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Generator Safety & Use

Never use a generator indoors.

A portable generator is an internal combustion engine that exhausts a deadly gas called carbon monoxide or CO. CO is odorless and colorless.

Be sure to place the generator outside where exhaust fumes will not enter into enclosed spaces. Only operate a generator outdoors in a well-ventilated, dry area, away from the home. The generator should be protected from direct exposure to rain.

Don’t connect your generator directly to your home’s wiring.

Connecting a portable electric generator directly to your household wiring can be deadly. A generator that is directly connected to your home’s wiring can ‘backfeed’ into the power lines connected to your home.

You could also cause expensive damage to EFL equipment, your home appliances, and your generator.

If you wish to hard-wire a generator to your home, it should be installed by a licensed electrician with an approved cut-off switch that will automatically disconnect the home from the EFL Mains when the generator is being used.

Don’t plug a portable generator into an electrical outlet in your home. If a generator is plugged into your home’s electrical circuits, it can still ‘backfeed’ power into the EFL lines, which can injure or kill EFL workers fixing the downed power lines.

The correct way to use a generator is to connect a heavy-duty, outdoor-rated power cord to the generator. Appliances can then be connected to the power cord, as long as they are in the wattage range that the generator can supply.

Make sure that the outdoor-rated power cord has a sufficient wire gauge to handle the electrical load.

 Don’t overload the generator.

All generators have a power rating. They should be used only when necessary and only to power a limited number of appliances or equipment.

The total wattage used by the appliances should be less than the output rating of the generator. If you put too many appliances on the generator, it could seriously damage the appliances and electronics. Overloading the generator could also cause fires in the power cord. If in doubt, don’t add that extra load to the generator.

Make sure your generator is properly grounded to avoid electrical shocks.

Check the generator owner’s manual for correct grounding information.

 Do not store fuel for the generator indoors.

Fuel should be stored in approved, non-glass safety containers.

Shut off the generator before refueling. Turn off all equipment powered by the generator before shutting it down.

Always have a fully charged, approved fire extinguisher located near the generator.

Read and adhere to the manufacturer’s directions for safe operation.

Read the owner’s manual before you operate the generator. If you’ve lost the manual, contact the manufacturer for another copy. You can often download the manual from a manufacturer’s Web site. Keep the owner’s manual with the generator in a zip-lock bag to keep it dry.

Final Tips

Many generator parts are hot enough to burn you during operation. Stay away from the muffler and other hot areas.

Keep children away from portable electric generators at all times.