Avoid These Mistakes When Starting a Generator

A winter storm last week left hundreds of thousands without power in the United States as it hit the country less than a week into the season. And with the Farmers Almanac’s expanded forecast predicting a long, cold, wet winter for much of America, there’s a good chance the deadly storm that killed at least 37 people was just the beginning.

Because extreme weather happens all year round, many households choose to purchase a generator as a back-up power source to keep at least a few appliances running during a power outage.

While generators are great when you need them, they can also be a safety hazard if used incorrectly. Here are a few mistakes to avoid when running a generator.

Not reading the manual

Technically, this is a bug that should be avoided before you can run your generator. While there are general usage guidelines, different models have different requirements regarding where and how to safely run them. Don’t wait to read the manual to understand how it works until you’re stuck in the dark.

Running a generator too close to your home

Stationary generators are permanently installed by a professional . Portable generators, on the other hand, are usually stored until needed.

Some run on propane, others run on solar power, but a large number of portable generators run on gasoline. This means that, like car engines, they emit harmful carbon dioxide , something you don’t need in your living space.

The owner’s manual will tell you exactly how far the generator should be from your home, but it’s usually at least 20 feet and out of the reach of children and pets.

Starting a generator in your home

Never run a gas generator in any part of your home , including your garage or basement, even if windows and doors are open. Again, this is due to the poisonous carbon monoxide it gives off. If it rains , try to find a dry surface and, if possible, place the generator under an open shed.

Connecting Random Extension Cords and/or Extension Cords to the Generator

Most common household power strips and power strips are not rated for the power going through a generator. If you need the length they provide, have some outdoor extensions (generator compatible) ready next to your generator and ready to go when you need them.


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