How To Properly Use a Generator in the Event of an Outage



If a power outage occurs that last no more than several hours, it’s manageable. A couple of flash lights, maybe some candles and a little waiting is all that is required. No backup residential generators are needed. However, electric generators may be a good idea when a black out occurs that lasts for several days. A lot of things can happen without electricity during a black out. Food goes bad, water sits and causes mold and flooding and damage, no heat or cooling can cause disruptions in the family’s life, just to name a few. Having residential generators installed for times like that are not only a good idea but are quite necessary. Businesses and companies could also benefit from commercial generators and still be able to keep their doors open. There are various types of electric generators that are available and understand how electric generators work is important if you are going to be looking at residential generators. Here is a little more information.

Type and Sizing
This is an important factor when looking into residential generators but it can also be a big challenge. You should have a professional come out and check the square footage of the home as well as find out what appliances, devices and other systems you have in the home. Anything that would be connected to the generator needs to be looked out. This will give the expert a better idea of what size generator will be needed in your home. An electrician is the best person to call in order to look at your home because they will understand the connections needed and the type of power and the amount that you will need to power your home in the event of a power outage. This will also help to determine what type of generator would benefit you most. There are several options but the size of your home and the types of appliances that will be powered by it make a difference.

If you get a generator then you should know how to maintain it. First of all, the generator will need to be professional serviced at least twice a year. Even if you haven’t used the generator and sometimes especially if you haven’t used it. The best time to get it serviced will be during times of the year that typically do not have severe weather. Don’t schedule services during heat waves, monsoon seasons, cold snaps, stormy times, etc. Spring and fall are usually the most even tempered times of year so those seasons are best for servicing your generator. Don’t procrastinate on maintenance. The worst thing would be if you didn’t get the generator serviced and when it came time to use it, it didn’t work. Then you are stuck with no power and no one to blame but yourself. The average service takes only about an hour to get through so there’s really no excuse for putting it off.

There are several factors involved in the safety side of using a generator. The main hazards to look out for are:

  1. Carbon monoxide possibilities that are emitted from the exhaust
  2. Electric shock or electrocution
  3. Fire

Make sure to follow the directions that come with the generator and don’t try to skip any corners and do anything different. The results of doing so can be fatal.

  1. CO Poisoning
    Never use a portable generator inside. The reason is because of the CO build up. CO can not be smelled or seen which is what makes it so dangerous. The first time you notice it you’ll already be feeling sick or weak or dizzy. Place the generator away from the house in case you have to open windows during an outage.

  2. Electrocution
    Make sure that the generator is kept dry at all times. It needs to be placed on a surface that will stay dry, preferably elevated and underneath a canopy or tarp or a covering of some sort. Never touch the generator if your hands are wet or if you are standing in water.

  3. Fire
    Make sure that when the generator is turned off, it is allowed to cool down before you try refueling it. If you spill any gasoline on the hot parts of the engine, it could easily ignite and cause a fire.