A generator is a very useful machine during times of power outage or for portable power for recreational purposes. Generators come in handy when you have a blackout as a result of natural disasters or infrastructural problems. Homes and industries use generators to ensure that everything goes around as usual. While big industries can undertake all the necessary safety precautions during operating a generator, portable generator owners need to know about the safety tips. If you operate the generators carelessly, you can end up with either generator malfunction, appliances problems or you can start up a fire.
In order to avoid all such unfortunate events, we have prepared a portable generator safety checklist. By keeping in mind, the following advice, you can avoid all sorts of trouble.
Portable Generator Safety Tips
Installing a Transfer Switch
The first thing to keep in mind when you buy a portable generator for your home use is to install a transfer switch. Many people use portable generators without transfer switches. It is somehow safe, but you can end up burning some components of your generator or your important appliances.
We recommend that you do not use a portable generator in your home without a transfer switch. Transfer switches are installed near to your electrical panel, and then the connection is made with the generator and the appliances. If you are using portable generators for outdoor purposes, make sure you do not plug the machines directly to your generator. You can use extension cords and switchboards for this purpose.
Make sure you don’t overload your generator under any circumstances. It can lead to many potential dangers; for example, burning your appliances, under-performance of your generator and machines. It can also lead to a short circuit and may start a fire. If you overload your generator, it can stop running after a few seconds. It may try to run and may destroy some sensitive components during this process.
Despite no overloading, you need to practice load management. For example, if you want to run 3 appliances on your generator, you should add them one by one. If you do not want any appliance running on our generator for some time, take it off. Let’s say, you are running your refrigerator for 6 hours on your generator and you need to add a water pump on it, it is recommended that you take off your refrigerator for some time and then add a water pump. You can add the fridge back after some time. Similarly, you need to make sure that you do not add more load than the total capacity of your generator.
High-Quality Power Cords
You should make sure that you are using heavy-duty and high-quality power cords with your generator. If you haven’t installed a transfer switch or you are using a portable generator for outdoor purposes, you would need wires to connect it to the appliances. Poor and cheap quality cords can go wrong in the blink of an eye.
It will make the whole process unreliable during the time of need. You should look for cords that can withstand heat and harsh weather. Make sure you keep all the cords and connections away from water and animals which can chew the cords. Special generator cords are available in the market which can withstand high voltage and extreme temperatures.
Ventilation and Open Running Area
You should only run your generator in an open area and give a proper exhaust to your generator. Make sure that the exhaust pipe is turned away from your home and your area of sitting. If you are using your generator while camping, make sure you place it away from your camping site. Ventilation is essential because a generator’s exhaust contains harmful gases and particles which can be detrimental to your health.
Make sure you are using quality fuel for your generator. Whether you have a gas-powered or propane-powered generator, you should only use quality fuel to run your generator. Gasoline goes bad earlier than propane; therefore, you should be more careful if you are using gas to run your generator.
Ensure you do not let your generator run on fumes; it can destroy its carburetor and ring pistons. Your generator should have ample running fuel when it is powering your appliances. It would be best if you never refueled your generator when it is running as gas can catch fire at that time.
Secondly, you may end up burning your hand if you come in contact with any hot part of your generator. Do not light up a cigarette when you are refueling a generator or anything that can catch fire. It is recommended to keep a fire extinguisher in your home or nearby when you are running a portable generator.
During times of blackout, you should store some extra fuel for your generator. You should never use expired fuel in your generators.
Run your Generator Dry
You should always run your generator dry and not in the rain. If it is raining and you have to run your generator, make sure it is properly covered and has ample space for the exhaust. You can buy generator tents for running outside or build an enclosure for using your generator inside your home. The best way to avoid electrocution is to run your generator dry.
Understanding the Basics
You should go through the product manual to understand all the basics of your generator. It will help in safe operation, refueling, and taking all the necessary precautions for your generator.
Avoid the Noise
You should try to avoid the noise as much as possible. Portable generators produce a lot of noise when they are running. Hearing a constant noise for long periods can impact your mood, destroy the camping moments, and cause a headache. You should turn your generator’s exhaust towards the other side while it is running. Keeping your generator in an enclosure also reduces the running noise. You can also buy an inverter generator to reduce the operating sound effectively.