6:31 PM EDT, July 3, 2012
Out of power? Many people are buying generators to get by until electricity is back.
Here is your nuts and bolts guide of what to look for when buying the temporary power fix.
Home improvement store managers say if you follow their suggestions hunting for the right generator is not as confusing as you may think.
Most generators are portable and can't supply power to an entire house.
A manager at Home Depot in Roanoke says people without electricity should make a list of appliances they absolutely need to use like the refrigerator, washer, dryer, or air conditioner and the wattages or amps they use.
Common wattage generators, that run off five thousand watts, can quickly overload.
"It's going to do just the basics. It's going to maybe do a room air conditioner, it's going to do a refrigerator a freezer like that, but you don't want to overload one of these things because it will shut down," said Mark Rowland, a manager at The Home Depot in Roanoke.
Generators are not cheap.
Portable generators can go from $500 to $1,500 and those are considered inexpensive.
Also you should constantly keep tabs on its status. That means making sure it's full of oil and gas and kept outside.
And make sure you have a heavy duty extension cord to handle all the power.
Generators aren't scarce either. We were able to find nearly 500 at stores in the Roanoke Valley and in the New River Valley.
One store in Franklin County was expected to get a truckload Tuesday night.
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