Portable Generator Safety

Portable generators can be a valuable tool during power outages or when you need electricity in remote areas. However, it is important to keep safety in mind when using them.

The exhaust from a generator, like from any combustion engine, is dangerous. A small generator puts out a hundred times more carbon monoxide than car exhaust, because it lacks emission controls for filtering exhaust fumes. Here are some tips to ensure the safe operation of portable generators:

  • Read the manual BEFORE installation: Familiarize yourself with the generator's operating instructions, safety precautions, and maintenance guidelines.
  • Place generators outside of the home during any use for proper ventilation. Never use a generator inside your home or garage.
  • Never connect a portable generator to your home’s electrical system unless you have a manual transfer switch (this must be installed by a professional).
  • Never run a generator closer than 20 feet from the doors and windows to prevent fumes from entering the home.
  • Only use a heavy-duty outside extension cord with amperage rated for your appliances. A tag on the cord shows its rating. Never exceed the noted amperage of the cord when powering your appliances.
  • Do not exceed the generator's wattage capacity. Calculate the power requirements of the connected appliances to avoid overloading the generator.
  • Start the generator before connecting appliances.
  • Never refuel a running generator. Any spills may ignite a fire.

By following these safety tips, you can minimize the risks associated with portable generator use and ensure a safe and reliable power source.