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Will a generator bought for the October Surprise Storm still work?

Posted at 12:21 PM, Oct 12, 2016
and last updated 2016-10-13 10:06:35-04

Ten years ago today, the heavy rain that began the October Surprise Storm was about to turn into thick, wet snow that would damage 57,000 trees and knockout electricity to 400,000 people.  Some were without power for over a week.

With sump pumps out causing basement flooding, food spoiling in refrigerators and no heat, desperate homeowners rushed to local stores to buy a generator only to find that most had sold out.  7 Eyewitness News reporter Ed Reilly takes a look back at this part of the storm and has some tips in case you bought a generator then but haven't used it since.

According to Brett Begley, owner of ABC Hardware & Rental on Bailey Avenue in Buffalo, those old generators should start if you did not store them for years with gasoline in the tanks.  The gasoline breaks down over time and loses its octane to start a motor.  Old gasoline can also clog a carburetor keeping fuel from reaching the spark plugs.  Once that happens, you will need to have a professional do a tune-up to correct the situation.

The other situation that could affect how an old generator starts is whether it was stored in a dry area away from moisture.  While moisture won't harm the internal parts of the gasoline engine, it can cause rust and corrosion on other parts of the generator.

Begley recommends using fresh gasoline to try and start an old generator - and most of all, don't run them inside a enclosed structure because the exhaust can create a life-threatening carbon monoxide situation.

Do you have pictures of your generator and extension cords running to your house during the storm?  Share them on the WKBW Facebook page.