Homeowners across the United States have experienced widespread power outages this year due to extreme weather events—such as the Texas winter storm in February and the heat dome across the northwest this summer. A portable home generator is a valuable asset during a power outage, but improper use of a generator can lead to significant safety risks.
Read on for some key things to consider before using an at-home power generator.
Make sure you have the right size and fuel type.
Do you want a generator that can power your entire home? Or do you just need a few outlets to tide you over until the power comes back on?
Figure out what appliances you want to power and calculate the total running wattage of each device. Multiply this number by three to determine the “starting wattage” and then add the running wattage and starting wattage together. This will ensure that you have enough power to handle any surges that occur when the appliance turns on. It’s a good best practice to never exceed 90% of your generator’s maximum capacity.
You’ll also want to consider the type of fuel your generator requires. Do you prefer to use natural gas? Propane? Diesel? This could determine what brand or style of generator you need.
Always run your generator outdoors.
Just like your vehicle, power generators produce carbon monoxide while they run. Never use a generator indoors—and that goes for your garage, too! It’s also a good idea to install carbon monoxide detectors in your home to alert you in the event of an emergency.
Set your generator on a flat, dry surface away from your home’s air conditioner or air vents. Always use proper outdoor extension cords and make sure the outlets are GFCI protected to prevent shock.
Know what to do if there is an emergency.
Treat your power generator like a major appliance and be aware of the possible safety risks, such as electrical shock or fire. Never use water to put out an electrical fire—smother any flames with baking soda or a Class C fire extinguisher instead. Always ensure you have two clear paths to safety before attempting to put out a fire yourself and call 911 first!
Never backfeed your generator to your home.
“Backfeeding” refers to the practice of connecting your generator directly to your home’s electrical panel. This not only sends power to your home but also energizes the utility lines in your neighborhood which could shock utility workers who are attempting to restore power. Backfeeding also creates significant electrocution and fire hazard inside your home, which is why it is illegal.
At JDP Electric, we know how important it is to have a reliable source of power for your home or business. We also know how dangerous it can be when electricity is mishandled. That’s why we’re here to help with any questions or concerns you may have! For prompt, reliable, experienced electrical service—including electrical upgrades and generator installation—call 701-232-1991 today!