Portable generators can make our lives easier in the event of a power outage, but they can also be dangerous if proper precautions are not followed. Here are six safety tips to keep in mind before starting up your generator...
- Do not run your generator in an enclosed area. Generators emit carbon monoxide as they operate; a colorless, odorless, and toxic gas. When outside, this gas is safely dispersed into the atmosphere. However, when in an enclosed area – such as a home, garage, or crawl space – the concentration levels can be fatal.
- Do not connect your generator to your home’s outlet. Plugging your generator into an outlet is known as “backfeeding”. Not only is this process extremely dangerous, it is illegal. Doing this can send high voltages out into utility lines, where unsuspecting workers could get electrocuted.
- Allow your generator to cool before refueling. If you run a portable generator for long enough, it will eventually need to be refueled. Gasoline and its fumes are highly flammable, so give your generator five minutes to cool off before approaching it.
- Clear snow off of your generator. Water and electricity don’t mix, so clear any snow off of your generator before using, and do your best to keep it dry. You should also never touch a generator with wet hands.
- Take precaution when using extension cords. Using extension cords is fine, as long as they are grounded. Also, make sure to lay your extension cords flat, as coiled cords can heat up quickly.
- Always read and follow the manufacturer’s operating instructions. As always, you should adhere to the manufacturer’s recommendations when using your generator.