A generator can be a great resource if your electric service has been interrupted. It can help power your lights, furnace, air conditioner, refrigerator, etc. But it also can be dangerous if not properly handled.
Generator safety tips
Always follow the manufacturer’s safety instructions. And be aware of these hazards:
- Electrical shock or electrocution. Never try to plug your generator into a wall outlet to power your home, business, cabin, etc. This is EXTREMELY DANGEROUS to you and could electrocute utility workers on the power lines. It also could overload your electrical wiring and create a fire hazard in your home.
- Carbon monoxide poisoning. Never use a generator in an enclosed or partially enclosed space—or near an open window through which you may impact neighboring facilities. Poorly placed generators without adequate ventilation can lead to carbon-monoxide (CO) poisoning and even death. If you start to feel sick, dizzy, or weak, get to fresh air immediately.
- Fire. Turn off your generator and let it cool down before refueling to prevent spilled fuel from igniting on hot engine parts.
- Back-feeding electricity.
- If you have a standby generator that’s connected directly to the electrical system there must be a transfer switch to prevent back feeding and damage to your appliances or electrocuting utility workers.
- A professional should install and inspect your generator and wiring.
- Overloading your generator. Do not exceed the manufacturer’s load rating. Personal generators are not meant to power an entire home.