How to Use Your Backup Generator Safely


Generators are handy devices to have around, but misuse and poor maintenance can pose a danger to users. When there is a blackout, most generators in the area will be in heavy use. The question is; how many of them are in good shape? We haven’t had many hurricanes or severe thunderstorms this summer, but most of us are prepared and have the generator ready to be powered on at any given time. Are you sure your generator will turn on when you need it most?

Data released by the Consumer Product Safety Commission show that deaths have been reported from improper generator use. Generator manufacturers always provide detailed instructions for the use of their products. Unfortunately, these instructions are sometimes overlooked, or ignored altogether. The following tips will ensure that you use your backup power generator in the safest way possible.

Use a Professional

The hard-wiring of a generator to your home’s electrical system should only be handled by a professional electrician. Mistakes can cause a feedback of power into the lines. This can be dangerous for technicians working on nearby lines and it can damage electrical equipment. These installations must also meet NEC standards, so it is imperative that a qualified electrician carry out the work.

Do Not Use Portable Generators Inside

These generators produce exhaust which contains the dangerous gas carbon monoxide. They should only be operated outdoors where the fumes will not pose a problem. Be sure to provide a cover to protect the equipment from the elements.

Avoid Overloads

When you are buying a generator, you have to be specific about the kinds of equipment you will be using it to run. Ask about the output rating so you will know exactly what the generator can handle. If you have any doubts, ask the salesperson specific questions about the device before buying it. Overloading can damage the equipment in your home, or even start a fire.

Proper Refueling

Adding fuel to the generator while it is running can be dangerous. Shut of the generator before topping it off to prevent the fuel from igniting and creating an explosion. You should also learn about and follow all the basic safety tips when handling gasoline.

Buying a second hand generator is not necessarily a no-no, but you should make sure that it is working properly before buying it. If it is more than a few years old, a new model might be the best way to spend your money. If you are really a novice when it comes to this type of equipment, you should get advice from your electrician in addition to doing research online.

We’re located in Essex, MD and we help many area homeowners with issues involving generators. We also install whole house generators that will monitor the power flowing to your home and turn on as soon as the power goes out. This automated system is very popular and very nice to have during storm season. Call us at 443-579-5701 if you’d like to schedule a consultation or if you have any questions about how a whole house generator system works.