A portable generator is a handy tool if you need a power supply in a remote location, or to act as a backup in case of a general power outage. But it’s also very powerful machine, so it’s important to follow safety protocols to the letter when it’s in use. Additionally, a generator must be properly maintained and, if necessary, repaired, to keep it running efficiently and safely.
Respect the Electricity
Any device that generates electricity must be handled with care. To avoid the possibility of an electric shock, only use your generator in a dry area. When in use, make sure it’s on a dry surface, and cover the generator if there is any possibility of rain. Also, attach only grounded extension cords to the generator, and uncoil the cords before they’re plugged in, because they’re likely to get hot. If you wish to plug the generator into your home outlet, first have a licensed electrician install a power transfer switch.
Beware of Carbon Monoxide
Generators emit carbon monoxide (CO) gas, which can be deadly if it fills an indoor space or even a partially open location, such as a garage with a window open. For this reason, never use a generator inside a home, shed or in any other building. Even if you’re using the generator outdoors, make sure it’s far enough from any structure that the CO can’t enter the building through a window or a vent. Move away from the generator and seek medical care immediately if you feel dizzy, nauseated, feel a sudden headache or are unusually tired, as these are symptoms of CO poisoning.
Handle Your Fuel Properly
In addition to the machine itself, your generator’s fuel must also be handled safely. Generator fuel is flammable and should never be stored in or near any living areas. Store the fuel in safety containers and keep it away from heat-producing or fuel-burning devices, such as water heaters. Additionally, don’t bring fuel containers near a hot generator. Turn the generator off and wait until it’s cool before you attempt to refuel the machine.
Proper Storage and Maintenance
Clean any debris off of the generator after each use, and then store it in a dry, indoor location, such as a garage or shed. If the generator is likely to be idle for a month or more, fill its fuel tank, but include a gasoline stabilizer, to protect the engine. Also, continue to perform the generator’s routine maintenance, according to the schedule listed in your owner’s manual. If you don’t have an owner’s manual, consult a generator repair service, which can recommend a maintenance schedule for your machine. Alternatively, the repair company can perform the maintenance itself.
Remember that a fully functional and well-maintained generator is a safe generator. If you have any doubts about your generator’s functionality, contact a professional generator repair service (such as Southern Rewind Ltd generators in lethbridge) before you use the machine again.