Generator Safety Tips
Although we’re nearing the end of winter, we’re not out of the woods yet. While generators are convenient to have during a storm when the power gets knocked out, you need to make sure you use them safely. Not doing so can lead to tragic accidents for your home and family.
Keep yourself and your home safe with these generator safety tips.
General Safety Procedures
Generators can be handy tools when the power goes out, but staying safe is paramount. Here are a few things to know before you use your generator for the first time and everytime you need it in the future.
- Read the manufacturer’s instructions and follow the guidelines.
- Never leave your generator on when you’re not at home.
- Generators heat up while in use. Be careful when (or if) you touch it as it can burn you.
Each year, generators cause house fires around the country and, sometimes, fatalities. Some of those problems are due to a lack of electrical safety.
- Do not plug your generator directly into a wall outlet. This is known as “backfeeding” and it’s extremely dangerous.
- Always touch a generator with dry hands.
- Don’t stand in a puddle of water when you’re touching the generator.
- Do not run a generator in the rain unless it’s properly covered and vented.
- You can plug appliances directly into your generator with appropriate three-prong extension cords or cords allowed by the manufacturer.
- Even better, install a transfer switch with connects your generator to the circuit panel in your home. This lets you power appliances without extension cords.
- When in doubt, hire an electrician to install your generator and definitely hire one to install a transfer switch.
Another safety hazard when you use a generator is the possible build-up of carbon monoxide. It’s a tasteless, odorless gas that kills quickly and silently.
- Never operate your generator inside, in your garage, or your basement.
- Never operate your generator near windows, doors, or vents.
- Ideally, keep your generator 25 feet away from your home, but make sure it’s not too close to your neighbors home.
- Keep three to four feet of space clear on all sides of your generator.
- Install carbon monoxide alarms to warn you of carbon monoxide build-up. Test the alarms and check the batteries on a regular basis.
The third hazard when using your generator is during refueling. Accidents happen when the fuel hits the hot generator and also if the fuel is stored improperly.
- Never refuel your generator while it’s running.
- Power down your generator and wait for it to cool down before refueling.
- Keep and store fuel in appropriate containers.
- Do not store your fuel in or near your home.
- Keep your fuel in a separate and well-ventilated location. If you must store it inside, make sure it’s in an appropriate storage cabinet specifically for flammable liquids.
- Never smoke near the fuel or while refueling.
Generators can make life easier during big storms, but only if you use them safely. Don’t be in a rush around your generator and take every precaution to keep you and your home safe.
Not using your generator safely can lead to accidents and fires. We hope you never have to worry about a fire, but it’s better to be safe than sorry. Make sure your homeowners insurance policy can cover you in case the worst happens. Check and adjust your policy limits or get a quote for a brand new policy by contacting us. Here at Ross Insurance, we hope you never have to file a claim, but if you do, we want you to have the right kind of insurance so you can make a full recovery.