Portable Generators

Don’t connect your generator directly to your home’s wiring.

Connecting a portable generator directly to your home’s wiring can be deadly to you and others. A generator that is directly connected to your home’s wiring can ‘back-feed” onto the power lines connected to your home. Utility transformers can then ‘step-up’ or increase this back-feed to thousands of volts and enough to electrocute a lineman making outage repairs a long way from your house. You could also cause expensive damage to utility equipment and your generator.

The only safe way to connect a portable generator to your existing wiring is to have a licensed electrical contractor install a double-pole, double-throw transfer switch between the generator and the utility service in compliance with all state and local electrical codes.

Never plug a portable generator into a regular household outlet.

Plugging a generator into a regular household outlet can energize “dead” power lines and injure neighbors or linemen. Connect individual appliances that have their outdoor-rate power cords directly to the receptacle outlet of the generator, or connect these cord-connected appliances to the generator with the appropriate outdoor-rate power cord having a sufficient wiring gauge to handle the electrical load.

Don’t overload the generator.

Do not operate more appliances and equipment that the output rating of the generator. Overloading your generator can seriously damage your appliances and electronics. A portable electric generator should be used only when necessary, and only to power essential equipment.

Never use a generator indoors or in an attached garage.

Just like your automobile, a portable generator uses an internal combustion engine that emits deadly carbon monoxide. Be sure to place the generator where exhaust fumes will not enter the house. Only operate it outdoors in a well-ventilated, dry area, away from air intakes to the home, and protected from direct exposure to rain and snow, preferably under a canopy, open shed or carport.

Read and adhere to the manufacturer’s instructions.

To ensure safe operation, don’t cut corners when it comes to safety. Carefully read and observe all instructions in your portable electric generator’s owner’s manual.

Make sure your generator is properly grounded.

Consult your manufacturer’s manual for correct grounding procedures.

Don’ store fuel indoors or refuel a generator whiles it’s running.

Gasoline and other flammable liquids should be store outside of living areas in properly labeled, non-glass safety containers. They should not be stored in a garage if a fuel-burning appliance is in the garage. The vapor from gasoline can travel invisibly along the ground and be ignited by pilot lights or electric arcs caused by turning on the lights. Avoid spilling fuel on hot components. Put out all flames or cigarettes when handling gasoline. Always have a fully charged, approved fire extinguisher located near the generator. Never attempt to refuel a portable generator while it’s running.

Turn off all equipment powered by the generator before shutting down your generator. Many generator parts are hot enough to burn you during operation.

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