Safety Measures for Using a Backup Generator
There’s no doubt that a generator takes the bite out of power outages, but before using it, read up about generator safety. These devices use gas, propane, or diesel to create electricity. They create substantial amounts of exhaust that contains carbon monoxide (CO) and other noxious gases.
- Don’t operate it inside. There are no circumstances under which you should operate a generator indoors. It’s also dangerous to run a generator in a partially enclosed patio or carport, even if you run an exhaust fan.
- Use properly rated extension cords with the generator. Match the cord to how you plan to use it. Look on the label for its amp rating and length. If you’re using it to run a space heater, use a cord with high amps, or a heavy duty rating.
- Let the generator cool down before adding fuel. Spilling gas or diesel on it could start a fire. These appliances get very hot as they run. Be sure you keep your children away from them, as well.
- Keep the generator out of the rain and do not run it under wet conditions. You can buy special tents to use that provide generator safety during prolonged periods of rainy weather or hurricanes.
- Keep it away from open windows and doors. Generator exhaust contains dangerous pollutants including CO. Be sure every family member knows to keep nearby windows closed when it’s running.
- Never plug a generator into an electrical outlet. It will backfeed the power lines, which sends electricity into the lines that could be fatal to a utility worker or neighbor accessing the lines.
- Verify that your CO detector is working by testing the batteries each month and just before you start the generator.
Practicing generator safety is essential to getting through power outages, regardless of when or the cause. If you have any concerns or questions, contact Rinaldi’s Energy Solutions, providing HVAC services for Orlando-area homeowners.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Orlando, Florida and surrounding areas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).
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