While the spring brings the first bits of sunshine that we have seen for several months, it also bring heavy rain, winds, and sometimes even thunder and lighting. While May flowers are beautiful and enjoyable, they don’t come without the April showers.
During the spring storms it is not unusual for lighting or heavy winds to cause power outages. Many people rely on portable generators as a power back up in these cases. However, it is important to know how to use a generator safely. Because generator use is seasonal and only in the case of emergency, it’s not an appliance that we deal with regularly and therefor may not be as experienced.
Here are some recommendations for safely using a generator if you’re power goes out:
Never use a generator inside of your home or your garage. Portable generators are run on gasoline and as the gas burns to create power, it exhausts carbon monoxide (CO). CO is a deadly gas that is both colorless and odorless and can fill an enclosed space quickly if the generator is run inside.
Never connect your generator to the wiring of your home. Connecting your generator directly to your home’s wiring could cause the generator to back feed into the power lines that are connected to your home, which will cause the utility transformers to increase voltage. This could cause significant damage to utility equipment and your home.
Never plug a portable generator into an electrical outlet in your home or your garage. You must always plug the generator into a heavy-duty, outdoor-rated power cord. You can then plug appliances into the power cord so long as they are in the wattage range that the generator supplies.
Don’t store gasoline for the generator indoors. Gasoline should only be stored in approved safety containers that are clearly marked “gasoline”. If you have a fuel-burning water heater or dryer, do not store gasoline in the garage. Gasoline vapor is heavier than air and could be ignited by a pilot light or other flame or electric spark.
If you have a portable generator that you use as a back-up power source during power outages, make sure that you are using it safely. Follow these tips to keep you and your family out of harm’s way.