When used correctly, generators are a sound, short-term solution to a power outage. But if the proper precautions aren’t taken, generators can be deadly to the people using them and to linemen working to restore power.
STEPS TO SAFETY
Read your owner’s manual and follow the manufacturer’s instructions. It should cover general safety guidelines as well as procedures that apply specifically to your model.
Don't connect a generator directly to their home’s wiring. It can backfeed power into our distribution lines. Our transformers will step-up that energy, increasing it by thousands of volts. And that’s more than enough to injure or kill a lineman who’s working on that system, even if he’s a long way from your home.
The only safe way to connect a generator to your home’s existing wiring is to hire a licensed electrical contractor to install a double-throw transfer switch. The switch isolates your household, forming a break between the power coming from your generator and the utility’s distribution system.
Never plug a generator into a household outlet. That can also backfeed power into the distribution system, energize power lines and injure family members, neighbors or linemen.
Generators also produce carbon monoxide, a colorless, odorless and deadly gas. Never use your generator indoors or in an attached garage. Run it outdoors in a well-ventilated, dry area, far away from air intakes to your home.
Homeowners should plug individual appliances into portable generators using heavy-duty, outdoor-rated cords with a wire gauge suitable for the appliance load.
All the standard cord precautions apply. Don’t use extension cords with exposed wires or worn insulation. Make sure the cords don’t present a tripping hazard, and don’t run them under rugs where heat could build up and start a fire. Be selective with what you plug into your generator. Overloaded cords can cause fires and damage appliances.
You also need to make sure your generator is properly grounded.
Generators get very hot while they’re running. They can deliver a nasty burn. Remind kids and visitors to stay clear of them.
We require a transfer switch for any back-up or co-generation power source, including gas and diesel powered generators, solar photovoltaic arrays, and wind turbines. Consult an electrician to ensure the proper sized wire is used for the generator you’ve chosen. All transfer switches must be wired to follow National Electric Safety Code, as well as local codes