Provide ample ventilation and ensure plenty of distance from your home or office building when using portable generators.
Every year, people die in incidents related to portable generator use. Follow these tips from the American Red Cross to stay comfortable and safe during a power outage.
Purchasing a generator
- Look at the labels on equipment you plan to connect to the generator to determine the amount of power that will be needed to operate the equipment.
- Choose a generator that produces more power than will be drawn by the combination of equipment you plan to connect to it, including the initial surge when the equipment is turned on. If you cannot determine the amount of power that will be needed, ask an electrician for help.
- For power outages, permanently installed stationary generators are better suited for providing backup power to your location. Even a properly connected portable generator can become overloaded, which could lead to a generator failure.
Installing a generator
- The only recommended method to connect a generator to building wiring is by having a qualified electrician install a power transfer switch. Call a qualified electrician for assistance.
- Never try to power your building by plugging the generator into a wall outlet. This is an extremely dangerous practice that presents an electrocution risk to you, our workers and your neighbors.
- Under no circumstances should portable generators be used indoors, including inside a garage, carport, basement, crawlspace, or other enclosed or partially enclosed area, even with ventilation.
Using a generator
- Follow the directions supplied with your generator.
- You can die from odorless carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning while using a generator. If you start to feel sick, dizzy, or weak while using a generator, get to fresh air right away. Install battery-operated CO alarms to warn you of dangerous CO levels.
- Keep the generator dry to avoid electrocution.
- Turn the generator off and let it cool down before refueling. Gasoline spilled on hot engine parts could ignite.
- Store fuel for the generator in an approved safety can away from living areas in a locked shed or other protected area. Do not store it near a fuel-burning appliance.
- Plug appliances directly into the generator or use a heavy duty, outdoor-rated extension cord that is rated (in watts or amps) at least equal to the sum of the connected equipment loads.