

Predicted Impact of Winter Storm Juno

The National Weather Service has issued blizzard warnings from the Maine-New Brunswick border all the way down to the New Jersey shoreline. Affected major cities include Portland, Boston, Hartford, and New York City.

Snowfall accumulations may total in excess of two feet in these regions, coupled with high winds, white out conditions, and a storm surge more characteristic of a tropical storm or hurricane.

Other states with the potential for substantial impact include Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Virginia, Maryland, and Delaware. Airport closures are likely and as of 10 EST, more than 7000 flights have already been canceled. Nearly five inches of snow has already fallen in Central Park and parts of New Jersey.

What to do in a winter in a winter stormHurricane-force wind warnings are in effect for Cape Cod with gusts exceeding 80 MPH over water. All boats and vessels are advised to stay in port. Most of the coastline in the storm-affected area has the potential for flooding with a storm-surge as high as four feet during the Tuesday afternoon high tide and after midnight Tuesday evening. Coastal flood warnings have been issued. High waves over 25 feet are also likely.

Travel will become impossible in many areas and NWS is warning travelers to postpone or cancel their plans. Connecticut has issued a ban on travel.

Widespread power outages are possible on Long Island all through the coast of Maine, with National Grid predicting as many as 400,000 people to lose power, some for as long as a week.

Winter Storm Juno is expected to affect as many as 28 million people.


image of near blizzard conditions in Minnesota.

The horizon nearly disappears in near blizzard conditions. In a true blizzard, the trees and other features disappear in a blur of white.

A blizzard is a combination of snow and high wind which combine to cause disorientation in those attempting to navigate through the storm. In a blizzard, the wind-blown snow makes it difficult for a person to see where they are going. They have no point of reference because roads, buildings, and other landmarks disappear into the snow.

These factors make travel extremely hazardous. Those walking cannot determine what direction they should walk, and drivers often cannot make out the difference between road, sky, horizon, or where the ditch is. It becomes easy to walk in the wrong direction or drive into obstructions and other hazards because they cannot be discerned in wind-driven snow.

The safest course of action in a blizzard is stay indoors. Even walking from a house to an outbuilding is dangerous, as the person could become disoriented and lost in the snow.

Storm Related Outages

What to Do in a Power Outage by NOAA NWSPower outages in blizzards are often related to trees that fall on power lines and also when those lines become coated with ice. The very heavy snowfall and high winds can damage power lines and equipment.

Winter outages are especially dangerous because without power, most homes also lose their heating capability. If the temperature inside the home drops below freezing, waters pipes can freeze and burst. When power is restored and the house warms, those frozen pipes thaw and the resulting torrent is a devastating flood.

Warning: Never run a portable generator or any internal combustion engine inside your home. Deadly carbon monoxide in the exhaust can accumulate to dangerous levels in minutes.

Freezing or near-freezing temperatures in a home are especially dangerous the young and elderly, but people can also lose their lives in fires when they attempt to provide heat with a gas range.

Standby Generator, 20 kw, by Briggs & Stratton includes 20kW gtenerator, ATS

Briggs & Stratton Standby with SE Rated ATS featuring Symphony Power Management.

The primary defense that homeowners can use to guard against the effects of a power outage is a standby generator, like the 20 kilowatt Briggs & Stratton model 40346 that includes an automatic transfer switch with Symphony II Power Management.

When a blizzard like Winter Storm Juno knocks out the power, the transfer switch automatically senses the outage and starts the standby generator automatically. The transfer switch seamlessly makes the transition to generator power while isolating the unit from the utility lines.

Within a few seconds, power is restored to the home. Lights, sump pumps, furnaces, and even your electric blanket will all operate to keep you warm, comfortable, and without having to worry when the utility crews will make it out to restore power.

The Briggs & Stratton 20kW generator features the Vanguard engine, well-known for its reliability and capable of operating on either natural gas or LP gas (propane). Installation is as close as 18 inches to your home (subject to local codes) and comes with a four-year limited consumer warranty.

Image: Near White Out in Minnesota by Googleaseerch licensed under CC 3.0.

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Inventory Reduction: Guardian 16kW Standby Steel 200 Amp SE ATS

Save 10 Percent off the MSRP and Get Free Shipping

A Generac Guardian Standby Generator installed outside a home.

Generac Guardian

Now is great time to save on a Generac Guardian Standby Generator Model 6462. This 16-kilowatt unit runs on both natural gas and LP gas (propane) and includes a 200-amp, service-entrance-rated automatic transfer switch. The manufacturer’s standard five-year limited consumer warranty applies.

Standby generators offer the security and peace of mind that goes with knowing you’ll never be without electrical power for all your essentials and the comforts of home, even during extended power outages. These permanently installed, must-have appliances operate automatically, much like your furnace or air conditioner. When the power goes out, they begin supplying the home with electricity within seconds.

Reliable Operation

The Generac OHVI, two cylinder, OHVI engine.

Generac designed this engine specifically for use in their generators.

The Generac OHVI engine will keep your generator operating through power outages that might last a few hours or a few weeks. It was specifically designed for the tough demands a generator places on an engine with features like a fully pressurized lubrication system similar to an automotive engine. The plateau-honed, cast-iron cylinder walls provide increased rigidity and fuel economy while extending engine life.

The Evolution Controller continuously monitors the utility line voltage and begins the start sequence the instant power goes out. An integrated smart charger keeps the battery at peak level relative to temperature and lets you know when the battery is reaching the end of its life so you can replace it—before it fails

The programmable exercise feature keeps the generator ready to run with a quiet, low-speed cycle you can set to operate every week, biweekly, or monthly.

During operation, the controller monitors and regulates the voltage and frequency to ensure the cleanest possible power.

Essential Features

The Evolution Control Panel with 2-line LCD display and backlit, color-coded buttons.

Evolution Control Panel

Tru-Power technology ensures the best, cleanest power possible with less than 5 percent total harmonic distortion. Clean power means your appliances and sensitive electronics operate without a hitch, even while the generator powers loads as big as a 5-ton air conditioner.

The Evolution Controller is a multilingual, two-line LCD text display that includes color-coded, back-lit buttons. The controller provides programming features, and logs of maintenance alerts, alarms, and run history. It will even tell you if there is a problem with the system wiring.

An all-steel enclosure is powder coated to withstand harsh weather and inhospitable climates. The attractive design allows the generator to fit into any urban neighborhood, while the 66dB sound level won’t keep you or your neighbors awake.

Guardian generators are UL2200 listed for safety.

Add a basic wireless monitor and view generator status from the comfort of your home. Or step up to Mobile Link and bring the controller functionality to your fingertips, anywhere in the world with a smartphone, laptop, or tablet. Use the free app or the web-based dashboard.

Automatic Transfer Switch

The ATS included with the 6242 standby generator.

200-Amp Automatic Transfer Switch Included with the 6242 Standby Generator

The 200-amp, service-entrance-rated automatic transfer switch isolates your home from the utility lines. This protects the generator, the home, and the utility line workers from harm. It automatically selects utility power or generator power as appropriate.

Included in the ATS is the capability to manage two air-conditioners without additional hardware. Four more high-voltage, high current devices can be added with the addition of a Power Management Module starter kit and a Power Management Module for each device.

This arrangement allows the 6462 to supply an entire home with power and run air conditioners and furnaces to laptops and televisions or microwave ovens. Digital Power Management is a priority based system that allows each appliance to operate when power from the generator is available.


A Generac Guardian installed near a central AC unit.

Installation near a central air conditioner. This unit is quieter and no more obtrusive, and didn’t require a concrete pad.

The 6462 standby generator system is designed to simplify installation and reduce installation costs and has been certified for installation just 18 inches from the home, making it perfect for tight lot lines and small yards.

It comes with an attached composite pad for placement on a gravel bed (where permitted) instead of on a concrete pad.

The Automatic Transfer Switch carries a NEMA 3R rating for indoor/outdoor installation. The service-entrance rating allows it to serve as the main cutoff for the home’s electrical system.

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Cold Weather Kits and Winter Maintenance for Standby Generators

Winter road during a snowstorm. Image via

Cold Weather Makes Standby Generator Starting Harder

The cold winter weather currently enveloping a good portion of the United States has people scurrying to purchase new car batteries and fill windshield fluid reservoirs.

Cold weather in these regions is nothing new and the past week has seen sub-zero temperatures in the Upper Midwest and Northeast portions of the country. Whether you love, hate, or even just tolerate it, the season requires more preparation in many aspects of life.

Standby generators sit outside in all sorts of weather, just waiting to wake up and provide power in the event of an outage. In the subfreezing weather, emergency power keeps the furnace running and pipes from freezing during an outage, not to mention keeping families warm.

Keep your standby generator clear of snow and ice and ensure that the air intake vents don’t become clogged or blocked by debris. Perform maintenance on schedule.

Replace Old Batteries

Generac Standby Generator showing snow cleared from around the unit and all vents cleared of snow.

Keep Snow and other Debris from Accumulating Around Standby Units

A marginal battery during the summer and fall may not seem like an issue. Every week the standby generator wakes up and starts its exercise cycle. All seems well, despite controller alerts that the battery is near the end of its life. Now that winter has arrived, that marginal battery may not have the power to start the engine when temperatures fall below freezing.

A power outage at two o’clock in the morning is not the time to realize your battery can’t start the engine in colder weather. If your battery is near the end of its expected life, or if the controller tells you it is time to replace the battery, purchase a new, quality battery and install it.

Battery Warmers

A Generac Battery Warmer.

Battery Warmers Keep the Battery Operating Even in Cold Temperatures.

Batteries produce electricity through a chemical reaction. The strength of that reaction is partially dependent on the temperature of the battery. As temperatures fall, the amount of current the battery is capable of producing declines.

In cold weather climates—and that means anywhere the temperature drops below thirty-two degrees—a battery warmer is the most basic cold weather kit you can purchase. A thermostat automatically senses when the battery temperature drops below freezing and turns on to keep it warm.

If you live where temperatures fall below thirty-two degrees, a battery warmer is an inexpensive option to ensure reliable starting.

Change the Oil

A Briggs & Stratton Preventative Maintenance Kit

Maintenance Kits have the Filters and Other Parts Needed to Keep your Generator Running.

Colder temperatures may require a lower viscosity oil for easier starting. In the summer, a higher viscosity oil works well to lubricate the engine, but in the winter that oil might be too thick. Changing to a dual viscosity oil will provide easier starting.

If the generator’s manufacturer allows or suggests, a dual viscosity synthetic oil may allow easier starting in the winter and still provide adequate lubrication and protection in the summer. It’s important to check your owner’s manual before switching oil viscosity. Never use an oil that isn’t recommended by the generator manufacturer.

Change the oil filter every time you change the oil. Dirty oil doesn’t lubricate as well and a clogged oil filter reduces the flow of oil in the engine. Maintenance kits contain all the necessary filters and parts to keep your standby generator engine running. Keep a couple on hand to see you through an extended outage.

Cold Weather Kits

Cold Weather Kit for 16kW and 20kW By Briggs and Stratton

Help ensure smooth starting and reliable operation in the winter months with a Cold Weather Kit .

Some standby models allow the addition of other accessories to ensure easy starts in cold weather. Oil warmers and block heaters help keep the engine warm for easier starts, but should always be paired with a battery warmer, if one is not included in the kit.

A cold weather kit is a necessity anywhere the temperature falls below thirty-two degrees. If it does not include a battery warmer, purchase one separately. Cold weather kits may change the oil type or viscosity required. Generac’s Extreme Cold Weather kit for their liquid cooled engines require the use of synthetic 5W-30 oil.

Even if you live in the south where temperatures are usually above freezing, ice storms and other weather events that last just a few days can make engine starts more difficult. The cost of a cold weather kit is cheap insurance.

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Four Reasons You Need a Standby Generator for Your Home

Guardian 22kW Home Backup Generator

Guardian 22kW Home Backup Generator

Power outages rarely happen on a schedule. Instead, they strike without warning and each time the power goes out, people wonder when the utility will turn it on again.

How long it takes to restore power is often determined by what caused the outage in the first place. Accidents and equipment failures often cause outages that last just a few hours. Widespread damage by large storms such as hurricanes or tornadoes can wreak havoc and crews work for weeks to restore power to everyone.

Standby generators work automatically during an outage to supply electricity to critical systems and provide comfort and security.

Property Damage Prevention

A homeowner works to save whatever possible after storm water flooded her finished basement.

Finished Basement Damaged by Flooding After a Storm.

When the power goes out, essential home systems that rely on electricity no longer function. This includes the furnace, sump pumps, and ejector (sewage) pumps. If your sump pump runs frequently, especially during a storm, your home is at higher risk of flooding during a power outage. During sub-freezing weather, pipes can freeze and burst, and then flood the home when they thaw out again.

Homes with below grade plumbing fixtures can flood with sewage if they rely on an ejector pump to move waste and gray water out of the home.

Keep Food Safe

A side-by-side refrigerator-freezer with the refrigerator door open.

Without Power, Refrigerators Can’t Keep Food Cold.

The moment the power goes out, refrigerators and freezers and begin to warm. At first, they can keep food within safe limits provided they are kept closed.

Just imagine arriving home from the grocery store with a week’s worth of meat and vegetables and finding the power off. The food inside the refrigerator is already at risk, and opening the door to add the new meat and vegetables will warm the the refrigerator more. Frozen foods in freezers will last a bit longer, but even that will thaw during an extended outage.

If you can’t find ice during an extended outage, you’ll find yourself storing refrigerated food in garbage bags until the next pickup day.

Medical Equipment

An oxygen concentrator provides oxygen for people with severe breathing problems.

Medical Equipment like oxygen concentrators make living at home possible for patients with advanced breathing problems.

The number of homes with some kind of medical equipment is on the rise. People depend on medical equipment for their independence and the ability to lead normal or near-normal lives.

Common types of equipment are CPAP machines, oxygen concentraters, and even home dialysis machines. Limited use during an outage may be possible with a battery backup system, but they can only function for a short time on battery power.

A source of standby power allows people who depend on medical equipment to stay in their homes until the electric utility restores power.

Personal Comfort

Standby generators are often packaged with an ATS that includes power management to control appliances that draw large amounts of power.

Standby Generators Keep Your Home and Your Family Safe and Comfortable

Without a doubt, we have come to rely on electricity as a source of comfort. It keeps our homes cool when it’s hot, and warm when it’s cold. It cooks our food, provides light, and allows us contact with the outside world in the form of television and internet and via land-line phones or cellular phones.

A standby generator can keep us comfortable while we wait for the electric utility. Instead of heading for a hotel, we stay in our homes with the lights on, the furnace or air conditioner running, and a cold beverage just inside the refrigerator. And while a comfortable hotel room is nice on vacation, it can quickly turn into an inconvenience when you’re there by necessity and not by choice.


Cummins Onan Home Standby Generator

Home Standby Generator System Integrates with Existing Electrical Equipment.

Unlike portable units, standby generators are permanently installed. You don’t have to hook them up, worry about fueling them two or three times a day, or wonder if you’ll be able to buy gasoline to keep it running. Even if you’re away on vacation, they will keep your home safe and essential systems operating in the event an outage leaves your home without electrical power.

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Prepare Your Home and Auto for Holiday Travel

Winter road during a snowstorm. Image via

Winter Weather can Make Holiday Travel Hazardous

Ahead of the 2014 Christmas Week, weather forecasters are warning of the potential for at least two storms that could impact the Lower 48. While forecasts beyond three days carry a degree of uncertainty, there’s a good chance weather will impact holiday travel this year.

Preparing the home, family, and car for winter trips is something many of us don’t think much about. The hectic season often finds people loading the family car or van at the last minute and stopping at the gas station on the way out of town. There are a few things you can do to make sure both your home and your family are safe while you travel.

Are you ready for winter storm power outages?

Before you leave, check the weather and be aware of the potential for storms that might increase the potential for hazardous driving conditions. Consider adjusting travel to account for changing weather conditions. Continue reading “Prepare Your Home and Auto for Holiday Travel” »

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Six Portable Generator Features to Consider Before Purchase

The Generac XG8000E portable generator.

Generac Portable XG Series XG8000E Electric Start

A portable generator might be a convenience, a necessity, or a lifesaver, depending on the situation. Very often, they serve multiple purposes on job sites, camping trips, and around the home.

Their portability brings electrical power wherever it is needed and isn’t easily available. They show up at tailgate parties, farmer’s markets, community events, and picnics. Continue reading “Six Portable Generator Features to Consider Before Purchase” »

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Generac PowerPact Replaces CorePower for Essential Emergency Power

Generac PowerPact 6518 showing automatic transfer switch with wiring whips for installation.

PowerPact 6518 Standby Generator System Includes ATS and Installation Wiring

Generac discontinued the CorePower standby generator system. The CorePower system was a 7000-watt, standby generator that ran on either natural gas or propane and included an automatic transfer switch with built-in priority load center.

The new PowerPact Standby Generator is a seven-kilowatt addition to the Guardian lineup of generators. It incorporates the latest Evolution Controller, which makes it compatible with several options including the Wireless Local Monitor and Generac’s remote monitoring system, Mobile Link.

This latest standby generator in the Guardian lineup is an affordable option for supplying power during long and short-term power outages. Continue reading “Generac PowerPact Replaces CorePower for Essential Emergency Power” »

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Standby Generators Protect Your Home During Winter Power Outages

The New York State Thruway South of Buffalo, NY with more than two feet of snow on an impassible road.

Big snowstorms always threaten local power distribution grids. How long until your power goes out?

The winter of 2013-2014 was brutal for much of the United States. Several ice storms locked down the South and the East Coast, while the northern tier east of the Rockies was battered with one snow storm after another and record breaking cold. A new term was introduced to many—polar vortex.

A polar vortex is probably nothing new, but the term definitely made you feel cold just hearing it. Along with the cold and snow and ice, utility power lines and other equipment suffered right along with the people, and often left them without power. The southern ice storms were especially hard on utility crews who sometimes struggled to keep up with the outages. Continue reading “Standby Generators Protect Your Home During Winter Power Outages” »

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Quiet 2014 Atlantic Hurricane Season Gives USA a Break

Hurricane Arthur impacts the USA Coast over the Noth Carolina Outer Banks.

Hurricane Arthur Takes Aim on the Outer Banks of North Carolina.

The 2014 Atlantic Hurricane Season ended on November 30. As predicted by several agencies including The National Hurricane Center, The University of Colorado, and Tropical Storm Risk, the Atlantic Hurricane Season was a quiet one with just eight named storms and one additional tropical depression that did not develop further. Storms are not named until they reach tropical storm satus.

Although the seasonal Atlantic storms in 2014 had minimal impact on the United States, they serve as a reminder that residents along the East and Gulf Coasts must remain vigilant and stay prepared. Continue reading “Quiet 2014 Atlantic Hurricane Season Gives USA a Break” »

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5 Things to Know About Standby Generators For Emergency Power

A standby generator with the top lifted and front panel removed to show the interal components such as engine and alternator.

Residential Standby Generator with Enclosure Open to Show Engine and Alternator.

Standby generators supply power when the utility distribution system is unable to provide electricity. Disruptions caused by storms or by equipment failures are the most common, but other causes include traffic accidents, damage caused by animals, or even deliberate sabotage.

Off grid users experience periods when the wind or sun cannot supply enough power to keep the batteries charged.

Regardless of the outage cause, electricity is still necessary to keep essential electrical circuits operating.

Automatic Operation

Generac 200-Amp Service-Entrance-Rated Automatic Transfer Switch

Generac 200-Amp Service-Entrance-Rated Automatic Transfer Switch

Unlike portable generators, standby generator systems are permanently installed much like a furnace or a hot water heater. Just as a furnace only turns on when heat is required, a standby generator turns on automatically when the power goes out.

The generator system detects a power outage immediately and waits a few seconds for the power to return. If it does not, it starts the generator engine. The automatic transfer switch disconnects the building from the utility lines and connects it to the generator supply. It all happens just seconds after the power goes out.

When the utility power is restored, the system reconnects the utility lines and shuts the generator down.

Essential Power

A side-by-side refrigerator-freezer with the refrigerator door open.

Without Power, Refrigerators Can’t Keep Food Cold.

Today more than ever before, we have become reliant on electrical power at home and at work.

Houses rely on electrical power for sump pumps to keep basements dry, refrigerators and freezers to keep food safe, and furnaces and air conditioners to keep a home cool in the summer and warm in the winter. Without the furnace, the pipes can freeze and burst in cold weather and then flood the house when the temperature rises. Within hours after an outage, the temperature inside a refrigerator can begin to rise.

With a commercial standby generator, stores and restaurants can keep the doors open while office buildings keep the lights on and computers running. Many phone systems need a source of power beyond that supplied by the telephone utility.

Standby generators for emergency power keep our homes safe and our businesses open.

Fuel Supplies

Natural Gas Meter

Natural Gas Meter and Pressure Regulator Supplied by Municipal Gas Utility

Although diesel generators are available for residential and commercial use, the most common fuels are liquefied petroleum gas (propane) and natural gas. Natural gas from a municipal supply can keep a generator running for weeks. Propane tanks need refilling, but a propane-powered generator can also keep the lights on for extended periods, depending on the size of the tank and the requirements of the generator.

Standard residential natural gas meters might not have the capacity to supply the larger standby generators. Before installation, check with the gas utility to ensure your meter can supply enough gas. You may need to upgrade the meter. Your LP gas supplier can help you determine if the regulator on your storage tank is sufficient.

Power Capacity

Five days after Isaac, New Orleans waits for power

A tire store in Kenner, United States, has a banner in its window stating no power in the suburb post Isaac disaster.

All generators have two ratings. The continuous rating is the amount of power in watts or kilowatts that a generator can supply continuously. The surge rating or maximum rating is limited to a short duration and allows the unit to start electric motors which require as much as six times the power during startup. Some generators provide more power while operating on LP Gas than they do on natural gas. The generator will have different continuous and maximum power ratings for each type of fuel.

The amount of fuel used is also dependent on the amount of power used. As the power draw changes, the fuel use changes at the same time. Since power use often varies continuously, the amount of fuel used will also vary. Higher power levels use more fuel.


Generac Standby Generator showing snow cleared from around the unit and all vents cleared of snow.

Keep Snow and other Debris from Accumulating Around Standby Units

All engines need periodic maintenance and generator engines are no exception. During extended outages, a standby generator may run for days or even a month or more. It is important to service the generator according to the maintenance schedule. Standby units need service as often as every 200 hours, or about once a week. Maintenance includes changing the oil and oil filter, replacing spark plugs, and changing the air filter. Keep supplies on hand for long outages.

Also important to smooth, uninterrupted operation is keeping the generator clear of wind-blown debris or ice and snow. The vents on the generator provide air flow to keep it cool and to supply the engine. Clear away leaves, grass clippings, and other debris, and remove snow or ice that may cover the vents or the top of the unit.


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