6 Essential Safety Tips You Need To Follow When Using a Generator in Summer

By Sara Tipton

Making sure we put our safety and the safety of our family first is a priority for most. With the concern over rolling blackouts, brownouts, and power grid failure during this summer, many have turned to generators to power their homes. However, these, like everything, can present a safety concern if not used correctly.

Because most of us rarely use a generator in our day-to-day life, it can be incredibly easy to overlook the safety protocols.

One man was left homeless after his brand new generator exploded causing a massive wildfire. While the investigation is still ongoing about how a brand new generator exploded, it is a good time to go over summer safety tips when using a generator, especially with the increased concern for rolling blackouts this summer.

Here are a few summer generator safety tips to stay safe:

First and foremost, have a carbon monoxide alarm in your home. Most generator-related injuries are caused by CO poisoning, not explosions. Whether your generator has a CO shutoff (a safety feature that will kill the generator if the CO gets too high) or not, having your own can help alert you to issues of carbon monoxide dangers if the generator’s safety feature fails, and that’s always a possibility.

Never run a generator in an enclosed area. Always place the generator at least 20 feet from the house with the engine exhaust directed away from windows and doors.

Turn off a gas-powered generator and let it cool before refueling. Gasoline spilled on hot engine parts can ignite. Allowing the engine to cool also reduces the risks of burns while refueling.

Store your gasoline properly. If you think you’ll need to use the generator for an extended time, you’ll want extra fuel on hand. Just be sure to store gas only in an ANSI-approved container in a cool, well-ventilated place. Adding a stabilizer to the gas in the can will help it last longer, but don’t store gasoline near any potential heat or fire sources or inside the house.

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Avoid electrical hazards. If you don’t yet have a transfer switch, you can use the outlets on the generator as long as you follow certain precautions. It’s best to plug in appliances directly to the generator. If you must use an extension cord, it should be a heavy-duty one for outdoor use, rated (in watts or amps) at least equal to the sum of the connected appliance loads. First check that the entire cord is free of cuts and that the plug has all three prongs, which are critical to protecting against a shock if water has collected inside the equipment.

Never attempt to back feed your house. Back feeding means trying to power your home’s wiring by plugging the generator into a wall outlet. This reckless and dangerous practice presents an electrocution risk to utility workers and neighbors served by the same utility transformer. It also bypasses some of the built-in household circuit protection devices, so you could end up frying some of your electronics or starting an electrical fire.

Using a generator can be a great way to get some power if you experience blackouts regularly; however, safety first!

This article was originally published at Ready Nutrition™ on July 18th, 2022

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