7 Simple Tips to Run Your Generator Safely

Whether you own or choose to rent a generator, these devices can come in handy in an emergency. Home generators are typically easy to run machines that can produce significant power in case of a blackout, but operators need to know and follow these simple generator safety tips.

1. Read Your Manual

While this may seem a given, many people tend to overlook reading equipment manuals until there is a problem. Instead you should read through the booklet that came with your generator and ensure you understand all of the instructions and warnings.

2. Never Use a Portable Generator Indoors

When a generator is running, it emits large amounts of carbon monoxide, or CO, into the atmosphere. Due to this output of CO, portable generators should never be run indoors. CO is an odorless colorless gas that can quickly result in dizziness followed by unconsciousness and death. Unfortunately CO is not easily dispersed by opening windows or running fans therefore portable generators should be operated outdoors, away from windows or vents into the house. You may also want to have at least one battery operated carbon monoxide detector in your home to prevent any possible CO poisoning.

3. Use the Right Size Generator

Whether you are renting a generator or purchasing, you need to ensure you are using the right size one for the job at hand. For example, if you are running a generator in the middle of summer and need to operate your air conditioning unit due to the heat, you will need a generator that can handle approximately 3,000-5,000 watts as the starting wattage and then 1,500-4,000 as the AC unit is running. If you are unsure about the correct size generator to use, speak to a professional before committing to a certain generator.
Do not connect a generator to your electrical panel, it can be fatal to the utility workers by back feeding power into the grid.

4. Use the Appropriate Size Extension Cord

This is an item that is often overlooked, but when running a generator, you need to ensure your extension cord can handle the power running through it. You will also want to double check that the extension cord you are using is outdoor safe.

5. Refuel When Cool

If your generator is running low on fuel, your first impulse is to immediately fill it back up. However, the hot parts of the machine can easily ignite if gasoline is accidentally spilled on the generator. Instead you should exercise caution and allow the device time to cool before refilling the fuel tank.

6. Know How to Shut Off In An Emergency

As you read the instruction manual to the generator, pay careful attention as to how to turn off the generator quickly in case of an emergency situation. If there is ever a reason to shut down the machine immediately, you want to know it before running the generator.

7. Maintenance

Generator rentals as well as personally owned generators need to be maintained on a routine basis. If you are using a rental, you should be able to inquire as to the last time the equipment received maintenance. These generator rentals should be routinely maintained. If you own your own generator, you should take a few minutes every month to pull the device out of storage to a safe, dry area outdoors and run it for approximately ten minutes. This will notify you before a blackout if something should go wrong and allow you time to fix the part in question or to call in a technician.

Safely running a generator should be a simple task and with these generator safety tips, you should be able to run your machine without issue. Whether you choose to rent a generator or purchase one to keep at home, these devices are perfect to have at hand in case of emergency.