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Live Well When Power Goes Out With A Portable Generator: Generator Safety Tips

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When the power goes out, the luxuries of modern living disappear in a hurry. Groceries get warm, cell phone batteries drain and finding a flashlight becomes a priority. A generator can make a power outage less inconvenient, but knowing how to operate one safely is important. With attention to a few details and knowledge of common hazards and mistakes, you can live well when the power goes out. Here are some tips to help you operate a portable generator safely.

Operate Generators Outside

Carbon monoxide poisoning can be avoided by running a generator outside your home and away from partially enclosed spaces. Therefore, a portable generator should never be used in a garage or shed, even with the door open.

Properly Ground a Generator

When a portable generator is not connected to the electrical box in a home, it should be connected to the ground using a grounding rod. This ensures if the unit were to have a short circuit, the dangerous electricity would be transferred into the ground rather than electrocuting a person. It is also best to not operate a generator in wet conditions and children should not be allowed to play near one.

Reduce Fire Risks

Most portable generators use gasoline. Gas containers should be stored away from where generators are being used. At least three feet of open space should be kept around a generator to prevent fires, and leaves should be raked away before operation. Portable generators also should not be used on a deck or balcony.

Know When To Hire an Electrician

If you would like to avoid running extension cords to your portable generator to each device in your home, it is possible to have an electrician install a manual transfer switch near your home’s or business’s breaker box. This will allow you to safely power items in your home without extension cords running to each room. It is also important to know that a generator should never be plugged into a wall outlet. Doing so can send power outside the house to the electrical grid and possibly injure utility workers.