Home generators can be a real lifesaver during bad weather, keeping your home or business running regardless of what’s happening outside. I’ve compiled some generator safety tips to help you use your new generator efficiently and carefully!
Don’t Use a Generator Indoors
Generators contain internal combustion engines that emit carbon monoxide, a deadly gas with no smell or color that easily floods indoor spaces. Run your generator outside—not even in your garage or shed—in a well-ventilated, dry area. And keep it away from home ventilation! You don’t want your generator’s exhaust fumes coming into your house.
Don’t Connect Your Home Generator Directly to Your Wiring
Called “backfeed,” a generator can send power into the lines connected to your home, damaging utility equipment and even risking electrocuting energy works miles and miles away.
Newer generator models can be installed with a switch that automatically disconnects your house from the power grid when your generator is running. More sophisticated models like GE’s come with automatic transfer switches that detect power outages and help prioritize sending power to appliances.
Don’t Overload Your Generator
Picking the right sized generator and not overloading it with too many appliances is really important. On my other blog, Home Generator Source, I talk about picking the right size generator—check it out! Too many appliances with too high of wattage on your generator can cause fires in the power cord, broken appliances, and other dangerous, expensive household issues.
For more on picking the best standby generator for your house check out GE Home Generators’s interactive Generator Sizing Guide or Home Depot's Sizing Guide.
Store Generator Fuel Outside
Keep gas for your generator in an appropriate, non-glass container and far, far away from water heaters or anything else with a pilot light! Heavier than air, gasoline vapor can ignite with the slightest spark and cause major damage to garages, sheds, and more. Don’t smoke nearby and keep a fire extinguisher close too!
Looking for a faster read than this? Briggs & Stratton has a quick and dirty list of generator safety tips!