If you’re considering bringing home a generator to use as a backup power source in case a storm knocks out your electricity, you’ll need to know a few things first.
- It’s not safe to connect your generator directly into your home’s wiring. If you do that, the generator can “back-feed” electricity onto the power lines that come to your home. That power can make its way into lines that your utility’s crews think are “dead,” and can shock or even kill someone who touches the wires as they try to restore power to your home.
- Installing a generator is not a do-it-yourself job. Hire a licensed electrical contractor to install a switch that ensures your generator will not send electricity back onto a power line and injure someone on the other end.
- Plug only a few can’t-live-without-them appliances into your generator during a power outage. If you overload your generator by trying to draw more power than it is designed to produce, it can damage your valuable electronics and appliances.
- When you lose power, turn off your home’s main circuit breaker or pull the main fuse.
- Store your generator outside in a well-ventilated area, not in the home or in the garage. Like any other gasoline-powered device, a generator produces carbon monoxide, which is not safe for your family to breathe. Keep the generator dry.
- Use outdoor-rated, heavy-duty power cables with your generator. If you overload your cable, it can catch on fire.
- Turn your generator off and let it cool down before refueling it. If you spill gasoline on hot parts of the generator, it can ignite.