With storms on the horizon, many backup power generators are sold every year. These generators are used as a household electrical backup. And because of the electrical power they generate, safety is a critical issue. It is a fact that generators made by well-known manufacturers conform strict safety rules. But if not properly installed or operated even the safest generator can become a hazard. This article will give you some safety tips and how to avoid the most common mistakes.
Owner’s Manual – Read the Owner’s Manual that came with your generator. It is essential that you know the basics of operating the generator. If you have read the manual before an emergency, you will be better prepared to use the generator when needed. So read the manual NOW. If you misplaced the manual, then download a copy of it at the generator manufacturer’s website. Have the model and serial number on hand (this is found on the generator), so you can download the correct manual.
Proper Installation – A qualified, licensed electrician should install backup power generators to ensure that they meet local electrical codes. Power from an improperly installed generator can back feed along power lines and electrocute anyone coming in contact with them, including line workers making repairs.
Grounding -Make sure your backup power generator is properly grounded. The manual will describe how to do this.
Water – Keep the generator dry. Water is an excellent electrical conductor.
Extension Cords – Make sure extension cords used with a generator are rated for the load, are free of cuts and worn insulation, and have three-pronged plugs.
Proper Load – Generators are rated to carry a certain load. Do not overload the generator. A backup power generator should be used when absolutely necessary and only to power essential appliances or equipment.
Ventilation – Never operate the generator in enclosed or partially enclosed spaces. Backup power Generators produce high levels of carbon monoxide very quickly, which can be deadly in poorly ventilated areas. Also, do not place generators near any air intake vents to the home.
Circuit Interrupter – Use a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) to help prevent electrocutions and electrical shock injuries. Portable GFCIs require no tools to install.
Fuel – Make sure fuel for the generator is stored safely, away from living areas, in properly labeled containers and away from fuel-burning appliances. Always make sure the generator is off and let it cool down before refueling.
Shutting Down – Turn off all appliances powered by the generator before shutting down the generator.
Children and Pets – Keep children and pets away from power generators at all times.
These safety tips will help you safely use your backup power generator when there is a power outage due to a storm.
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