If you purchased a new generator to use this winter during severe storms but have never used one before, then it is important that you know how to do so in a safe manner. Improper generator use can lead to serious injuries and even death, so to protect your family, you need to know how to use one properly. To this end, here are some tips to keep your home and family safe while using a residential generator during a major storm:
Tip: Only Use Your Generator Outdoors
While you may be tempted to locate your generator in your garage for easy access, sheltered from bad weather, this is not advised. The engine exhaust from your generator will release carbon monoxide gas, and this gas is toxic for humans and family pets. For this reason, your home's generator must be located outdoors where it has plenty of ventilation. If you are worried about water coming into contact with your generator, then you should place it under a carport or other structure that is not fully enclosed. You should also buy a battery-operated carbon monoxide detector and place it near your generator. Since carbon monoxide gas is odorless and colorless, the detector will provide you a way to determine when the air near your generator can harm you.
Tip: Store Your Generator's Fuel Away from Your Generator in an Approved Container
Since the gas used to power your generator can cause a fire if it comes into contact with sparks from your generator's motor, it is vital that you keep your gasoline supply well away from your generator's location. Additionally, you must store the gasoline in approved containers that are rated for storing gas.
Tip: Use Only Exterior Rated Heavy-Duty Extension Cords with a Residential Generator
Finally, the best practice is always to connect your appliances directly into your generator. However, since this isn't always possible, you should purchase some very long, heavy-duty extension cords that are rated for use outdoors. These types of extension cords are coated in a rubberized plastic that protects them from water and damage. Before you use the extension cord, check it over very well by looking for any cracks or damage. If the extension cord is damaged, then you should not attempt to repair it or use it. Also, ensure that any extension cord that you use with a residential generator has its grounding prong in place.
For more information about generators and generator safety, talk to a company like Powell's Electric Service, Inc.