All You Need to Know About Generator Safety in Your Home

Generator Safety As more homeowners opt for backup power sources in the event of outages, keeping generator safety in mind becomes more important. Statistics show that power outages nationwide have almost doubled over the past decade or so. Wilder weather combined with aging power plants and substations are taking a toll, even as the demand for electricity continues to increase.

For many, home generators — whether portable units to accommodate limited needs or standby generators that can power an entire home — are becoming more a necessity than a nonessential. Attention to generator safety is likewise more relevant. Here are some cautions to keep in mind when owning and operating a home generator.

Generator Safety for Portable Units

  • Exhaust from these units contains dangerous carbon monoxide. Never operate a portable generator inside a house, garage, or other structure. When running a generator outdoors, keep it at least 15 feet away from the house.
  • Most portable generators are not safely waterproof. Don’t operate these units in rainy conditions or when there’s snowfall unless the generator is adequately sheltered by a patio canopy or other cover.
  • Connections to the portable generator should be made only with heavy-duty extension cords that are certified for outdoor use.
  • Start the generator before connecting any appliances or other devices to the unit.
  • Keep children and pets away from a generator while it is in operation.

Standby Generators

  • Installation of standby generators should be carried out only by certified electricians. This is not a do-it-yourself project. Likewise, any repairs or adjustments should be left to professionals.
  • Standby generators are made for exterior installation and built to withstand outdoor weather conditions. These units should not be installed inside a structure such as a storage shed or other enclosure where overheating and/or accumulation of toxic fumes may occur. If necessary to keep children or pets away, erect a fence around the unit.
  • Follow the manufacturer’s recommendation for any required, routine maintenance. Conduct routine system tests per the manufacturer’s instructions; these are normally required on a monthly basis.

Get more information about generator safety from the experienced pros at Paitson Bros., now serving Terre Haute homeowners for 100 years.

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