Generator outside of house

4 Tips to Safely Use Your Generator

A generator is a machine that provides electrical energy to devices and appliances in your home during a power outage. These devices are essential for safety during natural disasters such as hurricanes, snow storms, and tornadoes. Generators not only provide electricity to appliances such as refrigerators and ensure your food doesn't spoil. Still, it can also save your life by giving power to a space heater in the event of an outage during the frigid winter months.

Although not used frequently, it is crucial to understand how to use your generator safely when necessary. Our experts want to educate you on proper safety measures so you can be aware when cranking up your generator.

Cool Before Refuel

Generators are gas-powered, so you will need to refuel at some point to keep them running. If the generator has been running all day, it will be hot. Let the engine cool for a few minutes before filling the gas tank. The heat from the generator mixed with the fluid and fumes can cause the gas to ignite, resulting in a dangerous explosion.

Avoid Electrocution

Although generators run on gas, they turn their mechanical energy into electricity. There is a chance of electrocution if the proper precautions are in place. To avoid this, keep the generator in a dry area. Ensure it runs on a dry surface and cover with a canopy in the event of rain. Additionally, do not touch the generator if you have wet hands or gloves.

When plugging appliances into the generator, always use the cords supplied by the manufacturer or grounded extension cords. Grounded extension cords are the ones with three prongs. Inspect your cords before use to ensure they are free of damage and frays.

Limit The Number of Appliances

Think about what appliances are most important for you to plug into the generator. It is essential to know how many watts each appliance requires to evaluate how many devices the generator can power. We recommend connecting your refrigerator to ensure your food doesn't spoil. If you need to use another large appliance, such as a washing machine, we recommend unplugging the refrigerator temporarily while the other appliances are in use.

Powering too many devices causes your generator to struggle to output a steady stream of energy. It will begin to operate in an unstable manner, causing power to distribute intermittently. This output will cause irreversible damage to appliances designed to work under a steady wattage stream.

Proper Ventilation

Many deaths have occurred due to improper ventilation for fumes caused by generators. Never use a generator in any of the following spaces.

  • Garage
  • Crawl space
  • Basement

Carbon monoxide is colorless and odorless, which makes it almost impossible to notice until it is too late. Ensure your generator has AT LEAST 4 feet of clear space on all sides and above it to ensure proper ventilation. If it is operating outside, make sure it is not near an open window or door to avoid the CO from seeping into the home and causing harm to you and your loved ones.

Signs of CO Poisoning

  • Dizziness
  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Tiredness

If you or a family member begin to experience these symptoms, get to fresh air immediately and seek medical attention.

Leave It To The Professionals!

If you are seeking a whole home backup generator consultation, HedgeHog Electric will dispatch a licensed electrician to inspect your home electrical system and take necessary measurements to give you an accurate quote. Call us today to schedule an appointment! (866) 605-2113.

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