Portable generators offer backup power during outages. Here are some important safety tips for safe connection and operation.
Connecting a portable generator directly to your household wiring can be deadly! It can 'backfeed' onto the power lines connected to your home. Utility transformers can then "step-up" or increase this backfeed to thousands of volts – enough to kill a utility lineman making repairs (even a long way from your house). You could also cause expensive damage to utility equipment and your generator.
The only safe way to connect a portable generator to your existing wiring is to have a licensed electrical contractor install a transfer switch. The transfer switch transfers power from the utility power lines to the power coming from your generator.
Plugging a generator into a regular household outlet can energize "dead" power lines and injure neighbors or utility workers. And always make sure to connect appliances directly to the receptacle outlet of the generator with appropriately-rated outdoor power cords.
Don't operate more appliances and equipment than the output rating of the generator. Overloading can seriously damage your valuable appliances and electronics. Prioritize your needs. A portable electric generator should be used only when necessary, and only to power essential equipment.
Generators use an internal combustion engine that emits deadly carbon monoxide. Always place the generator where exhaust fumes will not enter the house. Only operate it outdoors in a well-ventilated, dry area, preferably under a canopy, open shed or carport.
Don't cut corners when it comes to safety. Carefully read and observe all instructions in your portable electric generator's owner manual.
To prevent electrical shock, make sure your generator is properly grounded. Consult your manufacturer's manual for correct grounding procedures.
Turn off all equipment powered by the generator before shutting down your generator.
Many generator parts are hot enough to burn you during operation.
Children are naturally curious. Keep them away from portable electric generators at all times to avoid injury.