A portable electric generator is, in simple terms, a combination of an electric generator and an engine.
An electric generator is a machine which through the phenomenon explained in physics as ‘electromagnetic induction’ converts electricity from mechanical energy.
This energy is provided to the generator through the engine. These two parts assembled together to form an engine-generator.
Portable generator acts as a quick fix in case of power outages and is useful for various purposes ranging from domestic to recreational as well as from trade to industrial.
It is easy and safe to run when operated correctly. To avoid safety hazards, however, some precautions must be followed. So here is a list of 10 safety points you must always remember when operating a generator for your own safety and for those around you.
10 Must Follow Safety Tips for Portable Generator
1. Grab the manual of your generator and go through it
This is one of the most neglected aspects.
Reading the manual gives you an idea of how your generator functions and will familiarize you with your generator’s different parts and buttons and engines and does not take much time either.
If you’re going to invest in a generator you need to learn to speak its language, the manual will instruct you on not only what to do but also how to do it to prevent accidents from happening.
Moreover, they also have a short guide to explain what must be done in emergencies and will prepare you for any scenario. So before you start reaping the benefits of the generator be sure to read its manual which will provide you with safety rules.
2. Place it in Open air
A generator is an engine containing the device, and therefore, like any other engine containing device it should always be used or placed or set in the open air. At least 15 feet away from your home.
This distance will not allow carbon monoxide gas and fumes to build up and do fatal damage.
3. Place it at a distance from your house
It is always recommended for a portable generator to be placed outside your house, garage, and basement. This will help in reducing electrical and fire hazards from taking place and causing harm to you or those around as it puts distance between the generator and people.
4. Provide Protection through Cover
A portable generator because it is to be placed outside is susceptible to elements like rain, storm, wind, dust, dirt, snow, and even insects. These elements might get stuck in a part of your portable generator and simply damage it or gradually affect its functioning and lead to safety hazards.
It is essential then, that you purchase a cover or an enclosure or tent (depending upon your need) so that your generator is protected and no dangerous accidents can take place. So, to place your generator outside and not worry about it be sure to protect it with a cover.
5. Carbon Monoxide Alarms
Generators release high levels of carbon monoxide (CO) which is a poisonous gas with serious and harmful effects on human body. Detecting carbon monoxide (CO) through the sense of smell or sight isn’t possible but that doesn’t stop its exposure to your body.
It can lead to dizziness, suffocation and can even lead to death in serious cases. To avoid the harmful effects of carbon monoxide (CO) install CO alarms that detect even the lowest level of carbon monoxide in your home. Do not forget to test the alarm and replace its batteries from time to time.
6. Electrical Hazards
The most common cause of safety hazard with generators is electrocution. To avoid electrical hazards be sure to not use your generator on a wet surface, protect it from moisture through a cover, use heavy-duty extension cords that are specifically built for outdoor purposes and are rated equal or more than the sum of all appliances you plan on running on your generator.
It should be free of any cuts and tears. Also, do not attempt to connect the generator to a wall outlet to power the house-wiring unless it is disconnected from service lines. This practice is known as ‘backfeeding’ and is extremely dangerous for not only you and your family but also your neighbors and all those who share the same utility transformer.
7. Fire Hazards
Some of the other common cases of safety hazards related to generators are fire hazards. To avoid them never try to refuel or refill your generator while the engine of your generator is hot. It is better to turn off the generator and let it cool down and after a while refill it.
The fuel (especially if it is gasoline) might spill and its drops may fall on the engine which is hot and a fire may break out. Also, make sure you never store fuel inside your home. All fuels must be stored somewhere outside of living areas, and label them too.
8. Regular maintenance
is important for enhancing your generator’s performance and also for knowing if your generator or any part of it needs to be replaced, checked or tended to.
9. Avoid Overloading
Do not overload your generator. Keep count of the sum of watts of all appliances you’re running or simply make sure that you don’t exceed the power capacity of your generator.
10. Grounding of generator
If your portable generator is supplying electricity to appliances via transfer switch it is necessary then to have your generator connected to a proper grounding electrode system. Make sure your generator is properly grounded and is in accordance with the grounding requirements mentioned in the manual.
In the end.
Hope these will help you in building a safer environment around your home for yourself and those around you. These precautions are easy to follow and require just a little bit of your attention and in no way hinder the benefits you can derive from your generators. So please follow them and be safe.
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