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How to Use Portable Generator Safely?

Maintaining Your Generator

Things to DO

  • DO read the owner manual when you get the generator home and read it patiently to ensure you do not miss out on any important information.
  • DO protect the generator from direct exposure to sun, rain or snow.
  • DO have an approved cut-off switch that will disconnect the generator when the power returns.
  • DO make sure that the generator is grounded properly to avoid any electrical shocks or short circuits.

Things DO NOT to do

  • DO NOT connect generators directly to the household wiring without an appropriate transfer switch installed. Power from generators connected directly to household wiring can backfeed along power lines and electrocute anyone coming in contact with them, including utility lineworkers making repairs.
  • Make sure your generator is properly grounded according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Use a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) to prevent electrocutions and electrical shock injuries.

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Fuelling And Storing Tips

  1. DO NOT store any kind of flammable, combustible or hazardous item near the generator, especially when it is in operation. Generators use high speed moving components, burn gasoline and run hot, they can produce sparks too.
  2. DO NOT overfill the generator’s fuel tank, as it can spill out and ignite. Always leave some space for fuel expansion.
  3. DO NOT add or try to add fuel to the generator when it is running. Either fuel up the tank prior to use or wait for the generator to cool down and then refuel it.
  4. DO NOT smoke or use fire anywhere near the vicinity of the generator, while in use or otherwise. Avoid touching the generator when it is in use, it can be really hot.
  5. DO NOT immediately move a generator right after it is stopped. Wait a few minutes and let it cool down first.

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Other Suggestions and Tips

Generators should always be operated in open areas, as they emit carbon monoxide which is highly toxic. Using a generator indoors or in enclosed spaces poses health hazards and could even lead to loss of life. The operation should further be carried out far away from windows, doors and vents that lead to the house.
A carbon monoxide detector is an essential addition when operating a portable generator. These are battery powered alarms that sound a warning once the carbon monoxide levels exceed a certain limit. In the absence of a detector, these levels could rise gradually while the occupants of the house are hardly aware, only noticing when they have already inhaled the toxic gas.
Gasoline, even in its vapor form is highly flammable and should be kept away from flammable materials. The engine should be allowed a couple of minutes to cool down before refueling with fresh gasoline. If the generator is to sit idle for more than a month, a fuel stabilizer should be used.
Finally, the generator should be switched off when the family members go to sleep or are away from home to prevent incidences of fire. Remember to switch off the generator powered appliances before the generator itself.