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Generator Safety Tips

January 8, 2021

Having a portable generator when emergency strikes is always a good idea. What isn’t a good idea is being unsafe with your generator and posing a potential threat to your family and your home. When you are dealing with power, there are risks and dangers that come along with it. We have created a few safety tips to ensure the safety of your family.

Remember Wide Open Spaces

If an area is enclosed, your portable generator does not need to be inside of it. Carbon monoxide is very deadly and is produced by portable generators. According to the CDC, carbon monoxide poisoning from improper use of a generator claims the lives of hundreds a year and makes even more very ill. 

To make sure you stay safe, the CDC suggests these following tips:

  • Never use a generator inside your home or garage, even if doors and windows are open.
  • Only use generators outside, more than 20 feet away from your home, doors, and windows.
  • Install battery-operated or battery back-up CO detectors near every sleeping area in your home.
  • Check CO detectors regularly to be sure they are functioning properly.

Carbon monoxide is invisible and therefore you may not even be aware of it leaking into your home until it has become too late. Don’t take that risk. 

Cool Down

The fumes that your portable generator put off, as well as the gas that powers your generator are highly flammable. It is important to let your generator completely cool down before making sure it is full of gas or propane. You want to run your generator regularly to be sure it is working properly, but if you are going to go longer than 30 days without running it, be sure to get a fuel stabilizer for your gas tank.

Always Read The Instructions

We know that everyone just throws instructions to the waste side, but it is crucial to know how your generator operates. Not only will you know how to use your generator, but the manufacture typically leaves you with safety tips as well.

Turn it Off

If you have your generator running and notice that you are starting to feel ill or light headed, turn it off right away. As we stated above, carbon monoxide poisoning is very dangerous and this is a good indicator that your generator is making you sick. If you don’t start to feel better, seek medical attention.  

Maintain Your Generator

We cannot stress enough the importance of maintaining your generator on schedule. Like all machines and tools, regular maintenance has to be done to be sure that your home generator is working correctly. So just how often should you have your home generator serviced? At Northside Power we recommend that you have it serviced once a year. Your owner’s manual will have a maintenance schedule inside of it to keep you on track and on top of your services.

You should always keep your maintenance kit handy in case a quick maintenance routine needs to be done. See our regular maintenance tips here

If you were talking about your car, you would know to change the oil every 3000 miles and rotate your tires and check your fluids. A home generator is no different! While you should always refer to your owner’s manual for your specific make and model, we have come up with a few tips on how to service your generator.

Be Aware of Your Power Cord

This may sound like common sense, but it is important to know the placement of your power cord so you or a child does not trip over it. This will keep you from getting hurt, and prevent damage from your generator or your outlets.

Use in Dry Areas

Do not use your generator near areas of water. Showers, water heaters, pools, etc. can cause damage to your generator if it becomes wet. It is also a potential shock threat.

Store Your Generator Safely

While you need to maintain your generator regularly, you also need to store your generator in a safe, dry space. You want it to stay clean and free from dust and dirt. If it is covered in dirt, grease, snow, oil, etc, make sure to clean it up before you use it or before you store it. Be sure to remove the towels that you cleaned the generator with before switching it on as well. These can be a potential fire hazard.

Portable generators are a lifesaver in case of an emergency, but they can be dangerous if they are not taken care of and used properly. Be sure to follow these tips to ensure the safety of your home and your family, as well as to prolong the life of your generator.