A generator can be a lifesaver for your home or business during a power outage. Portable generators are popular with homeowners for their ease of use and small size and can power important electrical equipment, such as home medical equipment, refrigerators/freezers, water pumps, portable heaters and fans.
It’s essential that you take precautions when using portable generators; they can be hazardous. Safe, portable generator use not only keeps you and your property from harm, but also protects those working to restore power.
Tips for safely using your Portable Generator
- ALWAYS read and follow the manufacturer’s operating instructions BEFORE running the generator.
- Use generators outside! Never use generators inside your home or business; this includes your garage, crawl space, enclosed basements or any enclosed area. Generator engines emit carbon monoxide fumes that can build up. Opening a door or window or using a fan does NOT provide enough fresh air ventilation to remove the fumes.
- Use battery operated carbon monoxide detectors in your home and near the area where your generator is running.
- Generators run on gasoline, which emits flammable fumes. Wait at least 2 to 5 minutes for your generator to cool BEFORE refueling with fresh gasoline. Use a fuel stabilizer if you don’t plan to use your generator for more than 30 days.
- NEVER plug your generator directly into your home’s wiring. Have a qualified electrician install a Power Transfer Switch. This can energize power lines and endanger line workers.
- NEVER operate under wet conditions. Generators produce powerful amounts of voltage. Protect your generator from exposure to wet conditions such as rain and snow. Make sure yard sprinklers do not get your generator wet.
- Never operate your generator near combustible or flammable materials. Keep the area around your generator clean and debris free. Never place items on top or underneath your generator.
- NEVER let children play on or around the generator. Keep pets away from the generator and any extension cords.
- Follow manufacturers’ maintenance schedule to keep your generator in peak performance and operating safely, so it will be ready to use when needed.
- Have a charged fire extinguisher on hand when operating a generator.