Generator Safety Tips For Carbon Monoxide, Electrocution, And Fires

In this safety guide, you will learn Generator Safety Tips for electrocutions, fires, and carbon monoxide. We have also covered where to place the generator and how to store the fuel properly.

At least 22 people were found dead due to carbon monoxide poisoning in Murree, Pakistan on January 8, 2022, when roads were blocked during a snowstorm.

From 2005 to 2017, more than 900 people died due to carbon monoxide using a portable generator according to consumer reports.

A generator is a valuable piece of equipment that comes in handy during prolonged power outages in most of the world, but it is easy to overlook safety measures since we rarely rely on a generator.

If you don’t know how to properly use a generator, it can be dangerous.

So we will help you to understand all the potential hazards that come with using a generator, and proper generator safety tips.

Generator Safety Tips

Generator Safety Tips

Proper Ventilation For Carbon Monoxide

  • Carbon monoxide is a deadly, colorless, poisonous, and odorless gas that can kill you in minutes.
  • Never use a generator indoors or in partly enclosed areas where there is no proper ventilation. Doors and windows are not enough for ventilation.
  • Use the generator outdoors at least 20 feet away from the people, windows, crawl spaces, and vents.
  • Many portable inverter generators come with CO-MINDER sensors (a guide to bypass a CO sensor) to sense a greater concentration of CO which causes the automatic shutdown of the generator. If you don’t have a smart generator, then install a battery-operated CO alarm.

Generator Safety Tips For Burns, Gasoline, And Other Fuel

  • Gasoline is an extremely volatile, explosive, and flammable fuel. Don’t refuel your generator when it is running.
  • Turn it off and let it cool for a minute. Spillage of gasoline over hot engine parts can cause a fire.
  • Don’t fill up the generator tank. Leaves some room.
  • If you are planning on storing your generator, drain all the gasoline because the vapors can evaporate and reach some sort of ignition like open flames, spark, or pilot light.
  • If you are not draining the fuel, tightly close the fuel and lock it (many generators have this feature) to seal the vapors inside.

Generator Safety Tips For Portable And Whole-House Generators

  • Keep the generator on a dry surface and run in a dry space. Don’t use it in rainy conditions and avoid placing it on a wooden platform. The vibrations may damage the wood beneath it.
  • Switch the power coming to your home before using the generator. The back-feeding of power could be sent into the utility company lines or neighboring buildings, creating a dangerous situation for the people.
  • Grounding is extremely important to prevent shocks and electrocutions. Make sure it is properly grounded.
  •  If you plug equipment directly into the generator, use heavy-duty extension cords that can handle the load.
  • Don’t plug the generator into a wall outlet. Only licensed professionals should hook up the generator to a breaker box or main control panel if you are not tech-savvy. An electrician will install a transfer switch so can your home’s power from the utility system.
  • Don’t overload the generator. If your generator is rated at 3600 running watts and 4000 peak watts, don’t use all those watts. Leave some room. Otherwise, the generator will overload will cause internal friction which leads to a lesser lifespan. Not all brands like HONDA or Champion power offer premium quality generators that can be pushed to the limit.

Proper Maintenance Of The Generator

Check the tank, pipes, and valve regularly for leakages. Regularly change the oil and spark plugs too if you want to ensure a longer lifespan.

I have seen many people being clumsy when it comes to changing the oil and spark plugs. That doesn’t only cause damage to the generator but its power output significantly decreases.

Using old oil can cause internal friction, the engine parts will get extremely hot and it might permanently damage the generator.

Pro tip:

For camping, RV, tailgating, and generator outdoor activities, people buy portable inverter generators because they are cheaper, efficient, reliable, and convenient for outdoor usages.

Like all of you, I also used to pick up my small portable generator to put it in the back of the truck.

Now the problem is, I wasn’t bending properly by going all the way down and lifting the generator using the power of my legs. Instead, I used my back to lift the generator. I know all of you recognize this bad posture that I am talking about.

It caused disc bulging and sciatica. I have seen many people suffering from disc bulging and sciatica just by wrongly picking heavy objects.

So whenever you lift your portable generator, make sure to go all the way down before you lift it.

I am a passionate environment engineer, who has been in the solar, and inverter generator industry for years. I have been a part of multiple safety and environment-related courses such as IOSH, Fire Safety, Solid Waste Management, etc. I have been installing solar plants for residential purposes since 2018.

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