August 30, 2022

Do’s and Don’ts for Backup Generator Safety

While most power outages are short in duration, when there is a severe storm causing major damage to electrical infrastructure, the disruption can stretch into days. For that reason, more people are investing in backup generators.

While these devices can keep the lights on and appliances running until the electricity is restored, they can be a hazard if not operated safely. When it comes to protecting your family and home, here are back-up generator do’s and don’ts.

Backup Generator Safety Image

Backup Generator Do’s

  • Do reference the owner’s manual and follow all manufacturer instructions.
  • Do contact the dealers and manufacturers of your furnace, appliances, and lighting fixtures to confirm power needs and operating methods.
  • Do operate a generator outdoors to prevent dangerous carbon monoxide build-up in your home.
  • Do keep the generator a safe distance from your home and all doors, windows, and vents, and point the exhaust away from the building.
  • Do equip your home with working carbon monoxide detectors.
  • Do ensure your generator has an approved transfer device or switch and properly sized connector cord and plugs.
  • Do make sure extension cords have three prongs for grounding and are rated for this use. Two-pronged extension cords that are unable to handle the load can cause a fire hazard. If possible, avoid using an extension cord all together.

Generator Don’ts

  • Don’t operate a generator inside your home or garage as they produce carbon monoxide fumes that can be fatal.
  • Don’t place your generator in an area that is prone to flooding or if there is a chance of puddles forming beneath the unit. Placing a waterproof tent over the generator can help keep it dry.
  • Don’t connect a generator to electrical appliances or wiring affected by flood water.
  • Don’t leave extension cords coiled as they can get too hot. Be sure to uncoil and lay them flat.
  • Don’t add fuel to the generator while it is hot as there is a risk of fire. Turn off the unit and let is cool completely.