With the most intense part of winter in Genesee County upon us, you may be concerned about losing power in a winter storm. Having a portable generator on hand in case of a power outage can alleviate some of those concerns, but portable generators bring their own set of issues. If used improperly, portable generators can be a real safety hazard. Here are four tips on generator safety from your Flushing Electrician:
Don’t Attach Your Portable Generator Directly to Your Home’s Electrical System Yourself
Many people rush out to buy portable generators whenever there is a threat of a major storm that they fear could take out the power to their homes. However, a last-minute generator purchase usually means the homeowner will fail to use it with the recommended transfer switch. A transfer switch is installed by a certified electrician near your circuit breaker panel. Forgoing the transfer switch could fry your appliances, damage your generator, and could also harm nearby utility workers, as a generator can energize wiring systems for quite a distance.
Using a generator with a transfer switch is not only safer, but it is also more convenient, as you can power multiple appliances (including those that are hardwired) at the same time with just one connection. An electrician at Electrician Express would be happy to give you a quote on installing a transfer switch for your portable generator.
Don’t Overload Your Generator
Make sure you choose a generator with more amps than you think you’ll need by adding up the power requirements of the appliances and devices you plan to use. Overloading a generator could cause it to overheat, which can easily create a fire hazard.
An average-sized home can usually get by with a 5000-watt portable generator if you only use it to power a few lights and basic appliances. If you’re looking to power all appliances, including your central air and heat, you should look into a whole house generator.
Watch Out for Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
Most people know that you should never use a generator indoors—even in garages or basements or in rooms with the windows and doors open—but you really shouldn’t even have the generator near your home. It is recommended that you place a generator at least 20 feet from your home when in use. The carbon monoxide that generators give off is odorless and can act rapidly. You could experience the harmful effects of carbon monoxide after being exposed to it for as little as five minutes!
The Burn Risk with Generator Usage
Another risk with using a portable generator is the potential for burns. After a generator has been running for a while, it is extremely hot to the touch. Many people have burned themselves on their portable generators when they go to refuel them. Before you refuel, turn off the generator and let it cool down. Doing so will not only keep you from getting burned but can also reduce the risk of a fire, as spilling gasoline on a hot engine could cause the gas to ignite.
Here at Electrician Express, we are here to help you keep your home and family safe. If you are thinking about purchasing a generator for your home but aren’t sure where to start, give us a call. Our Flushing electricians can help you choose one that will meet your home’s needs and get you set up to use it in the safest way possible. Don’t wait until the next big storm is upon us. Contact us now to get prepared for the rest of the winter and many winters to come.