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Jul 29, 2021 4:12:36 PM by Lauren Mangano

7 Tips To Safely Use a Generator

Portable and permanent generators can provide lifesaving benefits when your home or business is faced with a power outage. They can power a wide range of critical electrical equipment including heating units, refrigerators, freezers, lighting, computers, and water pumps. However, generators also come with their own set of risks. In order to ensure safety for yourself, your family, and the people working to restore power in your area, you must adhere to the following guidelines.
Generator safety

Seven Ways to Stay Safe

Read the owner's manual

Before you run your portable generator for the first time or once your standby generator is installed, read the instruction manual in full. If you're ever in doubt about operating or maintaining a generator, go with the most common sense option. For example, even if the manual doesn't say anything about replacing frayed power cords, you should still do so. You can also call up the company that installed it for you to ask any questions, even if the questions seem silly. It's always better to be safe than sorry!
How Does a Backup Generator Work? & Other FAQ's

Use it in a safe, outdoor location

Never run a generator in an enclosed space, including the home, garage, or crawl space. Generators emit toxic fumes that fans, windows, and doors cannot extinguish adequately. For portable generators, choose a safe, dry outdoor location away from open windows, vents, and doors for both your own house and neighboring homes. You should never touch a generator if you are wet or are standing on damp ground or in water.
Permanent standby generators are installed in a weather-shielded box and that's anchored to the ground, so you won't have to worry about moisture or movement with this kind. Standby generators also turn on automatically, so you shouldn't have to touch it while it's providing power. A professional contractor will help you locate the best spot for the backup generator that's far away enough from the home and in compliance with safety standards.

Stick to the recommended maintenance schedule

Follow the guidelines from the generator manufacturer for routine maintenance, as these practices ensure optimal performance and safety. Like your air conditioning and heating systems, annual maintenance is important to stop issues before they occur and make sure everything is running smoothly.

Lay extension cords properly

Portable generators usually have multiple outlets that allow for extension cords to be plugged in. if you're using extension cords with it, make sure that they are a heavy duty, grounded variety and that they're rated for the application. If the generator has a three-prong plug, you should always select a three-prong extension cord. Uncoil cords and lay them flat in open locations to prevent heat buildup.

Avoid backfeeding

Backfeeding is the process of plugging a cord from a portable generator into a home outlet in order to feed electricity directly into the home, rather than plugging it into the manual transfer switch which powers the selected appliances.
This could work, but it's not recommended. At it's best, it can be a tripping hazard and requires windows or doors to be open (which isn't safe in a storm). At it's worst, it can be deadly to both you and the utility workers. A licensed electrician should connect a generator to a main electrical panel by installing the proper equipment according to local electrical codes.
Request a Free Generator Installation Estimate

Minimize risk of combustion

Gasoline and gas vapors are quite flammable. Before you refuel a generator, let the engine cool for a minimum of two minutes and always use fresh gasoline. If you're not planning to use the generator within the next month, use a fuel stabilizer to stabilize the gas. You may also want to install a carbon monoxide alarm that will alert you if carbon monoxide levels become a potential hazard.

Stay at a distance

Lastly, keep children and pets away from portable generators. Many generator components are hot enough to burn you during operation.
Having a generator is a great way to ensure comfort and safety in times of need. Make sure you follow these tips to create the safest possible environment when operating your generator.
If you live in the Delaware Valley/Greater Philadelphia area and would like to find comfort within your home, visit our website or give us a call at 215 - 245 - 3200 to learn more.

This entry was posted in Safety, Generators, Power Outage

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