Portable Generator Safety by Guest Blogger Dave Cobosco

This reminds us of the dangers of portable generators.  Take precautions when using.  Follow the safety tips in this post from guest blogger Dave Cobosco


Portable Generator Safety

Storms anytime of the year can cause a loss of power that can last for hours or days. The use of a portable generator is one way to help provide basic electric service and maintain a reasonable level of safety and security in a home, as well as possibly minimize the loss of food stored in a refrigerator or freezer. Most homeowners using generators will opt for the less expensive portable type to help maintain a limited power supply.

When using a generator, it is critical to ensure it has been installed properly and is operated in a safe manner. There have been many incidents where individuals have survived a storm only to suffer deadly consequences due to an improperly installed or maintained generator as the exhaust from the unit contains deadly carbon monoxide.

The danger of generator use also extends to utility crews helping to restore power. An improperly connected generator can lead to feedback, or a surge of electricity from the generator that travels through the house wiring and back into the power lines. Anyone working on or in contact with those lines could be electrocuted.

To prevent this hazard, before using a generator, the wiring in the house must be disconnected from the incoming power lines using a transfer switch. This disconnection from the incoming power is also needed to protect the generator from damage when the power returns. Using the main disconnect in the electric panel in place of a transfer switch does not protect adequate protection from all potential feedback situations.

For the efficient and safe use of a portable generator heed these recommendations:

ñ   Store the unit where it is readily available in an emergency.

ñ   Store fuel only in approved containers in a safe manner.

ñ   Read and follow all manufacturer instructions and safety warnings.

ñ   Have an electrician install a transfer switch to disconnect house wiring from the power company supply.

ñ   Never connect a generator directly to a wall outlet; it should only be directly connected to appliances or other electric equipment.

ñ   Only operate gasoline-fired units outdoors. Never run them in an enclosed-in area – not even for a short time or if the areas is seemingly well vented. The unit should also be placed at least 10 feet away from any windows, doors or vent openings.
Get more information from the CPSC website at www.cpsc.gov. In Canada visit Health Canada at www.hc-sc.gc.ca.

Remember, these tips are only general guidelines. Since each situation is different, contact a professional if you have questions about a specific issue. More home safety and maintenance information is available online at www.housemaster.com.


Dave Cobosco


409 Middlesex Turnpike

Billerica, MA  01821

C:  508-479-1773

O:  866-313-7732




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