A good generator can make a storm or a power outage much more tolerable, but there are also some risks too, as improper use can cause a fire or worse, lead to shock and even death. Fires are typically caused by not fueling the generator properly or storing the fuel incorrectly. If a generator is not installed correctly, you could accidentally energize other electrical systems which poses a danger for yourself, your family and especially unsuspecting utility workers. And if a generator is not used in a well ventilated area, you could receive carbon monoxide poisoning from the exhaust which can lead to death. Follow these tips and use a generator safely.
- Never use a generator in an enclosed space like your home, garage or crawl space. Fatal fumes can build up and not even open doors and windows can provide enough ventilation. The best place is outside, away from all doors and windows.
- It’s a good idea to use a battery operated carbon monoxide detector in the area where you’re using a generator.
- Plug appliances directly into a generator using grounded extension cords in good condition. Never plug a generator directly into an outlet in your home.
- If you want a generator connected to your home’s wiring, you’ll need to contact a licensed electrician who can install a transfer switch. If the generator is not connected properly it can pose a risk to you, your family and neighbors and especially unsuspecting utility workers.
- Keep the generator dry and don’t use it in wet conditions. And if you or your hands are wet, don’t touch the generator.
- Always read the manufacturer’s guidelines before operating and maintaining your generator.
More and more people are purchasing portable generators to keep electric appliances running when power outages occur. Be sure to understand the potential hazards before using a generator. See our brochure: