Portable generators are often used for a backup power supply in the event of an emergency power outage. Improper use or installation of an electric generator can cause property damage, serious injury, or even death.
Please keep the following safety and installation guidelines in mind when installing or using a home generator.
When considering the purchase of a generator, it’s a good idea to have an electrician evaluate a home’s electrical system for proper grounding and polarity, and then install a generator transfer switch. The homeowner connects the generator to the transfer switch. From there, the generator’s power is fed into the service panel and to the dedicated circuits that have been specifically wired to be powered by the generator. The transfer switch also prevents electricity from feeding back into the electrical grid that powers your neighborhood. This protects utility workers from encountering unexpected current coming from your house – a dangerous condition known as backfeed. In addition, backfeed could severely overload the generator and damage the unit.
- Generators, disconnects, and transfer switches MUST be installed by a qualified electrical contractor.
- Do not attempt to install these devices to your electrical panel on your own. It is extremely dangerous.
- Check and follow national, state, and local fire and electric codes.
- Always make sure electricity is properly disconnected from your utility service before starting your backup generator.
- Many engine parts are hot during operation. Severe burns may result if touched.
- Never run a generator inside a building, especially in a building attached to a dwelling. This is against ALL fire and safety codes.
- Generators produce carbon monoxide (CO). Always ensure proper ventilation and airflow around the generator. Never operate a generator in an enclosed compartment.
- Never fuel the generator when it is running.
- Always have a fully-charged and approved fire extinguisher located near the generator.
- Never try to repair a generator. Only qualified service technicians should perform repairs.
- To prevent electrical shock, support the generator cords off the ground or relocated them, rather than allowing them to lie in puddles.
Likewise, replace any cords with damaged insulation.