A portable generator is a great way to power your home when natural disasters occur, but it can be dangerous if not properly handled.
You don’t have to take our words for it.
More than 900 people died of carbon monoxide poisoning from portable generators between 2005 and 2017, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission.
Data from the CPSC also shows that 15,400 people were treated in emergency rooms for carbon monoxide poisoning.
There are some companies that are trying to reduce the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.
Their generators feature a built-in sensor to trigger automatic shutoff if CO builds up to a dangerous level in an enclosed space, and some generators are featuring new engines with minimal CO emission.
Nevertheless, we should take necessary precautions ourselves.
We would help you to operate your portable generator safely so that you are not one of those unfortunates who suffer from carbon monoxide poisoning.
Use heavy-duty Extension Cords:
As power from the generator fluctuates when you start or stop it, it might lead to damaging extension cords. An exposed electric cords can lead to electrocution and fire.
Therefore, it is very important that you invest in a heavy-duty extension cord. to make sure you don’t overspend the money, take notice of the power-drawing appliances from the cord.
If you find more than a few power-hungry devices going to be connected to the extension cord, you need to invest in a high gauge, thick cord with a high factor of safety.
Never use the portable generator inside the building:
Portable generators are a popular choice for powering homes during power outages, and some people are never scrupulous about it.
The carbon monoxide emission by the portable generator in an enclosed space can lead only to disaster. The gas is odorless, colorless, and therefore nearly impossible to detect on your own.
Therefore, a portable generator should never be operated inside a garage basement or other enclosed space.
In fact, the National Fire Protection Association recommends that portable generators are used outdoors only and at least 20 feet away from buildings.
So even if you prefer to use it for your home, make sure that the generator is 20 ft away and the direction of the exhaust outlet is away from your home.
You can always use an exhaust fan to control the direction of emission.
Or you can use a battery-powered carbon monoxide detector. It will help you monitor the CO levels inside the house and would alert you when they surpass the dangerous level.
Another reason to not use the generator at home is that CO is a flammable gas.
We all know that it’s never a good idea to back feed your home, whether you’re using portable generators or not.
The problem with these units is that they don’t provide the same quality of power as household outlets. This means that there can be some voltage fluctuations that could lead to an electrical fire.
One downside of this is if you have electronics plugged in while the generator is running and then turn off the unit, those connected devices can still stay on even though they are no longer being powered by electricity from the generator.
Without a battery backup feature (which most portable generators lack), their batteries will eventually die without any way for them to recharge themselves.
Yet another downside of back feeding is that you might end up electrocuting the repairman working on the electricity grid down the street. Backfeeding can also damage your home electricity wires.
So never plug your generator directly into the wall outlet. Rather use a transfer switch to be on the safe side.
Stay Away From Hot Generator Parts :
Many of the traditional portable generators, especially the cheap ones, have exposed parts. These parts used air intake and cooling vents.
If you run these generators long enough, the temperature of these parts can rise up to a dangerous degree that can easily burn your skin.
Pets and kids are often the main victims.
To avoid this situation, you should always invest in encased portable generators given you can afford them.
Benefits Of Encased Portable Generators:
Safe and efficient usage.
The power outlet is protected by a weatherproof seal, which lessens the likelihood of accidental contact with the live electrical circuit: a break in this seal will not likely harm you because there is no risk of high voltage.
Since the machine sits on rubber feet on top of an insulated mat, the possibility for burning or even scorching oneself (by accidentally touching metal) is lower than if it were just resting face-down on a flat surface.
Finally, since it’s all contained within a mostly sealed container, it stays cleaner and more dust-free from potential dirt or debris than any other configuration where access to the vital areas might be possible.
Cooldown Your Portable Generator Before Refueling:
Refueling a running generator might seem convenient but beware, it is nothing short of setting the generator on fire.
The most obvious benefit of turning the generator off before refueling is that the likelihood of fire or possible explosion decreases significantly.
A running generator is often very warm, and as bringing it to contact with a highly inflammable fuel, what other thing you are expecting from it than a generator fire.
Another thing that needs to be kept in mind is that you should always keep your fuel canister far away from a running generator. Even if the canister is properly closed. One doesn’t know when bad luck comes knocking on your door.
Don’t Use Your Portable Generator In Rain:
Most portable generators are not water-tight, there is always a serious risk of electrocution because it is made with live wires vulnerable to rain, snow, or any other type of hazard.
However, if you are adamant to run your generator in wet condition, make sure that it is far away from your home or any flammable material. Also, it needs to be placed inside a tent so moisture cannot damage the machinery inside.
You should also have to make sure that the tent is thoroughly ventilated to not overheat the generator and to avoid entrapping carbon monoxide.
Final Words on Portable Generator Safety Tips:
Portable generators are great for emergency situations and outdoor, but Carbon Monoxide gas one of its main emissions is silent, invisible, and deadly.
Make sure you take the following precautions while operating a portable generator.
The best way to do this is by following these tips: Never back feed your home with a generator and never run it in the rain. Keep the generator at least 20 feet away from your home.
Cool down generators before refueling them to avoid starting a fire! You may also want to invest in an automatic transfer switch that lets you keep power going during routine outages without having to worry.
Keep in mind no matter how expert you are with the operation of this heavy-duty machinery, it only takes one poor decision to lead to a disastrous situation.