Because power outages are becoming more prevalent than ever, knowing a few facts about generator safety is more vital. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the average American experienced a total of eight hours of power loss during 2020. That’s almost twice the average amount 10 years ago. Outages are more frequent due to an increasing number of severe storms, aging electrical infrastructure, and higher demand.
Many people now utilize generators to provide a source of emergency electricity to power essentials. These may be portable, gasoline-powered units or permanently installed standby generators that can even keep HVAC units running. In all cases, generator safety should be a priority at all times.
- Never operate a portable generator inside a house, garage, or other structure. These gas-powered units produce deadly carbon monoxide in the exhaust. A portable generator should be placed outdoors and at least 15 feet away from the house.
- Utilize only heavy-duty, weatherproof extension cords to connect to the generator.
- Avoid running a portable generator in rainy or wet conditions outdoors. Place it under an open canopy structure on a dry surface away from puddles. Limit use of the generator to only the most necessary functions as long as wet conditions persist.
- Start the generator before plugging appliances or other devices into it.
- Never plug a generator output into a wall outlet of the home electrical system.
- Keep children and pets away from generators.
- Standby generators must be installed by certified, licensed electricians only.
- Do not remove the external housing of the generator nor attempt to make adjustments or repairs yourself.
- Standby generators are constructed to be outdoor weather-resistant. Do not enclose the generator with structures like a shed or garage. Enclosing the unit may cause overheating or dangerous fumes to accumulate.
- Keep children and pets away from the generator. If necessary, a small fence can be erected around the unit.
- Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for maintenance, including routine test operation on a regular basis (typically once a month.)
For more advice about generator safety, talk to the professionals at Mowery Heating, Cooling and Plumbing.