This Week on HouseSmarts

On This Week's Show

Emergency Preparedness

Whether it’s a small emergency or a large-scale disaster, HouseSmarts has some great ways to keep your family calm, safe, and ready no matter the circumstances.  Keep calm and carry on.

You Need a Backup Generator

By Lou Manfredini

Do you know when the best time is to buy a back up generator? On a bright sunny day! But when do people buy them? When the power is out and they are desperate to get the juice flowing again. The problem with the latter is that the selection is poor so you may buy the wrong one and you may pay more for it too. Here is some advice on what to buy and how to use it.

Identify what it is you need to power if the power goes out. Lighting, HVAC systems, refrigerator or freezer, sump pumps, medical equipment.
Decide on whether you want a portable unit that you set up each time the power goes out or you want a whole house system that automatically kicks on after about 30 seconds without power from the utility company. Note; Whole house systems tend to be professionally installed starting at around $5,000.00. A portable unit that can run a few essential items start at around $600.00
Buy the right size unit. Generators are rated on the wattage they produce. To run a refrigerator, some lights and a pump you will need a unit that is rated at 5000 watts. If you want to run heating systems and appliances and lighting then the unit needs to be over 8000 watts. You must determine the load of what you want to run so you size the unit correctly. As a point the average refrigerator/freezer draws 700 watts when running and over 1,000 watts at start up.
Choose the right fuel. Most portables run on gasoline but if the power is out gas pumps may not work. now you can find portables that run off of propane tanks like you use on a grill. They best part about those is you can get the tanks at a hardware store, grocery store or a gas station. They can run up to 6 hours on one 20 lbs tank.
Use common sense when operating these tools. Never operate a fuel fired generator indoors or even in a garage with the big door open. The carbon monoxide coming fro the unit can make you sick and even cause death. set the unit up at least 10 feet away from your home and make sure you have some battery operated smoke/carbon monoxide detectors in the home. do not leave the unit unattended and use larger extension cords to feed the appliances and lighting you want to run.

Finally read all of the instruction on the generator you buy. When storing the unit make sure you put a fuel additive if gas fired to keep the fuel fresh and try and start it at least twice a year and run it for about 10 minutes to make sure it's ready to go when you need it.

Roof Care

Much like the hat that protects your head from the cold weather or the heat of the sun, when it comes to your roof, there’s more than meets the eye. And keeping it maintained is of utmost importance when it comes to protecting your home. Darbi Worley connected with an expert on the subject for some “roofing know how”, from maintenance tips to how to find a qualified roofing contractor.

Fix It In 15:00 "Refinishing Surfaces"

Is that brass coach light looking a bit worse for wear?  How about that dull looking planter?  Lou has some great ideas to “spruce up” without having to “pay up” with some minimal prep and spray paint.

New to Lou Too "Eton Solar Weather Radio"

Keep yourself out of the dark and “in the know” with the Eton Solar Weather Radio. This radio will charge your phone, receive am/fm and weather band radio signals, and charge itself with its own handy solar panel.

Emergency Car Kit

You never know when an emergency might present itself – especially when you’re on the road. HouseSmarts has put together a handy kit you can keep in your car to keep yourself safe and secure when you’re out and about.


Clean water can be a rare commodity during an emergency situation. But if you carry this small cool tool around, you’ll have “water, water all around,” and every drop to drink!

Ask Lou Episode 137

Do you have a DIY or home improvement question? Well, go ahead and just Ask Lou.

Our Sponsors - Meet the partners who stand behind our brand with theirs.
Order GutterBrush Today
Ace Hardware