Three Safety Strategies for Using a Portable Generator

We’re going to wrap up with a few words about something many of us use, every summer – and that is? The portable generator.
Sure, the summer heat generates thunderstorms, they sweep through your area. The lights start to flicker. And then – the power goes out. Happens all the time.
Some folks just wait it out. But others head straight to the garage, and crank up their portable generator. I know I do.

And every time I fire up that generator – I think about safety. I bet you do too. It’s really important. Because every year hundreds of people die, in accidents involving their portable generator.
So let’s leave you with a checklist. Three things to watch for…every time, you crank up that little generator.
Number one.
Put it outside. Yep. Outside. The exhaust from a Generator is just like a car exhaust. It’s carbon monoxide and it can kill you! But even so, you would be amazed at how many people start up their generator inside. Never do that. Never in your garage. Never in an enclosed porch. Nope. Outside.
And when you do – put it away from your house. Not right next to the door, or windows where the fumes can come in. And if you snake the extension cords from the generator through a window? Shut that window – and duct tape the gap where the cord comes through. And the gap where the upper and lower windows meet. Don’t let one single puff of that exhaust inside.
OK. Number two.
-If you’ve lost power in thunderstorm, it might still be raining when you start the generator. Try to keep the rain off it.
The reason is simple. You have a generator putting out 120 volts – and it’s wet. Make sense? You can get shocked if you go plugging the cords into the generator when it’s wet. So please – don’t.
Anything can help – even a card table. Now this is tricky, because you want to keep it as dry as possible, while still letting all the exhaust fuels drift away from the house.
Along those lines, if you do a long run with your extension cords, try to use just one, instead of multiple extension. That way the whole path from the generator to the house will be safe from the rain.
OK and finally. If you have a portable generator – just run heavy duty extension cords to the things you want to power. Your fridge. Your TV. Your lamps. Plug those directly into the extension – or a power strip, with a surge protector in it.
But you never want to plus the extension cord directly into the power grid of your house….because if there’s a power crew out there working to restore the electricity, the power from your generator could go down the line and electrocute them!
So don’t directly connect the generator to your home’s electrical system – unless, you’ve installed a transfer switch. That cuts off the power to the outside world, and soon as you turn on your generator.
So there you are. Three Safety strategies for using a portable generator…

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