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Generator Buyer’s Guide + How to Use a Generator (Safely!)
Generators can be your salvation during a power outage or in locations without electricity but figuring out which generator its best for you can be an intimidating process. Here’s our buying guide on how get a generator that suits your needs and some important tips for safe operation.
Determine Your Power Priorities
Generator sizes are measured in watts. It’s helpful to start by making a list of all the things you want to keep running during an outage. Often this list will include:
- Window AC Unit
- Portable Heater
- Personal Electronics
Typically, a 5000-watt generator is recommended to cover the basics. Manufacturers often have wattage estimate guides online to help you determine precisely your energy needs. Honda has a great one here: https://powerequipment.honda.com/generators/generator-wattage-estimation-guide
Determine Which Kind of Generator You Need
There are three main kinds of generators. Portable generators are a great value for your money. They run on gasoline and typically range in power from 3000 to 8000 watts.
Inverter generators are a bit more complex than portable generators and so are typically more expensive for similar amounts of power. They match their power output to the amount of power being used by your devices rather than running at full blast all the time. This allows them to use fuel more efficiently and run at lower volumes.
Home standby generators are permanently installed, can run on natural gas or propane, and turn on automatically when your power goes out. They also typically supply larger amounts of power than portable or inverter generators. These will generally require an electrician’s knowledge and skill to install.
You can also look into a portable power station. These devices use neither gas or propane to power your house. Instead, they use a battery that is charged by plugging it into an electrical outlet or in some cases hooking it up to a solar panel.
5 Tips for Safely Operating Your Generator
- Always Run Your Generator Outdoors
Your generator needs a dry place out of the rain and snow. The best place is outside, under a canopy for protection. Indoors is not a good place for a generator since it produces harmful carbon monoxide and can be noisy. A distance of 15 feet is the minimum recommended distance to prevent harmful fumes from coming inside.
- Don’t Connect the Generator to a Power Outlet in the House
Always follow the safety instructions in the manual and do not connect the generator to a power outlet in your house. This causes what is called ‘back feeding’ and can result in someone getting electrocuted. An electrician can give you advice on powering your whole house and can install a “transfer switch” for you. This allows your home wiring to accept power from the generator.
- Make Sure to Use the Right Cord
Often people will invest $100’s if not $1000’s a quality generator only to skimp out on the cord used to run electricity. It is crucial that you use a heavy-duty extension cord designed for outdoor use when powering your devices.
- Never Fuel Your Generator While it’s Hot
Remember to “only fuel when it’s cool”. A small fuel spill on a hot generator can cause a fire. Generators cool down relatively fast once you shut them off so make sure to wait a few minutes before fueling. It’s also important that you store reserve fuel away from the generator in case of an accident.
- Don’t Use Bad Fuel
Some of the most common issues associated with small engine equipment stem from using faulty fuel. Keep reserve fuel stored safely and check the manufacturer’s recommendation for using a fuel stabilizer.
Ongoing care is needed for your generator so always keep it on level ground and away from dust, moisture and dirt. Run the generator at least once a month and have it serviced regularly (oil change, spark plugs, filter, etc.)
Looking for a good used generator? Find used generators for sale in Ocala on Ocala4sale.com
How to Choose the Right BBQ Grill for Labor Day
Nothing compares to cooking on an open flame. Whether you’re roasting mouth-watering vegetables or grilling juicy steak kabobs, the barbecue is perfect for sealing in the natural flavor. If you are looking to join the millions who already enjoy the barbecue life, or want to replace or upgrade their equipment, a little homework may be in order before being met with the dozens of choices available. The Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association (HPBA) offers a factsheet for grill buying to help narrow down the seemingly endless possibilities. Charcoal or Gas? Stainless Steel or Cast Aluminum? $150 or $500?
What’s Your BBQ Budget?
Setting a budget is a realistic place to begin, as some barbecue grills can cost $1,000+. A good way to establish a budget is to decide where you will be using your grill (backyard, patio, apartment balcony) and consider your space restrictions. This will help narrow down some of the choices and perhaps set a price range for you in the process.
The Big BBQ Question: Charcoal, Gas or Electric?
Before your shopping process begins, the looming question of Charcoal, Gas or Other must be answered. Charcoal grilling aficionados swear by the smoke flavor, despite the mess of dealing with the charcoal and required cleaning of these grills. Charcoal does require ample heating time before it can be used. Gas grills offer convenience in that with a push of a button the gas ignites and, with limited pre-heating, the grill is ready to use. For some, the other category includes electric grills. These grills are an eco-friendly, easy to use and often the best choice for apartment-dwellers. For more on cooking with gas and charcoal, check out this article on www.allrecipes.com.
Grilling Safety Tips
After choosing the perfect grill, check back in with HPBA and make sure anyone who plans to use the grill is familiar with how to do so safely. Only use barbecue grills outdoors in well-ventilated areas. Use long-handled utensils and be cautious of clothing with strings (aprons) or shirt tails. Be prepared to handle the fire and flare-ups with a water bottle, baking soda, fire extinguisher or garden hose. And always use common sense when grilling.
Fun Fact: Nearly 74 million U.S. households have barbecue grills with 45% of grill owners using their grill at least 1-2 times per week in the summer months.
New Ocala Commercial Real Estate Marketplace
OCALA, FL — The new Ocala Commercial Real Estate marketplace from USA4SALE offers brokers and agents in Marion County, Florida a new way to market commercial listings. OcalaCommercial.com is designed to reach commercial buyers locally and nationwide.
The new platform offers brokers automated listing import without duplicated entry, as well as syndication locally and statewide in the USA4SALE classified network. With plans starting at $39 for 10 listings, the new website will offer SEO-optimized listings, mapping, filtering & sorting, custom broker profiles as well as lead-generation and capture features.
Early access opportunities provide brokers with featured syndication for a limited time. For more information, visit OcalaCommercial.com
Water Purification Systems – Just the Facts
There are several methods to how you can obtain fresh and healthy drinking water for your family. Experts recommend that you choose a water filtering system based on your particular needs, which will be affected by the area where you live. There are several harmful chemicals in your water that could cause disease:
- Heavy metals such as mercury, lead and arsenic
- Chlorine and fluoride
- Hormones and drugs
An easy home water-filtering method is reverse osmosis. There are several kits on the market which will fit under your kitchen sink without too much difficulty and treat your water supply. The water goes through several stages of purification to remove dust, particles, rust, chlorine, nitrates and unpleasant tastes and odors. The filtered water comes out of a second faucet mounted on your counter top next to your previous one. The reverse osmosis method is convenient because it provides a system of free drinking water and requires minimal maintenance that consists of a few filter changes per year. The downside to reverse osmosis filtering is that it tends to remove healthy minerals from the water too. This under-the-counter filtering method is the most expensive but the highest quality and the least visual method.
Another filtering method is the counter-top filter which involves a pitcher that contains a filter. Faucet water is poured into the pitcher and allowed to pass through a filter, leaving fresh drinking water in the bottom part of the pitcher.
A different filtering method, using KDF/carbon filtering, removes heavy metals and all chlorine products as well as excessive fluoride. KDF filtering works well with lake and well water as well as municipal water, and stops bacterial growth in the filter.
UV light filtering is especially recommended when you are using a water source that is at risk from bacteria and viruses, such as well water or other private water systems that are untreated.
Benefits of UV filters:
- Low purchase price and operating cost
- Uses no chemicals
- Kills e.coli, cryptosporidium and giarda
If your water supply suffers from a high level of iron, manganese or hydrogen sulphide content, you can install an iron water filter to remove these harmful metals and compounds. These filters work well in tandem with the reverse osmosis systems mentioned earlier and actually prolong the life of these systems. An added advantage of removing iron form your water supply is to avoid laundry staining from rust.
Many of the above systems work as a whole house system or just at the faucet point. The best way to choose a water filtration system is to ask a company to test your water and then decide on a filtration system that will give you best results with the contaminants that have been found.
WANT TO LEARN MORE? This article was sponsored by Village Water Systems, which is in the business of making water cleaner and safer for homes and businesses. Village Water Systems has many years of experience in the industry and we put it to work with every home that we serve in Ocala, The Villages and central Florida. Visit our website or call (352) 461-7439.
How to Buy Used Auto Parts (And Save!)
Buying used auto parts will often save you 50 percent or more over buying new. When you buy used with an online retailer, you’ll have the benefit of selection and a possible warranty. Junkyards and scrap dealers may save you a bit more, but the best deals are often found in your local classifieds. But that extra savings means you’ll have to do your homework.
1. Know Your Part
Before buying from a private seller, be sure you know the part you need. Do a little online research and compare pricing. A quick search will give you a range of pricing and shipping options. Buying local will certainly save you the cost of shipping and you’ll have the advantage of seeing the item in person before you buy. Knowing the price range ahead of time will also increase your negotiating position.
2. Inspect Carefully
If at all possible, bring the old part with you to be sure you’re getting the right piece. Buying the wrong part will negate the savings of buying used auto parts. While some sellers may cut you a little slack, the general rule in classifieds is ‘buyer beware.’ Unless a seller makes an exception, you shouldn’t expect any kind of warranty.
3. Avoid These Used Car Parts
Your safety isn’t worth putting at risk to save a few bucks. So avoid buying used seat belts, air bags or braking systems. Generally speaking, wear-and-tear items may be better purchased new. This could include alternators, brakes and starters. And use special caution when buying used tires. Here’s a guide to inspecting tires.
Kayak, Koffee . . . and Family Kamping!
OCALA, FL — It looks like a perfect Florida winter this week, and the Marion County Parks and Recreation Department is making the most of the sunshine but hosting a variety of outdoor activities, including guided kayaking and camping trips.
- Kayak & Koffee. Enjoy a guided kayaking adventure on the Silver River December 21. Join the fun at Silver Springs State Park, and leave your holiday stress behind. The parks department will provide kayaks, gear, even coffee and snacks. the cost is $30 per person. To register, call (352) 671-8560 or email [email protected]
- Family Campout at Carney Island. Celebrate the new year in the great outdoors! The parks department is hosting a family campout on New Year’s Eve. Campers will have the entire park to themselves! Activities will include fireworks over Lake Weir, sparklers, refreshments as well as arts & crafts. The event will also include kayaking, hiking and guided tram tours. Tents, camping gear, meals and snack are all included. The campout begins December 31 at 2 p.m. and ends Monday at 11 a.m. The cost is $16 for adults, $8 for kids 12 and under. To register, call (352) 671-8560 or email [email protected]
Florida’s Largest Living Nativity
Florida’s largest drive-thru living nativity pageant has been celebrated in Ocala for more than 20 years. The event at Good Shepherd Presbyterian Church tells the story of redemption — from the Garden of Eden to the birth of Christ. The free event features episodes from Bible history including. Click for photo gallery and event details.
Living Nativity Pageant at Good Shepherd
It’s the largest living nativity in Florida! And it’s right here in Ocala. For more than 20 years, the biblical story of redemption — from the Garden of Eden to the birth of Christ — has been retold in a live pageant at Good Shepherd Presbyterian Church in Ocala. The free event features episodes from Bible history including Noah’s Ark, the crossing of the Jordan River, the pillar of fire in the desert, the voice of the prophets, the high priest and the ark of the covenant. All leading up to the coming of Jesus of Nazareth. (Click for Video.)
This year’s event is held December 16 and 17 (Saturday and Sunday) with walk-through times from 6:00 to 7:30 p.m. and drive-through times from 7:30 to 9:00. The nativity includes live music and admission is free. The location is Good Shepherd Presbyterian Church, 151 SW 87th Place in Ocala. See map at the bottom of this page for location details.
Map to Good Shepherd Presbyterian Church:
Attack on Fort King!
OCALA, FL — Ocala’s very own Fort King will see battle again on December 2 and 3, as the city hosts “A Fight for Freedom: Attack on Fort King.” The two-day re-enactment at the newly reconstructed fort will depict Chief Osceola’s attack on Fort King and the death of Indian Agent Wiley Thompson, which sparked the Second Seminole War.
The first fort was built in 1827 and named for Colonel William King who commanded Florida’s Fourth Infantry and served as the governor of West Florida in the early 1800s. Fort King played an important role in the first two Seminole Wars and was eventually burned to the ground by the Seminoles. A second Fort King served as Marion County’s first courthouse in 1844 before being abandoned and stripped for materials.
“A Fight for Freedom” will take place on December 2 and 3 at the Fort King National Historic Landmark at 3925 East Fort King Street, just east of 36th Ave. in Ocala. Parking is available at the Duke Energy power line field located a quarter-mile east of the Fort. A shuttle will be running continuously throughout the event for pick-ups and drop-offs. Parking at the Fort will be for handicapped or disabled guests only.
Admission is $5 per person, but free for veterans, active military and children ages five and under. For information, call (352) 368-5533 or visit https://fortkingocala.com/.
34th Annual Light Up Ocala
OCALA, FL — Historic Downtown Ocala will celebrate the holidays with Light Up Ocala, kicking off this year on Saturday, November 18 from 4 to 9 p.m.
The festivities will include live local music, food, crafts and a holiday tree-lighting ceremony at 6:30 p.m. With more than a hundred vendors and four stages, there will be something to enjoy throughout the historic downtown, with weekend activities through the end of the year.
The celebration kicks off at 4:30 p.m. with the Junior Sunshine Parade, starting at at the corner of SE First Avenue and E Fort King Street. The parade will wind through the downtown area before returning to Citizens Circle at 151 SE Osceola Ave. Local dance studios, scouting troops and Santa himself will be featured in the parade.
The Grinch returns to Light Up Ocala this year with his very own Whoville, located at the courtyard of the Brick City Cafe. Stop by for photo opportunities!
Ice skating is back this year at a new location. The “Let’s Skate Ocala” ice rink will be open in Tuscawilla Park through Sunday, Dec. 31. Admission is $5 per person including skates. The rink will be open Tuesdays and Thursdays from 5 to p.m., Fridays from 5 to 10 p.m. , Saturdays from noon to 10 p.m. , and Sundays from 1 to 6 p.m.
Light Up Ocala includes four stages this year including the Downtown Square gazebo, Citizens Circle at Fort King and Osceola, the North Lot at the corner of NE First Street and NE First Ave., and the Marion Theater at Magnolia Avenue and Fort King Street.
Free parking is available at the new downtown parking garage at 296 SE Broadway St. and the County Courthouse at 110 NW First Ave. Shuttle services will run from the parking facilities to the center of the activities.
NEW: Ocala Garage Sales Live Map
Headed out shop garage sales in Ocala and Marion County this week? Then you’ll want to be sure to check the all-new garage sale map on Ocala4sale, which includes all the listed garage sales currently posted. Now finding garage sales in your neighborhood is easier than ever! Click to visit the Ocala Garage Sales page.
If you’re on a mobile device, use two fingers to scroll the map, and click on the clustered icons to zoom in on particular neighborhoods, such as Southeast Ocala, Silver Springs Shores or Belleview.
And remember, it’s not too late to get your sale listed on Ocala4sale. Just click to post a free ad for your sidewalk sale, garage sale or yard sale and get more customers to your next sale.
Yard Sale Vendors Wanted!
Boy Scout Troop 100 is looking for vendors who would like to purchase a table for their fall Yard Sale! If you have items you want to get rid of, but not the place to have a yard sale, this is your chance to cash in on things you don’t use anymore! Tables cost $20 each. If you have items to donate, the scouts will take items off your hands! the yard sale will be held Saturday, November 11th from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. at First United Methodist Church. For reservations or donations please call us at (352) 629-1663.
New & Improved!
Welcome to the new & improved Ocala4sale.com. In celebration of our 20th year online, Ocala4sale has undergone a major upgrade to better server buyers and sellers. We hope you like the new experience. For more information about the upgrade (and to contact us about any question you may have), please visit this page.