Generator Safety

For dependable power when utilities fail, a generator is the tool you need. For peace of mind and maximum safety, make sure you choose the right one and use it properly.

Lesson One: Selecting a Generator
While a generator can be a useful asset in times of emergency, keep in mind that generators are not designed for whole house use or for use for long periods of time.
- Depending on their wattage output, generators will run anything from a small lamp to a number of large appliances.
- To determine the size generator you will need, total the wattage of the maximum number of items you will be running simultaneously. For items with start up ratings higher than their run ratings, use the higher rating to determine your power requirements.
- Inductive load appliances and tools such as refrigerators, washers, and power tools require additional wattage for starting the equipment. The initial load only lasts for a few seconds on startup but is very important when calculating your total wattage.

Lesson Two: Generator Safety Tips
- Never exceed the rated capacity of a generator.
- Always start the largest electric appliance first, then plug in other items, one at a time. For example, view the wattage chart and rate your items according to capacity.
- Grounding the generator is recommended to help prevent accidental electrical shock.
- Choose the appropriate extension cord for the tool or appliance. Larger gauge, three-wire/three prong cords should be used when using an appliance or tool at a considerable distance from the generator.

Lesson Three: Before Use - Get prepared
There are some simple things you can do to ensure that you can do to ensure that you and your generator will be ready to restore power when you need to most. Here are a few tips.
- Read the owners manual to make sure you are properly maintaining your generator.
- Read generator safety tips.
- Determine what appliances you will be able to run with the wattage guide.
- Perform a dry run of your generator to make sure you are familiar of how you will operate it during a power outage.
- Keep a flashlight handy to find your way to your generator.
- Keep your generator conveniently located.
- If your generator is equipped with electric start, keep the battery charged.
- Run your generator occasionally to keep the engine well lubricated.
- Keep an adequate supply of fresh gasoline and extension cords. (Use a fuel stabilizer, like Sta-bil, in your fuel if you plan on storing it for extended periods of time.)
- Remember to never store gasoline inside your home.

Lesson Four: During - The power is out - now what?
- Make sure you follow all safety precautions.
- Be sure that children are not in the area while setting up or operating a generator for use.
- Move your generator to a well-ventilated area outside your home. Do not use generators indoors as that may lead to carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning.
- Keep your generator away from water and rain.
- Check oil and gas. Store generator fluids appropriately after using.
- Start the generator and plug in your power cord(s).
- Plug in appliances one at a time being careful not to overload the circuits.
- Always shut down the generator when refueling.
- Always follow proper maintenance intervals.

Connecting your Generator
After you have selected a generator, here are a few tips that can help you keep power through the storm.

Consider your Connection Method
Connecting your generator to your home can be as simple as plugging in a tool or appliance. The difficulty comes in when you want to run items that are hard wired to your homes electrical system such as a furnace fan, lighting and a water pump. After consulting the manufacturer’s instructions, consider these three options.
- Extension Cords: Extension Cords are the most common method for powering appliances in your home. Simply plug the cord into your generator and run it through an open door or window to the item you wish to power. Careful not to overload the extension cord. Always use at least 10-12 gauge cord and try to limit the length to under 100 feet.
- Extenda-Panel Extension Cords: This convenient cord combines 4 heavy duty extension cords into one - eliminating the tangle of multiple extension cords. This cord plugs into your 30 amp, 240v receptacle on your generator and delivers up to 7200 watts through 4 different receptacles.
- Power Transfer Systems: This is a must if you plan to use your portable generator to operate appliances hard wired to you home’s electrical system. This system is the safer, faster and more convenient way to power up to 10 household circuits for up to 7200 watts of power. This comes with a power cord and inlet box that mounts outside your home, eliminating all open doors and windows.

Lesson Five: After - Keep it ready for the next time
- Allow your generator to adequately cool-down before storing.
- Perform any required maintenance.
- Add fuel stabilizer to any remaining gas.
- Plug in battery trickle charger (if equipped).
- Use a storage cover to keep the generator free of dirt and debris.

Safety Considerations:
• To avoid carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning:
- Never use a generator indoors or in attached garages.
- Only operate the generator outdoors in a well-ventilated, dry area, away from air intakes to the home, and protected from direct exposure to rain and snow, preferably under a canopy, open shed, or carport.
• To avoid electrocution:
- Plug individual appliances into the generator using heavy duty, outdoor rated cords with a wire gauge adequate for the appliance load.
- Observe the generator manufacturer’s instructions for safe operation.
- Do not plug the generator into a wall outlet.
- If connecting the generator into the house wiring is necessary, have a qualified electrician hook up the standby electrical system, or have the local utility install a linking device if available.
• Never store gasoline in the home. Gasoline, kerosene and other flammable liquids should be stored outside of living areas in properly labeled, non-glass safety containers. They should also not be stored in a garage if a fuel-burning appliance is in the garage. The vapor from gasoline can travel invisibly along the ground and be ignited by pilot lights or arcs caused by activating electric switches. Be sure to lock buildings or areas where dangerous chemicals are stored.