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Generator Safety

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Be sure to observe these guidelines when using a gas-powered generator:

  • Always observe the manufacturer's instructions for safe operation.
  • Run your generator outdoors in a well-ventilated area. Never run a generator indoors.
  • Protect your generator from exposure to rain. Operate under a canopy, if possible.
  • Make sure your generator is on a level, stable surface.
  • Keep combustible materials away from generators.
  • Never plug the generator directly into the main circuit for your home.
  • Keep up with your generator engine's maintenance schedule for peak performance and safety.
  • Check the oil daily, or after every eight hours of operation.
  • Before refueling, turn engine off and let cool at least two minutes.
  • Keep gas fresh. Add a gas stabilizer when planning to store your generator unused for 30 days or longer.

Portable generators can be hazardous if used improperly. The two biggest risks are carbon monoxide poisoning from the toxic engine exhaust and electrocution from connecting the generator to the home electrical wiring system.

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, preferably under a canopy or carport or in an open shed.

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.
  • If at all possible, avoid connecting the electrical output of the generator into the house wiring. Instead, connect individual appliances that have their own outdoor-rated power cord directly to the receptacle outlet of the generator, or connect these cord-connected appliances to the generator's electrical outlet via a suitable, outdoor-rated extension cord with a sufficient wire gauge to handle the electrical load.

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.