How to Safely Use a Generator During a Power Outage

By December 15, 2023January 16th, 2024Backup Generators, blog, Other Services

Natural catastrophes, electric failures, or even planned maintenance can lead to power outages. This can go on for days or weeks, so it’s essential to have a generator for power outages. Using standby or portable electric generators presents little risk if installed and run correctly; nevertheless, incorrect installation or use may be hazardous, even fatal. It might result in fire, electric shock, electrocution, or carbon monoxide poisoning from engine exhaust. We’ve listed the safety precautions you must take when using a generator during a power outage.

Tips for Using a Generator at Home When There’s a Power Outage

You can supply your home during power outages using a combination of primary and complex backup power generation alternatives. However, setting up your generator for power outages requires careful attention.

Let’s review what you can do to protect yourself from potential mishaps.

  • Connect Power Sources Correctly

You should disconnect or switch off all lights and appliances before using a portable generator. Use a generator power cord that is robust enough to withstand the equipment’s electrical power to connect appliances straight to the generator.

To prevent overload, a generator should only be used for essential items (such as refrigerators, medical equipment, laptops, cell phones, and heating or cooling systems). When unplugging the generator’s loads, remove the generator power cord from the outside and switch off the generator. You should also avoid plugging in many extension cords simultaneously.

  • Install Carbon Monoxide Alarms or Detectors

When misused, generators can cause carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning. That’s why portable generators should never be used inside. Installing battery-operated or battery-backed CO alarms or a carbon monoxide meter in your house is an effective practice.

If you or anybody in your home feels ill, lightheaded, or weak when using a generator, evacuate immediately and get outside into fresh air. Even at a distance of 20 feet, airflow patterns through windows, doors, or attic vents can produce carbon monoxide in the home. That’s why your home should keep your generator away to improve air quality and install a functioning carbon monoxide meter. If you’re wondering where to place a carbon monoxide detector, it should be positioned 5 feet from the ground to measure the air at the height people in the house are breathing it.

  • Keep Your Generator Dry

Mainly, when used in damp environments, generators present an electrical risk. So, keep the generator dry and protected from water by placing it beneath an open canopy-style structure where it cannot collect or leak water. Moreover, you shouldn’t ever touch the generator without ensuring your hands are dry.

  • Be Mindful of Fuel Use

Your portable generators need fuel to operate. So, when filling up the tank, remember that gasoline expands, and you must avoid filling it to the brim. Since fuel is also highly combustible, the generator must cool completely before adding more fuel. Moreover, long-term fuel storage causes it to deteriorate so that fuel stabilizers can extend its shelf life from 18 months to 2 years.

For help, see the manufacturer’s instructions or the provider of your generator. Keep gasoline in containers that are OSHA or American National Standards Institute-approved. You should also keep them in dry and cool places.

  • Inspect and Maintain Your Generator Regularly

According to the US Energy Department, maintaining your generator involves routinely checking above-ground storage tanks, piping, and valves for cracks and leaks. Replace anything that is damaged right away. Routinely keeping a full fuel tank and running the generator will ensure it is prepared for emergencies.

However, properly tracking your generator requirements or deciding where to place carbon monoxide detectors can take time and effort. That’s why you should contact a professional to help you keep your generator up and running.

Why Should You Choose 1ST Call Plumbing, Heating & Air?

It is advisable to consult with a qualified and licensed professional to evaluate your options when utilizing a generator. At 1ST Call Plumbing, Heating & Air, our team has over 20 years of experience to ensure that we meet your generator needs during a power outage or any other emergency. So, contact us today to ensure your generator is used correctly to avoid any dangers.