TK Tips

Generator Safety

Downed utility lines, power company blackouts, heavy snowfall or Summer thunderstorms could all lead to temporary power outages - some lasting for days, or even weeks. December 2008 we who were residing in the Northeast experienced a devastating Ice Storm right before celebrating the Christmas Holiday. Freezing rain downed trees and power lines knocking out power for some up to 17 days. With so many homes without power many residents turned to portable generators as a temporary solution to the loss of power to their homes. Many without knowing about the risks!
 
We all want to save money. When something like a long term outage hits it can get very expensive. Believe it or not but when I was called to people’s homes to install permanent generators I saw home owners do some very unsafe things like running the generator power through the electric dryer outlet. Although this will work it is very dangerous and not recommended or legal. Some forget to turn off the main breaker when using a portable generator. Power line crews are working to get the power back and if you are back feeding your home power can go from the generator to the street line and seriously injure workers that you want restoring power. When dealing with electricity the best person for the job is a qualified licensed Electrician who knows both the legal and safest ways to install a generator. Below I listed a few safety suggestions when choosing to use a portable generator.
 
Portable Generators should be used in a well-ventilated location; exterior locations are recommended and offer the least harmful risks. Be sure to run your generator away from all doors, windows and exhaust fan/dryer vent locations.
 
Never run your generator in a basement, garage or breezeway even with the door opened. Generators expel toxic gas and can catch fire even if properly used.
 
Make sure that wherever you place your generator outside your home that you inspect the home for any possible cracks or openings harmful fumes may enter. Seal cracks with foam or silicone and inspect your repairs each year to see if they need further attention.
 
Be sure to install (Co2) Detectors in your home. Follow manufacturer’s instructions for proper locations and installation.
 
Always when refilling fuel shut down your generator and let it cool before adding more fuel. NEVER refuel while running. Gas can run down onto the motor or extension cords and start a fire!
 
Store fuels in the proper containers. All fuel containers are color coded for the intended fuel for that container. Do NOT mix fuels! Mixing can lead to damaging your generator. Please store your fuel containers away from living areas and again in a well-ventilated location. Never place fuel next to the exhaust of a running generator.

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