Purchasing A Portable Generator: Be Safe

1 February 2017
 Categories: , Blog

Living in an area that experiences power outages from time to time may prompt you to purchase one of the many portable generators on the market. If this is the first time you'll be using one of these machines, there's some information you need to remain safe and keep it working. Be aware of these tips.

Don't Plug It Into Regular Outlets

You may think you'll just purchase your generator, bring it home, and plug it into an outlet in the garage or on the outside of your house. This is a grave error; doing this causes a surge of power referred to as "backfeeding." That is a dangerous practice that could risk the lives of utility personnel actively working on downed lines and result in a fire. You should only plug the generator into a transfer switch. A transfer switch is a subpanel that must be put in by a professional electrician and will allow you to run the machine safely.

Don't Bring It Inside

If you're wanting to use the machine during a blizzard or rainstorm, you may not want to head outside to plug in your different devices. Because of this you may think about moving the generator into the basement or attic. This is another practice you should avoid. Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless gas that can leak from your generator and ultimately cause sickness or, in some cases, death. Generators should never be in an enclosed living space. In fact, they should be kept far from doors and windows. It's smart to have a few carbon monoxide detectors inside the house to be absolutely sure that you and your family aren't being exposed to the gas.

Cover It Properly

While you cannot keep the generator inside the house, it's not a good idea to leave it out in the rain or snow either. Not only could that lead to corrosion and damage to the generator, which would render it useless, but there is also a chance for electrocution if you touch a wet generator. For that reason, be very careful about where on your property you keep the machine. The best spots have ventilation so that there is no buildup of carbon monoxide or heat from the exhaust. Suitable places include underneath a carport or boat canopy.

Portable generators can be essential when you can't count on other sources of power, but remember to be safe. For more information, contact local professionals like Oak Electric.