How to Stay Safe When Using a Backup Generator

How to Stay Safe When Using a Backup GeneratorAs widespread power outages become more common, backup generator safety for homeowners becomes more vital. Our aging power grid is more vulnerable than ever to severe weather and overloads. The incidence of power outages affecting substantial parts of the population is doubling about every five years—particularly in the south and midwest. To stay safe and comfortable in the event of a blackout, home generators are an increasingly popular option. However, definite hazards are associated with generator use and precautions must be observed.

Here are some important backup generator safety facts to know before putting one to use around your home.

Carbon Monoxide Dangers

  • Never operate a backup generator inside your house or in semi-enclosed spaces such as an open garage. Carbon monoxide gas generated by all generators is invisible, odorless and can kill without warning.
  • Because carbon monoxide is approximately the same density as oxygen, it easily accumulates indoors or in partially open spaces and does not readily dissipate. Use of fans or opening windows are not effective safety measures to prevent dangerous carbon monoxide exposure.
  • Don’t operate a generator closer than 15 feet to your house. Carbon monoxide may seep into the structure through small openings or be drawn in through vents. When operating the generator, direct the exhaust away from nearby structures.
  • Make sure your home is equipped with functional carbon monoxide detectors installed on all levels.

Electrical Safety Precautions

  • Place the generator on a dry surface at a level where puddles cannot contact it.
  • Always dry your hands before touching a generator in wet conditions.
  • Use only UL-approved outdoor extension cords with a wattage rating sufficient to handle the total draw of devices connected to it. Inspect the cord to make sure it is intact and insulation is not frayed.
  • The extension cord should be long enough to allow the generator to be placed a safe distance from the house. A single cord should be long enough to extend all the way to the generator without adding another extension.

For further information about generator safety measures, contact Paitson Bros. We’ve served the Terre Haute community since 1922.

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    Jeff Paitson Jeff Paitson is a third generation business owner who continues to run the business with the same values that have been passed down from previous generations since 1922.

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