power generator safety tips

Power outages are typically caused by severe weather conditions—such as hurricanes and icy winter storms, or even strong winds, heavy rain, and snowfall. Outages can be extremely inconvenient and make everyday life difficult, especially when they happen frequently or for long periods of time. If you live in an area where storms and other weather conditions cause frequent outages, using a power generator to power up your home can be an efficient solution to the problem. 

While a power generator is a valuable piece of equipment for many homeowners, generators can be dangerous. Misuse of the generator can result in carbon monoxide poisoning, fatal or severe injuries, and house fires. In fact, in the United States, an average of 70 people have died each year since 2005 from deaths related to due to the improper use of generators. Additionally, it’s estimated that up to 2,800 people suffer from carbon monoxide poisoning that emanates from portable generator machines.

As scary as these facts might seem, avoiding a potential power generator-related catastrophe is a matter of staying informed and keeping proactive with repairs, maintenance, and upkeep of your system. At Happy Home Heating & Cooling, we’re dedicated to helping our customers with first-rate emergency HVAC services and top-quality power generator services.

In this article, our team of HVAC experts shares our best backup power generator safety tips for your safety at home. This list of Do’s and Don’ts will help you to avoid putting your family in danger of some of the serious consequences that come from misusing a power generator.

Do Read Your Power Generator’s Instruction Manual

While many people are not fond of reading through the contents of a product operator’s manual, it is highly recommended that you do in order to learn how to operate it properly. The manual will also include precautions and guidelines that you can follow to ensure safety and proper functioning of the generator.

Don’t Forget to Turn the Generator Off Before Refueling

Before you refuel the generator, ensure that you turn it off to allow it to cool first. Obviously, when gasoline comes into contact with the hottest parts of the engine, it can cause these parts to ignite. Cooling it off beforehand will greatly reduce the risk of fire and injury caused by burns.  

Do Not Operate Your Generator in an Enclosed Space

When you use the power generator in even a partially enclosed indoor area inside your home, your risk for carbon monoxide poisoning is much greater than if you were to use it in an open space. Ensure that you position the generator at least 20 feet away from your house and that the exhaust is turned away from your windows and doors.

Do Use Carbon Monoxide Detectors

Because carbon monoxide poisoning is a huge risk for users of power generators, one of the best backup power generator safety tips is to install battery-operated carbon monoxide detectors in your home. Carbon monoxide detectors will set off an alarm before deadly levels are hit. Just make sure that the alarm adheres to the current UL 2034 safety standards for superior efficacy in detecting carbon monoxide gas.

Don’t Backfeed Your Home

Backfeeding is when electrical power is allowed to flow in reverse to power your home. For example, backfeeding would mean plugging your power generator into the wall outlet inside your home, essentially feeding the power supply in reverse to the electrical panel. Not only is backfeeding illegal, but it’s also highly dangerous and can lead to electrocution. Additionally, doing this can also fry your appliances and electronics as it will bypass your circuit protection devices.

Do Use Precautions to Prevent Electrical Risks

Use the outlets on your power generator if you don’t have a transfer switch yet, but make sure that you take necessary precautions. These include using heavy-duty extension cords, plugging the appliance directly to the power generator, as well as checking power cords for damage before plugging them in.

Your Trusted HVAC Services Provider

Happy Home Heating & Cooling is a trusted provider of top-rated HVAC repair, maintenance, replacement, and emergency HVAC services for North Carolina homeowners. With the help of our team of NATE-certified electricians and HVAC professionals, our BBB accredited company has provided exceptional services for our customers since 1955.