Safety Tips For Portable Generators

Portable generators provide electrical power wherever electrical power is needed including construction sites, campgrounds, and even houses hit by a power outage. Not just for convenience, they power tools, medical tools, and keep important appliances operating. Along with hooking up your generator, and making proper connections. To prevent potentially life-threatening mishaps, you must follow these portable generator safety tips. Always read your owner’s manual for safety instructions specific to the model you own.

General Safety

Never refuel a portable home generator while it is running. Turn the generator off and allow it to cool before adding fuel. When a generator is in operation, do not allow children to play near or around it. Burn and electrical hazards can injure a child. Disconnect loads from the generator before you turn it off and keep them disconnected until the generator is running again. Use battery-powered carbon monoxide detectors when the generator is operated near a home or other dwelling. Keep combustible materials away from the generator. Generator exhaust contains carbon monoxide, an odorless, colorless gas that can quickly kill in a confined space. Never place a portable generator indoors, including the inside of a home, garage or shed, even if the windows and doors are open. Windows and doors cannot provide adequate ventilation for an internal combustion engine regardless of the fuel being used. Keep portable generators at least 10 feet from any dwelling including homes, tents, RVs, and campers. Keep the generator away from open doors, windows, or vents. Place the generator downwind where exhaust fumes cannot enter the dwelling. Be mindful of your neighbor’s and aware of where exhaust may travel. Position the generator on a stable, level surface that will not flood. 

Using Extension Cords

Make certain you are always using outdoor rated extension cords. These extension cords are three-pronged plugs and receptacles plus should contain a ground wire. Make sure to obtain cords that will support the amount of power the devices used will draw. Common wire sizes include 14 gauges for approximately 15 amperes, 12 gauges for approximately 20 amperes, and 10 gauges for approximately 30 amperes. In the event the cords will carry near their maximum rated load more than 80 percent of the time, intensify to the next (smaller gauge number) size cord. Extension cords beyond 100 feet require larger wires (smaller gauge number) to lessen voltage drop, which could cause motors to overheat or burn out. Usually do not pinch extension cords in windows or doors, or use cords while they are coiled up. Pinched wires can easily overheat and start a fire. Uncoil cords prior to making connections to ensure that they’re from overheating. Just use extension cords in excellent with unbroken sheathing and solid connections to plugs and receptacles. 

Making Connections

Make connections between the portable generator’s convenience receptacles straight away to appliances with extension cords.

Link a generator with a home’s electrical system by having a manual transfer switch. Never connect chance to a house by back feeding a product circuit like an electrical range or dryer outlet. Backfeeding can kill or injure utility workers.

On project sites, a transportable generator’s neutral and ground wire be bonded (connected) about the generator to fulfill OSHA safety regulations (unless a separate, approved ground is given). Connection of a job-site generator with a home’s manual transfer switch may need disabling the bond before link with the switch. Confirm the owner’s manual for instructions specific to grounding the generator.