We cannot stop disasters from occurring. The best we can do is avoiding impending consequences. Modern technology had come a long way since the day when electricity was invented. Electricity is now an inseparable part of our daily life.
Power outages during disasters are common and equally disturbing. We can’t escape the situation, but we can ensure an uninterrupted power supply for extended hours with a generator. Therefore, these generators are essential during disasters and emergencies to keep our life going.
But, because their use is not so frequent, we often overlook the necessary safety measures that should be routine. Any safety breach may lead to several dangerous consequences, including death.
These consequences are avoidable if we follow some essential generator safety tips. These portable generator safety tips would ensure your and your family’s safety, both from the disaster and the generator.
But before going directly into the topic, here are some risks that an ill-maintained generator may cause.
Table of Contents
- 1 Risks Associated with Generators
- 2 Generator Safety Tips You Need to Consider While Handling A Generator
- 2.1 1. Position Generator Outdoors
- 2.2 2. Keep It Dry
- 2.3 3. Turn-off Your Generator and Let It Cool Before Refuelling It
- 2.4 4. Stock Up Extra Fuel
- 2.5 5. Don’t Plug Your Generator into A Wall-Outlet.
- 2.6 6. CO Safety Technology
- 2.7 7. Plug Appliances Directly to Generator
- 2.8 8. The Generator Should be Properly Grounded
- 2.9 9. Regular Maintenance
- 3 Conclusion
Risks Associated with Generators
There are several risks attached to an ill-maintained generator. The reason for knowing the risks is to understand the dangers so that you can prepare yourself accordingly. Generators use fuels such as propane and gasoline to produce electricity. Both these fuels and electricity posses significant risks to you and your family or colleagues.
1. Carbon Monoxide Poisoning (CO Poisoning)
Carbon Monoxide or CO is a tasteless, colourless, and odourless gas. Carbon monoxide poisoning is a pervasive threat of generator misuse. Portable generators produce deadly levels of it that spread from the engine exhaust. Even if you can’t smell the fume, you may still get exposed to carbon monoxide.
In case the CO levels are too high, this gas can kill you in 5 minutes. You would soon know if you have been exposed to CO poisoning. If you feel sick, weak, dizzy while using a generator, get away from it and breathe some fresh air.
If your symptoms don’t get better, don’t be late to consult a physician. Modern generators mostly feature a built-in sensor that triggers an automatic shutoff if/when CO builds up to deadly levels in an enclosed space.
Some engines even emit less CO in order to lessen the threat. You can find such models or install a battery-operated carbon monoxide alarm in your home.
Must Know:- Best Inverter Generator
2. Electric Shocks
Generators convert mechanical energy into electrical power. Thus, it supplies electricity to our appliances. Electricity production is the same reason we should be more careful about consequences. It can be ‘shocky’ enough to fry your neurons, if not your whole body. If that’s enough for a reason, here’s how you should ground your portable generator, effectively.
3. Burns from Fire
No one would ever like to see their home set on fire. Yet, Generator catching fire is one of the most significant risks of ill-maintained generators. It can put up your home or office on fire in minutes. This risk is even higher with gas generators. So, maintaining gas generator safety tips are essential to keep these disasters from happening.
Generator Safety Tips You Need to Consider While Handling A Generator
We live in a society that counts on us. Every life is precious and serves some purposes. Grasping how to use a generator is not everything until you know the generator guidelines.
Now that you understand generators’ risks knowing these generator safety tips will help you keep yourself safe.
1. Position Generator Outdoors
As we said before, CO poisoning is one of the primary reasons behind the most generator-related injuries and deaths. CO builds up when you put your generator in some enclosed area, such as the basement or garage. These places can capture a deadly amount of carbon monoxide, enough to kill you in 5 minutes.
The best way to keep yourself away from these dangers is by placing your generator outside. So, how far should a generator be from the house? According to the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), you should keep your generator at least 25 feet away from your home.
Make sure to keep it in an open place so that the exhausted CO can blow away with the wind. It would be wise to keep the exhaust line away from the direction of your home.
2. Keep It Dry
So, you are now keeping your generator outside. But, did you think what would happen if it rains?
Keeping outside doesn’t mean keeping it uncovered. After all, your generator has all the water-sensitive electrical components that water can damage and leave it entirely useless for you.
Then, what is there you can do about it? The best way to protect your generator is by using a tent. You can search these tens online and buy the one you seem fit.
These tents keep your generator adequately shielded and well ventilated. You should also ensure that you operate your generator on a dry surface and touch it with dry hands. If your generator is wet anyhow, let it dry before you run it.
3. Turn-off Your Generator and Let It Cool Before Refuelling It
Your generator isn’t going to run forever on the fuel you poured into it. And while it ends, you have to refuel. We are all clear up to this part. What most people don’t follow is the proper procedure of refueling.
Among many portable generator safety tips, this one is something you would want to mark. The most threatening risk of refueling a hot generator, especially a gas-powered generator, is that it can catch fire in an instant.
Spilled gasoline on a hot engine can ignite and set your machine and anything surrounding it on fire. So, before refueling it, let it cool to avoid any such consequences.
4. Stock Up Extra Fuel
As we said, generators require fuel to produce energy. At times you may face situations when there’s no power for several days. Doesn’t it terrify you to live days without electricity?
If it does, you know the importance of generators enough. During those days, your generator will have to run for an extended time, at least until the power comes back. And for that, you have to maintain an adequate supply of fuel.
However, storing excessive fuel in your home equally increases the risk. So, wisdom is in calculating your power requirement for the days beforehand. Thoroughly examine how much fuel you can safely store and for how long.
You would also need a proper container for storing these fuels. Diesel and gasoline fuel stored for extended periods may require added chemicals to retain them safely to use.
Store these containers in a cool, dry space, away from heat. The fuel storing procedure is among the essential generator safety tips for you to follow. You can seek advice from your local provider to get the proper guidelines.
5. Don’t Plug Your Generator into A Wall-Outlet.
Trust us when we say that back-feeding your home is not a good idea, but it can backfire. Back-feeding means attempting to power your home’s wiring by plugging the generator directly into a wall outlet.
This reckless and dangerous act can be risky. It presents a hazardous electrocution risk to utility workers and neighbors served by the same utility transformer as yours.
Back-feeding may bypass built-in household circuit protection devices. Thus, you could end up frying some of your electronic appliances or igniting an electrical fire to burn your home (or neighborhood!).
If you seriously want to power your entire home, you should better call a qualified and licensed electrician. Ensure the electrician installs an approved automatic transfer-switch that will let you disconnect your home’s wiring from the utility system before running the generator.
6. CO Safety Technology
You already know what carbon monoxide can cause to you. While CO poisoning is expected, you can decrease the chances by making wiser choices. Positioning your generator outside is one way to that, but this is not a full-proof plan.
Wind direction can still get CO to your residence and cause some threat. So the best way to come around is by decreasing the amount of CO generation. Since CO poisoning is life-threatening, technology has focused on better engines that produce less carbon monoxide.
These engines are already available in the market. You can find such generators and install them in your home.
Related:- How to start your portable generator?
7. Plug Appliances Directly to Generator
You should use heavy-duty, outdoor-rated extension cords and plug your appliances directly into the generator. The cord should be rated (in amps or watts) at least equal to the sum of the connected devices’ load.
8. The Generator Should be Properly Grounded
To avoid electrocution, make sure that your generator is properly grounded and the grounding connections are tight enough. You can consult the manufacturer’s instructions to get the proper grounding method.
If your generator is used in or around wet or damp locations, you can consider using a portable ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI). It will stop the electricity flow if someone is being shocked.
You can find a GFCI at a hardware store or purchase it in other locations that sell electrical equipment.
9. Regular Maintenance
Maintenance is one of the most vital generator safety tips. Proper care is necessary to keep any electrical device in sound health. Generators, here, are no exception. Instead, you should be regular in this job with them.
Inspect your device frequently and carefully. Check the pipes, aboveground storage tanks, and valves periodically for leaks and cracks. If you find anything damaged, don’t be late to replace those materials.
Also, you can purchase a maintenance agreement and schedule at least one service every year, such as at the start of each hurricane season.
Keep fresh fuel in the tank and run your generator periodically to ensure that it’ll run well when needed. Following these generator guidelines, you can keep your generator as good as new.
You Must Know:- How to Change the Oil in the Generator
Generators can lighten up your place by either powering your appliances or setting your home on fire. You wouldn’t want the latter until you love blowing up your places.
So, these generator safety tips will ensure your machine performs well and serves you for an extended period without killing or harming anyone. That said, we hope you had the same good time we had with you. We’ll meet you next when you remember us again.
It all started when I lived in a place where electricity wasn’t still available properly. Frequent power cuts accompanied me till I turned 12 and started taking an interest in Generators. Since then, I have decided to bring out the best knowledge in me and make the world aware of generators. This website reflects the same and is on the way to cherish my dreams.