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  • PG&E’s Radical Plan to Prevent Wildfires: Shut Down the Power Grid

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    PG&E Corp. can’t prevent its power lines from sparking the kinds of wildfires that have killed scores of Californians. So instead, it plans to pull the plug on a giant swath of the state’s population.

    No U.S. utility has ever blacked out so many people on purpose. PG&E says it could knock out power to as much as an eighth of the state’s population for as long as five days when dangerously high winds arise. Communities likely to get shut off worry PG&E will put people in danger, especially the sick and elderly, and cause financial losses with slim hope of compensation.

    In October, in a test run of sorts, PG&E for the first time cut power to several small communities over wildfire concerns, including the small Napa Valley town of Calistoga, for about two days. Emergency officials raced door-to-door to check on elderly residents, some of whom relied on electric medical devices. Grocers dumped spoiling inventory. Hotels lost business.

    PG&E is “essentially shifting all of the burden, all of the losses onto everyone else,” said Dylan Feik, who was Calistoga city manager until earlier this month.

    By shutting off power in fire-prone parts of its service area, which are home to 5.4 million people, PG&E said in regulatory filings it hopes to prevent more deadly wildfires. The San Francisco-based company sought bankruptcy protection in January, citing more than $30 billion in potential damages from fires linked to its equipment.

    This plan amounts to an admission by PG&E that it can’t always fulfill its basic job of delivering electricity both safely and reliably. Years of drought and a drying climate have turned the state’s northern forests into a tinderbox, and the utility has failed to make needed investments to make its grid sturdier.

    During this year’s wildfire season, which typically starts around June, PG&E is preparing to make cutoffs to a far larger geographic region than it has targeted for blackouts in the past, increasing the number of potentially affected customers nearly 10-fold. While it is unlikely all areas would be affected at once, the outages may turn entire counties dark.

    The company said it is attempting to figure out how to avoid stranding medically vulnerable residents and is working with local authorities to try to ensure water, traffic lights and phone services aren’t shut off. It concedes it may end up cutting power to some of these services until it can build a better system.

    “We simply don’t have the luxury, given the extreme weather conditions we are seeing, to wait to get it perfect,” said Aaron Johnson, the PG&E vice president in charge of the program.

    PG&E said it generally wouldn’t cover losses due to intentional blackouts — regulations don’t require it to — though it would consider claims case-by-case. It declined to say whether it has ever compensated anyone for such claims.

    The plug-pulling could go on for years. PG&E is rushing to strengthen its system to make its power lines more fire resistant and to trim trees in fire-prone areas. It is installing equipment to pinpoint shut-offs more accurately. In February, it said that work would take five years or longer.

    California has long faced wildfire risk in the summer and fall, when hot, strong winds threaten to dislodge power lines that can ignite dry brush. Drought and climate change have made the risk especially acute in Northern California, where aging power lines cut through forests filled with dead trees.

    Although California is drought-free for the first time since 2011 and has experienced a rainy spring, a hot, dry summer could desiccate new vegetation, creating more fuel for wildfires.

    California regulators and elected officials acknowledge the PG&E shut-offs could have unintended consequences but say the fire threat warrants extreme measures. Wildfires have destroyed thousands of homes and killed dozens of people in Northern California in recent years. State fire investigators determined that PG&E equipment played a role in starting 18 wildfires in 2017 that killed 22 people.

    Last November, the so-called Camp Fire burned down the town of Paradise and killed 85 people. PG&E has said its equipment was probably the cause. The company had repeatedly delayed a safety overhaul of a century-old high-voltage transmission line that is a prime suspect.

    “We find ourselves as a state in the situation where this appears to be a necessary program,” said Elizaveta Malashenko, the California Public Utilities Commission’s safety and enforcement chief. “The best we can do is establish parameters around it.” These rules will include reporting requirements and rules for when a utility could shut off power.

    San Diego Gas & Electric was the first California utility to cut power during dry, windy weather. It first contemplated doing so after a deadly fire in 2007 but didn’t black out any areas until 2013, because of pushback from residents and regulators. It has been adding weather stations to precisely locate problem areas, as well as technology that allows it to shut down smaller parts of its grid.

    To date, the San Diego utility’s largest blackout affected about 20,800 people. “If conditions threaten the integrity of our system, we will turn off power to protect public safety,” said a company spokeswoman. State rules, she said, “prevent payment for damages, such as food spoilage.”

    Calistoga cutoff

    PG&E has shut off power to reduce the risk of sparking fires only once before. The experience left residents, business owners and local officials unhappy. Last October, as winds reached 50 miles an hour, it shut off parts of its system that served 60,000 people in parts of seven counties.

    Calistoga, a town of about 5,300 on the edge of wine country, was among those that went dark. City officials said communication with the company broke down when the lights went off, leaving them scrambling to find information and send medical help to vulnerable residents in three mobile-home parks. Some people spent nearly three days without power.

    “This makes good business sense,” said Mr. Feik, the former city manager, of the power cut-off, “but from a public policy perspective, it’s awful.”

    At the Calistoga Inn, an 18-room hotel with a restaurant and brewery, the lights went out during the dinner rush with 150 people dining on the patio. It took two days to restore power, forcing owner Michael Dunsford to clean out his refrigerators and issue refunds to hotel customers. Mr. Dunsford, also the town’s vice mayor, estimated the outage cost him about $15,000 in lost revenue and inventory.

    The local hospital postponed surgeries. All three Calistoga schools closed. At the Calistoga Roastery, a refrigerator full of groceries used to make breakfast and lunch had to be thrown away. October is peak season for wine tourists, and hotels and restaurants had to cancel reservations.

    Cal Mart, the local grocery store, closed for about 18 hours, costing owner Bill Shaw thousands of dollars in perishable goods. He plans to spend more than $100,000 to install a generator in the coming months.

    Rural Sierra County, home to about 3,000 people in the Sierra Nevada, depends on internet-based phone service that doesn’t operate without electricity. When PG&E shut off power, the county lost its ability to use “reverse 911,” a system to alert residents using a recorded phone message.

    “We would implore PG&E to rethink this policy,” the Sierra County board of supervisors later wrote in a letter to the company.

    Resilience zones

    PG&E is expanding its blackout program following the big 2018 Camp Fire.

    It acknowledged the blackout resulted in some problems and said it is working to improve communications in future shut-offs. It also plans to create what it calls resilience zones, islands of power in town centers that provide electricity for certain services — police, a grocery store, a gas station, a community center where people can charge phones. That would require that PG&E deliver a generator to the zone after power is cut.

    “We are a society so dependent on electricity,” said Junice Wilson, director of Mendocino Coast Home Health and Hospice, an agency that provides in-home services to about 100 residents in a rural coastal community. “It will be difficult for folks dependent on medical equipment.”

    Conflicting estimates of how many people will be affected can make it hard to plan. In February, a lawyer representing Napa County wrote in a regulatory filing that PG&E told the county there were 150 people on a list of residents who received low-cost electricity because they used medical devices such as motorized wheelchairs and respirators. The state later said there were 1,691 people on the list. Meanwhile, the county had a separate list of 900 residents who needed electricity for medical reasons.

    Expanding the program without first working out the bugs is a dangerous approach, said Irwin Redlener, a public-health professor at Columbia University and head of the National Center for Disaster Preparedness. “This is a population experiment that has some real ethical questions associated with it.”

    Mr. Johnson, the PG&E official in charge of the program, said the company plans 350 community meetings this year to spread awareness about the blackouts. He said it also plans to conduct drills with county emergency officials in the early summer, when hot, dry winds could return to spark fires.

    “The program will continue to evolve,” he said, “and get better and better each month.”

    In Santa Rosa, a city devastated by wildfires in 2017, Councilman Jack Tibbetts said residents would likely tolerate a few days without power, given the alternative they had experienced.

    Mr. Tibbetts, who serves as executive director of the county’s Society of St. Vincent de Paul, the region’s largest soup kitchen, added that it’s looking into buying a generator so it doesn’t have to shut down. “It is probably a good time to be in the generator business.”

  • 60th Anniversary of the Desert Classic Golf Championship and A-iPower Was There To Help Supply Power

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    60th Anniversary of the Desert Classic Golf Championship and A-iPower Was There To Help Supply PowerIf any place needs to have “quiet power” it is a golf outing!

    A-iPower was proud to have one of its products selected for remote power at the 60th Anniversary of the Desert Classic (https://www.desert-classic.com).

    The SC2000i was appointed to power a remote communications transfer station right next to one of the greens! Talk about a place where a generator needs to be quiet – this is it.

    Why was the SC2000i selected?
    This 79cc Yamaha powered, gasoline inverter generator is not only very quiet when running in either Eco Mode (a setting that changes engine speed based on power demands) or normal operating RPMs, but it also produces clean power. With a THD (total harmonic distortion) of 3% or less, this unit is perfect for the Desert Classic’s sensitive electronics and power needs.

    Throw in a long run time (up to 7 hrs at 50% load) along with its super quiet operation, clean power output PLUS a great price point and they had another event champion!

  • Safety at the Forefront for A-iPower’s Commitment to the Portable Generator Manufacturers’ Association

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    Safety at the Forefront for A-iPower’s Commitment to the Portable Generator Manufacturers’ AssociationWe, at A-iPower, take generator safety very seriously. This is one reason why we’ve joined the PGMA or Portable Generator Manufacturers’ Association. We feel it is very important to participate in our group of peers to contribute and stay abreast of trends in safety, security and protection technology for the well being of our consumers

    What Is The PGMA?

    The Portable Generator Manufacturers’ Association (PGMA) is a trade association that seeks to develop and influence safety and performance standards for our industry’s products. The Association is also dedicated to educating consumers on the safe use of portable generators, and has developed the Take it Outside™ campaign to support its mission. Formed in 2009, PGMA members include major manufacturers of portable generators sold in North America and a significant majority of the industry.

    What is the Definition of a Portable Generator?

    “Portable generators” are engine-driven power generators that are intended for multiple uses and designed for portability, though not necessarily with wheels. Portable generators, by our definition, do not include trailer-mounted generators, generators in motor homes, generators intended to be pulled by vehicles, and standby or stationary generators that are permanently connected

  • Are You Prepared – Preparing for Approaching Hurricanes

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    Are You Prepared – Preparing for Approaching HurricanesThe active hurricane season began in June and FEMA and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security advise preparedness plans are essential to avoid being left in the dark should a hurricane or other natural disaster strike.

    Essential to disaster preparedness is a generator to power a house, small business, farm or ranch. Generators come in a variety of starting watts and running watts, so what should you consider when you need a solution to not only keep food cold and well or sump pumps running, but also keeping the home cool enough in hot-weather conditions. Air conditioning needs are critical for the very young, the elderly, and the sick.

    A-iPower, a manufacturer of portable generators, offers these tips for homeowners choosing a generator.

    Enough Power: Choose a generator with enough wattage output to power the appliances you’ll need in an emergency. Look for continuous running watts rather than surge wattage ratings when determining the correct generator to buy.

    The more watts your generator has, the more items you can power at the same time. To know how much you will need, calculate all the wattage requirements of all the items you may need to operate in case of an emergency. Typically, wattage is listed on the device, on the back or on the bottom. If not, a simple formula for determining watts is multiplying volts x amps. The total will tell you the model of generator you need.

    One thing to remember is that some devices have starting wattage requirements that are larger than running watts, like the air-conditioner, which is the biggest power user. So to calculate the minimum number of watts you need, use the starting watts of the air conditioner plus the running watts for all other devices. This is the minimum wattage you will need from a generator.

    For example, let’s say you have a generator with 4,500 starting watts and 3,500 running watts. A 10,000 btu central air conditioner will take about 3,000 (depending on model) starting watts. After it has powered up, it will run at about 1,500 watts. That leaves you 2,000 watts to power other items. So, if you plan to run more items that will exceed 2,000 watts, you will need a larger generator.

    It’s a good idea to give yourself some wiggle room on the total watts needed and go for a model the next size up.

    Run times: Check to see how long the run times are on a full tank of gas. The generator run time is found on the generator spec sheet and owner’s manual. Run time is determined at 50% load levels and the power used directly impacts the run time. The more power used, the shorter the run time and the sooner you will have to refuel.

    Sufficient electrical outlets: A portable generator should have enough receptacles for the devices a homeowner wants to run. Models that include a multi-outlet cord offer greater convenience.

    Always Be Safe

    When using your generator, take time to observe the following important safety rules.

    • Always read and follow the manufacturer’s operating manual and instructions before running a generator.
    • NEVER run a generator inside the house or a garage. Running engines give off carbon monoxide fumes, which can be lethal. Keep the generator away from open windows, vents, and doors.
    • Never try to power the house wiring by plugging the generator into a wall outlet, a practice known as “backfeeding.” This is an extremely dangerous practice that presents an electrocution risk to utility workers and neighbors served by the same utility transformer. It also bypasses some of the built-in household protection devices. Either plug appliances directly into the generator with power cords that are in good condition or have an electrician install a certified transfer switch.
    • Be careful when refueling the portable generator. Shut it down and allow it to cool down between fills.
    • Do not operate the generator near combustible materials.
    • Don’t get the generator wet or you risk the possibility of electrocution. Running it in your garage is not safe either because the carbon monoxide fumes can seep into your house. There are products on the market that provides a tent-like cover on the machine, allowing you to safely run it and refuel it during wet weather.

    For more product information and where to buy, consumers can visit www.a-ipower.com

  • A-iPOWER INTRODUCES THE AP1000 ENERGY CUBE

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    A-iPOWER INTRODUCES THE AP1000 ENERGY CUBEA-iPower, a manufacturer of portable generators, pressure washers, water pumps, and gasoline engines, is expanding its generator line with the introduction of the AP1000 Energy Cube.

    Powered by a 63cc, two-stroke engine the AP1000 outputs 800 running watts and 1,000 starting watts, and runs for 8.5 hours at 50 percent load. This rugged little machine is both EPA and CARB compliant and is safe to use in any national park with its spark arrestor. It’s also easy for any one person to transport.

    The control panel features an engine On/Off switch, easy-to-use choke/throttle lever, two 120V household receptacles, a single 12VDC /8.3A USB-ready multi-purpose outlet and circuit reset buttons.

    Other features engineered for ease of use include an informative and easy to understand control panel for user-friendly access, push-to-reset circuit breakers for overload protection and near effortless recoil starting. An ergonomically-designed handle provides easy transportation and as an added bonus – being a 2 stroke generator– its engine never requires an oil change.

    A-iPower even includes the first bottle of oil with the Energy Cube and mixing the 50:1 oil/gas ratio is easy – 2.6 oz. of oil to one gallon of gas.

    The Energy Cube is perfect for power tools, light-duty home needs, small appliances and recreational use, especially RVing.

  • A-iPOWER OFFERS SUA12000ECSA ELECTRIC START PORTABLE GENERATOR FOR THE CANADIAN MARKET

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    SUA12000ECSAThe SUA120000ECSA generator from A-iPower for the Canadian market (CSA approved) offers 12,000 watts of starting power and 9,000 watts of running power for durable portable power on the job site or as home backup power during emergencies.

    On the jobsite, the unit is capable of running multiple tools at once based on wattage demand of each. Learn more here: http://main-3vd1b.hosts.cx/find-your-power/. At home, it can run many home appliances at the same time including the refrigerator and air conditioner, pump, fan, lights, and television.

    User-Friendly Features

    Easy to operate and maintain, the SUA12000ECSA is equipped with keyless one-touch button electric start. A digital hour meter monitors run times and scheduling of maintenance intervals, and low-oil shutdown automatically protects the engine from potential damage. Push-to-reset circuit breakers provide overload protection and a duel element air filter protects the engine while allowing extended service interval.

    Users will always know how much fuel they have with a built-in, easy-to-read fuel gauge. A counter-sink around the fuel filling port prevents overflow while filling; a fuel tank breather hose provides added protection from accidental damage.

    An ergonomically-angled compact control panel has multiple front-panel outlets for easy power connections. The panel houses six receptacles, which include: four NEMA 120VAC 20A outlets; one NEMA 120VAC 30A, L5-30R twist-lock outlet; one NEMA 120/240VAC 50A L14-50R industrial grade outlet; and a 12VDC 8.3A adapter plug for battery charging or with a USB adapter.

    A built-in handle provides easy transportation and folds down for compact storage.

    Power and Durability

    The SUA12000ECSA is equipped with a 459cc/16hp OHV engine and efficient, high-output Senci alternator, which delivers greater peak wattage when starting motor-driven tools and appliances. An intelligent automatic voltage regulator (AVR) helps minimize voltage fluctuations and delivers stable power under load.

    The unit is constructed of a 1.2-inch diameter rigid tubular steel frame treated with a high-quality rustproof powder coat finish; seamless welding prevents leakage and edges and corners are curved for added safety. Cast iron cylinder sleeves provide for engine durability and extended run life. A seven-gallon heavy duty all steel fuel tank provides up to nine hours of run time at 50 percent load. Never-flat 9.5-inch wheels are designed for heavy-duty loads and improved traction and mobility over rough terrain. A weatherproof covers provide added protection from the environment and rugged working conditions.

    A 12V-14AH maintenance-free battery is included with the unit.

  • A-iPOWER ADDS ENHANCEMENTS TO FOUR GENERATOR MODELS

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    A-iPOWER ADDS ENHANCEMENTS TO FOUR GENERATOR MODELSA-iPower announces flexibility and safety enhancements to four portable generator models with the addition of a 12VDC, USB-ready multifunction port and GFCI outlet protection on 120V outlets.

    “We are offering our customers flexibility with the 12VDC multifunction outlet and safety with the GFCI outlets on models SUA5000, SUA7000, SUA9000E, and SUA12000E,” said Dorrance Noonan, CEO of A-iPower.

    “Many of our competitors have USB ports on them allowing a person to plug their phone or iPad directly into the generator. However, that is all you can use it for. Our 12VDC USB-ready multifunction port allows it to be used with any device that has a cigarette type plug but also other adapters depending on your need,” Noonan said.

    As an example, a generator that only has a USB plug could not handle the power needed for larger electronics to function unless it has a separate DC power inverter to plug into the generator’s outlets. The 12VDC USB-ready port eliminates the need for that secondary power inverter, providing flexibility and convenience to the user.

    GFCI Protection

    GFCI outlets are important for added safety. While not required by the Consumer Protection Safety Commission and though they are more costly than regular outlets, these outlets can prevent electrical shock in wet locations, inclement conditions or when something interrupts normal flow of the generators output. While no generator company encourages a user to expose and run their generator in unstable conditions, should something unforeseen happen, the GFCI outlets can shut off the flow in an instant — as little as .025 second.

    The SUA5000, SUA7000, SUA9000E, and SUA12000E have running watts of 4,250, 6,000, 7,250, and 9,0000 respectively. Keyless one-touch push-button start is offered on the SUA9000E and SUA12000E.

    The generators’ shared features and benefits include:

    • High-performance alternator: Provides greater peak wattage, which allows motor-driven appliances and tools to operate simultaneously;
    • Intelligent automatic voltage regulator (AVR): Helps minimize voltage fluctuations and delivers stable power under load;
    • Digital hour meter: For monitoring run times and scheduling of maintenance intervals;
    • Built-in, easy-to-read fuel gauge;
    • Low-oil shutdown: Automatically protects engine from potential damage;
    • Easy-access, ergonomically-angled compact control panel: Multiple front-panel outlets for easy power connections; weatherproof covers provide added protection from the environment and rugged working conditions;
    • Push-to-reset circuit breakers: Provides overload protection;
    • Dual element air filter: Protects engine while allowing extended service interval;
    • Low-tone muffler with USDA-approved spark arrestor;
    • Counter-sink around fuel filling port: Prevents fuel overflow while filling;
    • Fuel tank breather hose: Provides added protection from accidental damage;
    • Built-in, ergonomically-designed handle: Provides easy transportation and folds down for compact storage.
  • FOOD SAFETY WHEN THE POWER GOES OUT

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    FOOD SAFETY WHEN THE POWER GOES OUTWhen the power goes out, inconvenience is just beginning for homeowners who need light, air-conditioning, television, and other appliances to keep their household running. Especially critical is keeping refrigerated and frozen food at the right temperature to ensure safe eating. So in the event of a hurricane, or other natural disasters that result in wide-spread long-term power outages, how long will your food stay safe?

    Perishables – meat, poultry, fish, eggs, and dairy products – need to be refrigerated at or below 40 degrees F and frozen food at or below zero degrees F. In the case of a power outage, food can be safely cold for about four hours if the refrigerator remains unopened. A full freezer will hold the temperature for approximately 48 hours (24 hours if it is half full) if the door remains closed.

    But as is often the case, when disaster strikes, getting the power back on can be a days-long, or even weeks-long process, so the U.S. Department of Agriculture Food Safety and Inspection Service has a long list of what needs to be discarded if your refrigerator has been without power for more than 4 hours.

    These include: raw, cooked, or leftover meat, poultry, fish, eggs, and egg substitutes; luncheon meat and hot dogs; casseroles, soups, stews, and pizza; mixed salads (i.e., chicken, tuna, macaroni, potato); gravy and stuffing; milk, cream, yogurt, sour cream, and soft cheeses; cut fruits and vegetables (fresh); cooked vegetables; fruit and vegetable juices (opened); creamy-based salad dressings; batters and doughs (i.e., pancake batter, cookie dough); custard, chiffon, or cheese pies; cream-filled pastries; and garlic stored in oil.

    The average household budget would take quite a hit to replace the above. While coolers, a supply of ice, or dry ice help when you have time to prepare, and may help to extend the safe life cycle of your foods, it makes more sense to be always ready with a portable generator.

    “It’s important for homeowners to be aware of the importance of emergency planning before a weather emergency. Having a portable electrical generator on hand when it will be needed most is a big part of such a plan,” said Dorrance Noonan, CEO of A-iPower, a manufacturer of portable power equipment. “Generators can keep the lights on, food cold, pump water, and run essentials such as cell phones, televisions, and laptops.”

    How Much Is At Stake?

    Do you know how much you have invested in the contents of you refrigerator and freezer? According to a 2014 insurance study of policy claims when failures occurred, they found the average value of contents can be $400-$500 on average. One event can justify the cost of a generator!

    Tips for choosing a generator

    When choosing a portable generator, A-iPower recommends homeowners look for these features:

    Enough Power: Choose a generator with enough wattage output to power the appliances you’ll need in an emergency. Take into account both continuous running watts and surge wattage ratings when determining the correct generator to buy.

    The more watts your generator has, the more items you can power at the same time. To know how much you will need, calculate all the wattage requirements of all the items you may need to operate in case of an emergency. Typically, wattage is listed on the device, on the back or on the bottom. If not, a simple formula for determining watts is multiplying volts x amps. The total will tell you the model of generator you need.

    Many websites offer assistance when assessing power needs. One such site is found here: A-iPower.com.

    A standard refrigerator and freezer unit requires anywhere from 1500 to 2300 starting watts and 500-750 running watts depending on size and capacity.

    One thing to remember is that some devices have starting wattage requirements that are larger than running watts, like the air-conditioner, which is the biggest power user. So to calculate the minimum number of watts you need, use the starting watts of the air conditioner plus the running watts for all other devices. This is the minimum wattage you will need from a generator.

    For example, let’s say you have a generator with 4,500 starting watts and 3,500 running watts. A 10,000 btu central air conditioner will take about 3,000 (depending on model) starting watts. After it has powered up, it will run at about 1,500 watts. That leaves you 2,000 watts to power other items. So, if you plan to run more items that will exceed 2,000 watts, you will need a larger generator. It’s a good idea to give yourself some wiggle room on the total watts needed and go for a model the next size up.

    Run times: Check to see how long the run times are on a full tank of gas. The generator run time is found on the generator spec sheet and owner’s manual. Run time is determined at 50% load levels and the power used directly impacts the run time. The more power used, the shorter the run time and the sooner you will have to refuel.

    Sufficient electrical outlets: A portable generator should have enough receptacles for the devices a homeowner wants to run. Models that include a multi-outlet cord offer greater convenience.

    A-iPower portable generators, which come in 10 different models, are specifically designed to provide easy-to-use backup power in an emergency. They can run through the night on a full tank of gas and, depending on the model, can power multiple appliances at the same time. The line includes models that meet California CARB standards and are approved for sale in California.

    For more information on A-iPower portable generators, visit A-iPower.com.

    For more information on Food Safety visit:

    Food Safety.gov (U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services)

    USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service, www.fsis.usda.gov

    USDA: “Keep Your Food Safe During Emergencies,”

  • BE PREPARED FOR APPROACHING HURRICANE SEASON

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    BE PREPARED FOR APPROACHING HURRICANE SEASONTips for Choosing a Generator

    The active hurricane season begins June 1 and FEMA and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security advise preparedness plans are essential to avoid being left in the dark should a hurricane or other natural disaster strike.

    Essential to disaster preparedness is a generator to power a house, small business, farm or ranch. Generators come in a variety of starting watts and running watts, so what should you consider when you need a solution to not only keep food cold and well or sump pumps running, but also keeping the home cool enough in hot-weather conditions. Air conditioning needs are critical for the very young, the elderly, and the sick.

    A-iPower, a manufacturer of portable generators, offers these tips for homeowners choosing a generator.

    Enough Power: Choose a generator with enough wattage output to power the appliances you’ll need in an emergency. Take into account both continuous running watts and surge wattage ratings when determining the correct generator to buy.

    The more watts your generator has, the more items you can power at the same time. To know how much you will need, calculate all the wattage requirements of all the items you may need to operate in case of an emergency. Typically, wattage is listed on the device, on the back or on the bottom. If not, a simple formula for determining watts is multiplying volts x amps. The total will tell you the model of generator you need.

    Many websites offer assistance when assessing power needs. One such site is found here: http://main-3vd1b.hosts.cx/find-your-power/.

    One thing to remember is that some devices have starting wattage requirements that are larger than running watts, like the air-conditioner, which is the biggest power user. So to calculate the minimum number of watts you need, use the starting watts of the air conditioner plus the running watts for all other devices. This is the minimum wattage you will need from a generator.

    For example, let’s say you have a generator with 4,500 starting watts and 3,500 running watts. A 10,000 btu central air conditioner will take about 3,000 (depending on model) starting watts. After it has powered up, it will run at about 1,500 watts. That leaves you 2,000 watts to power other items. So, if you plan to run more items that will exceed 2,000 watts, you will need a larger generator. It’s a good idea to give yourself some wiggle room on the total watts needed and go for a model the next size up.

    Run times: Check to see how long the run times are on a full tank of gas. The generator run time is found on the generator spec sheet and owner’s manual. Run time is determined at 50% load levels and the power used directly impacts the run time. The more power used, the shorter the run time and the sooner you will have to refuel.

    Sufficient electrical outlets: A portable generator should have enough receptacles for the devices a homeowner wants to run. Models that include a multi-outlet cord offer greater convenience.

    Always Be Safe

    When using your generator, take time to observe the following important safety rules.

    • Always read and follow the manufacturer’s operating manual and instructions before running a generator.
    • NEVER run a generator inside the house or a garage. Running engines give off carbon monoxide fumes, which can be lethal. Keep the generator away from open windows, vents, and doors.
    • Never try to power the house wiring by plugging the generator into a wall outlet, a practice known as “backfeeding.” This is an extremely dangerous practice that presents an electrocution risk to utility workers and neighbors served by the same utility transformer. It also bypasses some of the built-in household protection devices. Either plug appliances directly into the generator with power cords that are in good condition or have an electrician install a certified transfer switch.
    • Be careful when refueling the portable generator. Shut it down and allow it to cool down between fills.
    • Do not operate the generator near combustible materials.
    • Don’t get the generator wet or you risk the possibility of electrocution. Running it in your garage is not safe either because the carbon monoxide fumes can seep into your house. There are products on the market that provides a tent-like cover on the machine, allowing you to safely run it and refuel it during wet weather.

    For more product information and where to buy, consumers can visit www.a-ipower.com

  • WATER TRANSFER PUMPS: A HANDY TOOL FOR HOMEOWNERS

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    WATER TRANSFER PUMPS: A HANDY TOOL FOR HOMEOWNERSONTARIO, Calif. – If it’s springtime, it’s time for heavy rains that can cause basement flooding, particularly if your grading is not sloped away from the house, or if you have cracks in your foundation. While those flooding hazards can be repaired, there is always the chance that a 100-year rain will penetrate your basement no matter what. This is where a water transfer pump will come in handy.

    Water transfer pumps are available in a variety of sizes, but their function is the same – to move water from one location to another via an inlet valve and a discharge valve.

    “While indispensible if your basement floods, water transfer pumps have other uses,” said Dorrance Noonan, CEO of A-iPower, a manufacturer of water pumps, generators, pressure washers, and gasoline engines. “They are handy for light aquarium applications, garden ponds, swimming pool covers, hot tubs, boating, and almost any other task that requires movement of water.”

    Choosing a Water Pump

    No matter the brand, all pumps have three measurements.

    • Discharge capacity (gallons per minute) – the greater the flow, the faster the water will be moved.
    • Maximum head lift (the total point from the water source to the pump) – the greater the head, the higher you can pump the water.
    • Vertical suction lift – the vertical distance that a pump may be placed above the water level and be able to draw water.

    For most lightweight residential needs, a discharge capacity of 130 gpm, a head lift of 98 feet, and a vertical lift of 23 feet are sufficient. (Numbers are approximate.)

    To ensure your pump is durable and long-lasting, check for these design/engineering features.

    • Fully enclosed heavy-duty frame
    • Silicon carbide mechanical seals
    • Cast Iron cylinder sleeve
    • Cast iron volute and impeller
    • Low-oil shutdown
    • Dual element air filter

    Operating the Water Transfer Pump

    Place the pump on a level surface free from any obstructions or potential hazards. The pump should be placed close to the water level to ensure maximum pump performance. Note: Transfer pumps are NOT submersible and should not be place in water.

    Use hoses that are no longer than necessary. That will enable the pump to produce the greatest output with the least self-priming time. The discharge hose should be short and large diameter because that will reduce fluid friction and improve pump output. A long or small-diameter hose will increase fluid friction and reduce pump output.

    Safety

    Water transfer pumps are gasoline powered and therefore, like generators, have to be run outside the home, building, or enclosure, to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning.

    To prevent fire hazards, keep the pump at least five feet away from building walls and other equipment during operation. Do not place flammable objects close to the engine.

    Water transfer pumps should not be used for pumping gasoline and fuel oil mixtures, detergents, acids, chemicals, beverages, pesticides, fertilizers or any other flammable liquid or corrosive.

    If the water contains hard or soft solids, such as mud, leaves, small twigs, sand, and sludge, use a trash water pump.