Nothing is more convenient than a portable power generator during an outage. You can rely on a good generator to give you enough power to run important appliances and equipment. Generators however are potentially dangerous. You should know how to protect yourself and your family from the consequences of incorrect generator use.
Your best protection is the generator manual. Manufacturers typically place everything you need to know about their unit in a manual. These manuals also contain important warnings related to installing and using generators. Keep safe by reading everything in a manual. Make sure too that you have understood all instructions correctly. If you have your doubts about manual entries, you have to ask an electrician to help you. Keep your manual after installation. You may need it for future reference.
Carbon Monoxide Safeguards
Generators produce carbon monoxide. This dangerous gas can poison even without you knowing it. Its lack of odor and color can fool you into thinking that you aren’t in danger. As a basic precaution, you should keep your generator far and away from your home. You shouldn’t even keep it in your garage if your garage is enclosed and attached to your home. It should have its own partially open shed which is also located far from neighbors’ windows and homes.
It is also recommended that you have carbon monoxide detectors. This is just in case CO from your portable power generator still finds a path to your home.
Do not connect your generator to the wiring of your house. Doing so could result in an electrical back feed that could kill a linesman repairing electrical connections. It is best to connect appliances directly to the generator. You can also use an outdoor standard extension cord. If you truly prefer to have a direct connection, then you have to contact a licensed electrician. An electrician would use a transfer switch to ensure that back feed cannot occur.
Check the generator wattage before you buy a generator. This will help you find out the limits of your generator. Portable units are only supposed to be used on a couple of appliances. It is never intended to provide power to your entire house. Powering too many appliances can result in an overload that could lead to damage or fires. If you need to provide power to a lot of appliances, then you can rotate the appliances that you attach to the generator.
You may think handling fuel is a matter of common sense. A lot of people however, still take fuel flammability for granted. A small spark could easily ignite generator fuel if you do not use and store it properly. Always turn off your generator when refueling. Your reserve fuel should also be kept outside your main living area and away from small children. Make sure that the containers are not made of glass and are properly labeled.
You can never be too safe in using your portable power generator. Be extra careful all the time to ensure your family’s safety.
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