Get Storm Ready: Portable Generator Safety Tips

Heavy rains and storms are currently upon all of Houston. As the hurricane season gets underway many of us will stock up on supplies and possibly invest in a generator.

With the many that were left without power during our last rain event, it only seems reasonable that a generator can be a valuable thing to have in a time of need. However, most people with generators are very new to working with them, don’t read the instructions carefully and can actually be risking their safety. Here’s three major things you should watch out for when using your generator.

Prevent Electrocution

Always connect appliances to your generator using long, outdoor or heavy-duty extension cords that are grounded. Pay attention to the wattage rating for each cord you use and make sure cords aren’t damaged or frayed in any way.

Don’t attach your generator directly to your home’s electrical system. Without a transfer switch, this can energize electrical served by the same utility transformer posing a threat of electrocution for others in the area. When the power does return this could cause an energy surge.

Never use generators in rainy or wet conditions. This is especially difficult during storms when you’re more likely to try to use them. Protect your generator by using it in a well-ventilated, but dry area. Don’t touch or handle any components of the generator with wet hands. If you anticipate your generator being wet, purchase ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs).

Prevent Fire

Again, make sure that all your extension cords are not damaged. Extension cords that are damaged or overloaded can cause electrocution and fire.

Turn your generator off and let it cool down before you refill the gas. Any fuel spilled on hot engine parts could ignite and cause a fire.

Keep any unused fuel away from the generator at all times- even when it’s not in use.

Prevent Carbon Monoxide (CO) Poisoning

Your generator should be situated in a well-ventilated area with the exhaust pointing away from any living area, and it should be clear on all sides by at least 3 feet. That means your generator should not be in your home, garage, or basement while in use. Opened garage doors, windows, and doors will not provide enough ventilation.

Pair the usage of your generator with a battery-operated carbon monoxide alarm so you can be warned when there is a leakage. Remember that CO is a colorless, odorless gas that can build up quickly and linger for hours.

 

Safety is Preparation

Shop for a generator that produces more power than all of your appliances, lighting, etc. needs combined, otherwise you’ll rune the risk of blowing a fuse or damaging your home. Ask our electricians if you need help determining the amount of power you’ll need.

Mister Sparky wants you to be safe and prepared this storm season. Be prepared and don’t wait for an emergency – give us a call today to setup an appointment to get your home or generator set up properly.

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