10 Tips for Dummies Portable Generator Safety

  1. Never run a generator when it’s raining without using a generator cover as you may risk electrocution and/or generator damage;

81CO-qEGsxL._SL1500_We all know from our school days how electricity and water create shock, it is not a good look to be shocked with electricity….your generator needs its own little house, sometimes known as a generator cover, canopy or tent

  1. Never operate inside the house or outbuildings, not even with the door open, carbon monoxide is a silent, odourless killer

713sAU64+JL._SL1200_Anyone can install a carbon monoxide detector, better than a canary for detecting the gas.  A canary would tell you by dropping down dead and then you would need another. So don’t be cruel to birds or pets, and don’t take any chances of inadvertently killing yourself, CO can hang around for many hours, a very unwelcome guest and not at all friendly! 

  1. Never fully enclose the generator, this is to prevent overheating

30208_400Portable generators can generate heat of up to 600 degrees Fahrenheit so you need to let it hang loose. Don’t box it in, causing it to overheat, overheating = fire=hazard=death.  Let it keep cool, and it will not let you down.

  1. Don’t forget to wear rubber soled shoes when touching the generator

167930_2000x2000Tie one hand behind your back!  Do not set yourself up for electrocution.  Keep your rubber wellies ready, keep them dry too! Maybe consider a rubber glove too….electricians always wear rubber soles…..Take care when the ground is wet, it may be tempting to keep those sandals on, not a good idea, be prepared, what can go wrong?

Quite a lot actually considering there has already been a disaster so read on

  1. Do not consider using your portable generator in a hurricane, i.e. winds of 70 mph

213400_2000x2000Don’t take the chance of getting blown away with your generator, wait for the storm to finish it’s destructive path, when it is safe, and assuming your generator has not blown away then you can approach with caution.

  1. Always be careful with the hot muffler area of your generator

image_20224Hot muffler area ??? Yes, that is correct, don’t consider lighting your cigarette just yet, the storm maybe over but the hot muffler area is where the fumes ignite.  Lighting up at this stage may cause an explosion.

  1. Shut off the fuel valve and ensure the generator stalls to prevent any clogging in the carburettor

image_21040Probably the last thing you feel like doing on your weekend off is having a test run with your generator, wasting fuel as well.  However, how will you know it is going to work in an emergency power cut.  Your generator needs to run, same as your dog.  So lugging it out of its house, tent or cover is essential, every 3 months is a good idea.  Don’t look at me like that, practice makes perfect and what is a little fuel + stabiliser at the end of the day.

  1. Always make sure the main switch is off before plugging in, wait until it is up and running before you put the main switch on

Portable GeneratorSounds daft but really make sure your generator’s main switch is off when starting and stopping, you could do more harm than good, destroying valuable appliances because of spikes in voltage.

  1. Do not operate in floods

portable_generatorIf you keep your generator in a flood risk area, the chances are it will never be of any use, a clean dry well ventilated area, look after your generator as you would look after your pets.

  1. Transfer switch; get a qualified electrician to install a switch for emergency backup power

713sAU64+JL._SL1200_Unless you have a background in engineering, preferably a degree in electrical installations, get your local qualified registered electrician to advise you.  Far better to risk his life than your own.

So to sum up, carbon monoxide detectors work better than canaries or budgerigars or hamsters.  They are designed especially to let you know if there is a risk before it is too late.

Think of your portable generator as your best friend or worst enemy, keep it close but not too close.  Maintain it, look after it and it will look after you when you need it most.