So you made the right decision to provide an additional protective measure for your home and grandkids – a backup power source. Blackouts happen more frequently than could imagine and they can be a real nuissance.
A whole house generator can indeed power an entire home including the heating systems, water pumps, refrigerators, lights, and medical equipment. On the other hand, portable generators can be also a viable solution for many households. Nonetheless while there are many benefits to using an emergency generator there are some risks and dangers that are associated with it.
These are some of my safety tips and precautions that should be taken when using a portable generator.
Use in Open Areas
Portable generators should never be used inside a home, garage, or another space that is enclosed. The reason for this is that they emit carbon monoxide which can be poisonous. If these fumes are indoors they can build up and a person can be toxic. Even with open windows or a running fan the carbon monoxide will still build up too quickly to be rushed away by the fresh air. The portable generator can be used outdoors away from windows and doorways. This gas in invisible so a person will not know there is a problem until it is too late. It is also wise to install a battery powered carbon monoxide detector on the unit.
Rest Between Filling
Gasoline as well as the vapors are highly flammable. Before refilling the generator allow it to cool down for at least two minutes. Never smoke cigarettes around the generator. If the portable generator is not going to be used for at least 30 days it is important to add a fuel stabilizer to the gasoline in it.
Read All Instructions Before Use
This many sound like common sense but there are many people that do not read the manufacturer’s instructions before using their portable generator. Reading the instructions will tell a person how to use the generator properly and give tips on staying safe.
Shut it Off
If a person that is around a generator begins to feel weak, sick, or dizzy the portable generator should be shut off right away. A person should go out into the fresh air and seek medical attention. This may be a sign of carbon monoxide poisoning.
In order to keep the portable generator working properly regular maintenance is important. When the machine is not in use it should be stored in a safe area. A person should have it serviced to make sure all the parts are working correctly.
Watch the Power Cord
Be aware of the placement of the power cord. The power cords should not run along the path that people are going to walk since they can be a tripping hazard. Not only can a person get hurt if the cord if pulled it can damage the unit and the outlet. When possible cover the cords with cable covers. Craig from Generator Advisor also stresses an often overlooked thing – DO NOT overload the outlets! This is a potential fire risk.
Use in Dry Areas
Do not use a portable generator near a body of water. If the water becomes exposed to the electricity it can cause a shock. The water can also damage the generator.
Keep the Generator Clean
When using the generator keep it clean. Also keep the area that is surrounding the generator clean. Remove all snow, grease, and other materials from around the generator. Rags should also be removed from the area around the generator because it can lead to a fire. If gas or oil is spilled when refilling the generator this can also lead to a potential fire.
Use Air Protection
Portable generators are very noisy and the noise that they produce is very loud. When working near a generator be sure to wear proper hearing protection. This protection includes ear plugs, headphones that are able to cancel out sound, and other equipment that can be used to protect the ears.
These are some safety tips when using a portable generator. The generator can help a person have power in case of an emergency. As long as they are used in a safe manner the generator is a good source of temporary power.