Generator Safety Tips

Posted July 9, 2015

During the summer storm season many homeowners have portable or permanent generators that they use in the event of a power outage. While home backup generators are wonderful devices that can increase comfort and safety during power outages, they can also be dangerous if not used correctly.

The Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI) offers these tips for safe home generator use:

  • NEVER operate a generator INSIDE your home or in other enclosed or partially-enclosed spaces, including GARAGES
  • A generator is a TEMPORARY power source and should never be used as a permanent solution
  • NEVER connect generators directly to household wiring without first installing a TRANSFER SWITCH. This prevents back feeding which could electrocute utility workers making repairs
  • Make sure your generator is properly grounded and used with a Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI)
  • Use only extension cords that have a THREE-PRONGED plug and are rated for the intended loa
  • Your home generator should be installed by a QUALIFIED ELECTRICIAN and bear the mark of a nationally recognized testing laboratory, such as UL, Intertek, or CSA
  • Install battery-operated CO ALARMS or plug-in CO alarms with a battery backup install the home
  • Do NOT OVERLOAD the generator. Could you check the manufacturer's power rating?
  • The Consumer Product Safety Commission recommends generators be positioned at least 20 FEET from doors, windows, and vents to prevent CO from entering the home.

Have questions about your home generator? Call ABC Plumbing, Sewer, Heating, Cooling and Electric, we're here to help.

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