TV reception

Updated: Friday, September 23, 2016 @ 8:11 PM
Published: Monday, May 18, 2015 @ 8:42 PM

Old storm TV sets now require converter box

Now that television is digital, TV sets that get only broadcast signals, using rabbit ears or roof antennas — including that emergency TV you bought — won’t work.

If you have cable or satellite, you’ll get digital programming — but those could both be out after a storm.

You can get a special converter box for regular or storm TVs for about $60. Your converter will need a battery backup as well.

Some battery-operated portable digital televisions are coming on the market, but not many, and they can cost more than $100.

Your other option: radio. Radio stations will be flood you with information and many have agreements with local television station to simulcast TV broadcasts.

You might want to consider an NOAA weather radio. Storms often spawn tornadoes, often far from the eye, and a weather radio will let you know. Radios run about $40.

Tune in before, during, after a storm

Before a storm, decide if you will take down any outside antennae or satellite dishes. Some firms suggest leaving the dish, as it should handle high winds. Consider advance arrangements with a professional or your satellite provider for removal and reinstallation, but they’ll be swamped.

If you try it yourself, unplug components connected to TV and avoid power lines. Mark alignment position of dish on mounting pole to help with realignment after storm.

After the storm, do not work with antennae or dishes until it’s safe. Don’t climb on a slick ladder or wet roof or one covered with debris. Downed power lines might be live.

Inside, plug receiver back in. Make sure surge protector is on and breaker wasn’t popped. Check to see if the receiver needs to be reset; if so, follow instructions. With some, press and hold the power button for a few seconds.

Outside, check satellite dish to see if it’s been damaged or knocked out of alignment. Use marks made earlier as a reference.

You might be able to do basic steps to get a signal until the satellite firm or a qualified technician can reposition the dish.

Make sure dish has unobstructed view of the south. If necessary, adjust in small movements and have someone inside check signal strength. Receiver settings must be correct before moving dish.

Grills are convenient, but can be dangerous

Updated: Saturday, September 24, 2016 @ 2:02 PM
Published: Wednesday, May 18, 2016 @ 10:35 PM
By: www.prod.cmgdefault.com

When the power goes out, you may be cooking on a charcoal, propane or natural gas grill, or a hibachi.

Never leave grill unattended. Keep children away! Don’t grill near leaves, wood or other flammable objects.

CHARCOAL GRILLS

Safety first! Grills can kill. Charcoal emits carbon monoxide. It’s odorless and colorless and deadly. Grills emit it even if the lid is on, and they can emit it even if coals appear completely out. After Hurricane Wilma in 2005, a mother in a family of three died from carbon monoxide poisoning after a smoldering grill was left in a kitchen.

Grill food in a well-ventilated area. NEVER bring a grill inside a home, camper or tent. Do NOT grill in a garage, carport or shed.

Douse coals with water, stir and douse again. They are out when they are cool to the touch.

Stock up early. Store in a dry area, away from flame.

PROPANE GRILLS

Fill your propane tanks now! Lines will be long once the storm approaches. If you have a big tank, have it filled regularly during the season. If you use small tanks, have two or even three full ones on hand.

When refilling, have supplier check for dents, damage, rust or leaks. At home, check hoses for leaks, kinks or deterioration.

If tank appears damaged after a storm, don’t use it.

Keep propane tanks outside the home, but secure them so they don’t become missiles during the storm.

Use and store propane cylinders outdoors in an upright position after the storm. Do not store spare tanks close to a hot grill.

Don’t tamper with supply lines or permanent connections.

Keep grill lid open until you’re sure it’s lit.

Always make sure valves and dials are shut tight on both grill and tank. Escaping propane fumes, easy to detect by their strong odor, are deadly to breathe in quantity and can explode. If you smell gas, clear the area and seek help.

Never smoke around propane! 

Generator safety tips

Updated: Saturday, September 24, 2016 @ 2:02 PM
Published: Wednesday, May 18, 2016 @ 9:29 PM

Never run your generator in a garage, carport, crawl space, shed or porch. Place outdoors but under cover to prevent electrocution if unit gets wet. Be sure the generator isn’t positioned outside an open window, which can allow fumes into the home.

Use a carbon-monoxide alarm that’s battery-operated or has battery backup.

Never feed power from a portable generator into a wall outlet. This can kill linemen working to restore power or your neighbors who are served by the same transformer.
It also can damage your generator.

Don’t use power cords that are frayed, torn or cut. This can cause a fire or shock. Be sure all three prongs are intact and the cord is outdoor-rated. The cord’s wattage or amps must not be smaller than the sum of the connected appliance loads.

Store fuel and generator in a ventilated area and away from natural-gas water heaters. Vapors can escape from closed cans and tanks, travel to the pilot light and ignite.

Never have wet hands when operating a generator. Never let water come in contact with the generator.

Make sure you have the right cords and connectors.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission says you should not use an auxiliary tank.

Most starters use rope pulls. If yours uses a battery, keep it charged.

Always turn the engine off before refueling and let the generator cool.

Don’t spill fuel. It can ignite.

Even in the off-season, your portable generator can become just that, at the hands of a thief. Permanently bolt it down or at least secure it with a strong chain and lock.

More information: Consumer Product Safety Commission

Need more power? Many homeowners opt for large standby generators

Large, permanent generators — also known as automatic standby generators — are more powerful and quieter then their portable counterparts. And newer models are better and less intrusive than older versions.

Most are powered by propane or natural gas stored in large underground tanks or are fed by service lines. That means no shuttling to service stations to fill gasoline cans.

They’re directly wired into the home’s circuit panel. When power goes out, just fire it up and flip a switch.

Some units have a “brain” that detects outages, automatically starts the generator, and switches circuits in seconds. When power resumes, the system flips back to the house circuit and powers down the generator.

Standby generators can range in power up to 45,000 watts — enough to power an entire large home.

Determining if you need a standby generator

List the appliances you’ll want operating in an outage and total the required wattage.

Most units range in price from $10,000-$30,000. You’ll also have to pay for a concrete slab, installation and wiring.

You’ll be subject to the laborious, and costly, permitting process used for new driveways, fences, shutters and roofs. You’ll also need to meet the rules of your local homeowners association.

You’ll need to be familiar with the manufacturer’s guidelines for placement and operation. Some homes will not have room outside to place generators and still have the required space for proper ventilation and to meet fire codes and zoning.

Finding a reputable company

Consumer groups and even the police in the past have dealt with complaints that generator sales and installation outfits took money and either delivered the generators but never installed them, or never delivered them at all.

Some companies poured just the concrete slab. Some delivered units but never pulled permits.

Make sure the company shows its license. Check for complaints. Get referrals.

Sources: Palm Beach Post archives, bobvila.com, Consumer Product Safety Commission, Florida Power & Light Co.

Atlantic hurricane names

Updated: Saturday, September 24, 2016 @ 11:10 AM
Published: Thursday, May 19, 2016 @ 4:59 PM
By: www.prod.cmgdefault.com



When the the winds from these storms reach 39 mph (34 kts), the cyclones are given names. Years ago, an international committee developed names for Atlantic cyclones. In 1979 a six year rotating list of Atlantic storm names was adopted — alternating between male and female hurricane names. Storm names are used to facilitate geographic referencing, for warning services, for legal issues, and to reduce confusion when two or more tropical cyclones occur at the same time. Through a vote of the World Meteorological Organization Region IV Subcommittee, Atlantic cyclone names are retired usually when hurricanes result in substantial damage or death or for other special circumstances. The names assigned for the period between 2016 and 2020 are shown below.
Names for Atlantic Basin Tropical Cyclones

20162017201820192020

Alex
Bonnie
Colin
Danielle
Earl
Fiona
Gaston
Hermine
Ian
Julia
Karl
Lisa
Matthew
Nicole
Otto
Paula
Richard
Shary
Tobias
Virginie
Walter
Arlene
Bret
Cindy
Don
Emily
Franklin
Gert
Harvey
Irma
Jose
Katia
Lee
Maria
Nate
Ophelia
Philippe
Rina
Sean
Tammy
Vince
Whitney
Alberto
Beryl
Chris
Debby
Ernesto
Florence
Gordon
Helene
Isaac
Joyce
Kirk
Leslie
Michael
Nadine
Oscar
Patty
Rafael
Sara
Tony
Valerie
William
Andrea
Barry
Chantal
Dorian
Erin
Fernand
Gabrielle
Humberto
Imelda
Jerry
Karen
Lorenzo
Melissa
Nestor
Olga
Pablo
Rebekah
Sebastien
Tanya
Van
Wendy
Arthur
Bertha
Cristobal
Dolly
Edouard
Fay
Gonzalo
Hanna
Isaias
Josephine
Kyle
Laura
Marco
Nana
Omar
Paulette
Rene
Sally
Teddy
Vicky
Wilfred

Interactive: Home inspection tips

Updated: Friday, September 23, 2016 @ 9:17 PM
Published: Sunday, May 10, 2015 @ 4:39 PM
By: www.prod.cmgdefault.com