Portable Generator Safety Tips

You probably see portable generators common in construction sites and emergency areas. There are many benefits to using a portable generator but these generators can be dangerous if not used correctly. The following article will provide information on how to safely use a generator. These tips will help you avoid injury or death and keep your family members safe from the dangers of petrol fumes, blasts, and more!

Know The Type Of Portable Generator You Have First

There are two main types of portable generators:

Standby:

This is the most common type of portable generator and will work in an emergency power outage situation. A standby generator is more expensive and requires a double-pole transfer switch (which is sold separately). It also doesn’t have the same features as a portable gas generator.

Portable Gas

This type of generator allows you to transfer power through your household electrical wiring. It can provide power for all your home appliances, including air conditioners and refrigerators! If you need power during an extended blackout, this may be the best option for you.

Also, you will need a fuel source for the portable generator. You will need to have a gas tank or charcoal canister ready, and plenty of fuel. Portable gas generators only operate on gasoline and cannot run on diesel.

Safety tip: Do not fill your portable generator with any gasoline other than that which is recommended by the manufacturer!

Safety Tips For Portable Generator

Use Generator Outside

Always turn generator ON and NEVER start a generator indoors. Always use an approved spark arrester (also called a spark arrestor) to keep sparks from flying around your home. Never operate a portable generator in close proximity to flammable materials such as paint, paint thinner, gasoline, pesticides, fuel oil or any other liquid or powder.

Only use approved spark arresting devices with generators operated inside: Never remove the spark arresting device from the portable generator unless needed for operation of the unit. The gas cap and shut off valve are to be removed to allow refueling only. Never service the portable generator with the spark arrestor removed from the unit.

Turn Off The Portable Generator After Doing These

Before you turn off the portable generator, make sure to shut off the gas valve and remove the fuel tank. Disconnect all appliances from your generator (like a refrigerators or televisions) and make sure no one is around (especially kids!) who could turn on the generator while you are gone.

Cool Generator Before Fueling

Never leave the gas tank in the portable generator while it is hot. Always allow at least one hour before refueling to allow the generator to cool down. Carefully follow instructions in the owner’s manual for your portable generator. If using a charcoal canister, there may be special precautions or instructions in this manual that you need to know.

Don’t Use In Snow And Rain

In some areas, it is illegal to use your portable generator in inclement weather. This can be difficult if your home is located in an area with very cold winter weather.

Always check the weather before using your generator. If there is rain or snow forecast, move your generator to a sheltered area so you don’t have to shut it off once the weather improves and risk damage by refilling the gas tank (you will also have a much harder time starting it again if you leave it outside). 

Warranty: don’t let this go unheeded! Check the manufacturer’s guidelines carefully for how long you should expect your portable generator to last.

Use Durable Extension Cords

Never use a portable generator extension cord. Extension cords can cause voltage in your home to rise and could cause fire if used with spark arrestors or adapters. Always use a durable extension cord from your local hardware store or electrical supply store (cords sold at electrical supply stores are usually made of PVC and should not be used with portable generators).

Never put extensions on the power cord of your generator, this will cause resistance that dramatically lowers the output of the generator. It will also burn out your generator because it will draw too much current (the more current you draw, the hotter it gets!). If you must use an extension, connect it directly to the main unit of the portable generator.

Do Not Plug A Generator Into A Wall Outlet Unless You Have A Surge Protector For The Portable Unit.

Always turn off your portable generator when not in use, and keep it shut off from the time you start to refuel until you have finished fueling. This will help protect against damage from overheating and potential fires.

Never Store A Portable Generator In The Garage Or Other Poorly Ventilated Areas.

Carbon Monoxide can build in the garage and cause suffocation and asphyxiation. Store your generator outdoors. Generators produce lots of heat which causes them to run for a long time. These heat and electrical wires can cause fires if they come into contact with flammable materials like paint or gasoline.

Never use a generator inside your home to power appliances that dispense fuel or gas that is flammable, explosive (like propane) or combustible. Always use a generator inside your shop, garage, or other enclosed area (like a shed) where the generator will not be exposed to flammable or combustible materials.

Always Use Approved Spark Arresting Devices With Generators Operated Inside

Never remove the spark arresting device from the portable generator unless needed for operation of the unit. The gas cap and shut off valve are to be removed to allow refueling only. Never service the portable generator with the spark arrestor removed from the unit.

Never operate your generator so close that sparks will fly around your home. Install a fan on top of your portable generator (or in any indoor location) to blow any sparks away from your house or house guests.

Stay Away From Hot Engine

Don’t operate your generator with the engine hot. Make sure to wait until all of the fuel has been burned away before refueling. You should also make sure your ‘test’ lights, power cord and gas tank are all disconnected.

Be Aware Of All Fuel Fumes

Use the smallest amount of gasoline that is needed for your project and dispose of it safely after use. Fuel vapors can cause dizziness or loss of consciousness, so keep windows closed when using fuel in a portable generator.

Don’t put fuel in your generator more than an hour before using it and don’t run it near any flammable materials or on combustible surfaces such as newspapers or furniture until the fumes clear up.

Keep Gas Tank Visible And Secure

Don’t leave an open can of fuel next to any machine that could slide or tip over. Keep the cap on the gas tank after refueling, and put it away when not in use to avoid fire risk.

Never Use A Portable Generator Inside A Building Where Flammable Materials Are Stored

Don’t use your generator inside a building where flammable materials like paint, gasoline or other combustible items are stored. Never operate portable generators inside a building unless you have an approved spark arresting device installed on the generator.

The spark arresting device is required for indoor operation because exhaust fumes from the engine could ignite flammable materials in the building. In addition, operating a portable generator in an enclosed area may cause carbon monoxide poisoning. Carbon monoxide is an odorless gas that can build up inside homes and other buildings.

Use Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) Electrical Outlets For Generator Power

A GFCI outlet eliminates the shock hazard from a portable generator and offers protection against electric shock.

 A GFCI burns out or trips if there is a problem with the flow of electricity to the device plugged into it. A GFCI should be placed as close to the exit point of the power cord from the generator as possible. If you are not familiar with how to install a GFCI outlet, contact an electrician for assistance.

Keep Carbon Monoxide (CO) In Check

Portable generators should not be placed inside homes or other buildings. If placing a generator inside a garage, it should be kept at least 20 feet away from any door or opening to the home. If you are going to use your generator inside, make sure that air goes into the building and not out.

A fan can help move air from a generator toward the outside of your home. Exhaust fumes can contain carbon monoxide (CO). CO is a colorless, odorless gas that can cause headache, dizziness and nausea if breathed in high levels over time. Because CO can be dangerous in high levels, experts recommend that you keep the exhaust system of your generator outside. For more information on gas generators, visit an EPA-certified installer.

Conclusion

If you are going to set up a generator, there are some safety tips you need to follow. It is essential that you read all the instructions properly before starting any routine maintenance or repair work. Also, make sure that you have understood the manual well. Always do an inspection before putting in use, and this is applicable to both gas and diesel-powered generators. After setting up both gas and diesel generators on your premises, do not leave them unattended as they can be dangerous in both ways.

Most importantly, if you come across any kind of problem with your portable generator, do not touch it yourself but look for a professional who will handle the situation in a perfect manner. Hope our portable generator safety tips help. If you have any question or suggestion, contact us or comment bellow.

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