Sign In to join the community | Help

12 Tips for Portable Generator Safety


Whether using a portable generator for emergency power or needing electricity in a remote location for camping or construction, safety should always be at the forefront.  These products provide the needed power but should be operated with respect.  Here are 10 tips for safe operation of a portable generator.


 1- Buy the right generator.



Compile a list of appliances or tools that be supplied power from the generator.  Each product will have a running wattage – which is the continuous need for power during operation – and a starting wattage – the extra watts needed to start the motor.  To ensure that your generator will be able to power your appliances and tools, add up the starting watts and purchase the generator with the required power.  The Wattage Worksheet shows how to calculate the power needed and provides a sample wattage chart.



2 – Stay level.



Operate generator only on stable and level surfaces.  Keep children and pets away from the generator while in operation.  Keep loose clothing away from drive belts, fans and other moving parts. Never remove any fan guard or shield while the unit is operating.



3 – Generators work hot and stay hot after use.



Generator parts get extremely hot during operation and can cause severe burns if touched.  Stay away from the unit until lit has cooled down before moving or refueling. 





4-Use the correct extension cord.



Use an extension cord with a 3-pole receptacle and a 3-prong plug at opposite ends to ensure continuity of the ground protection from the generator to the appliance or power tool.  During and after the use, inspect the cords for signs of broken or cracked insulation or damaged blades.  Do not use worn, bare or frayed electrical cords with a portable generator.



5 – Generators and water do not mix. 



Do NOT operate a portable generator in the rain or in standing water. Use a ground fault circuit interrupter in any damp or highly conductive area (such as on metal decking).



6 – Generators are loud.



Portable generators are generally not quiet when in operation. Be aware of the noise and move sensitive infants, children and pets to a quieter location if possible. 




7 – Be properly grounded.



A properly grounded generator reduces the risk of shock or electrocution. Follow the manufacturer recommendations for correct grounding technique.



8 – Proper start and stop is essential to safe operation. 



Start the engine and let it stabilize before connecting electrical loads. Always ensure that the appliances or power tools are in the OFF position before connecting to the portable generator.  Disconnect all electrical loads before shutting down the generator.



9 – Carbon monoxide is dangerous.



NEVER operate the portable generator in an enclosed area or indoors!  Partially enclosed areas such as opened garages and carports may not provide enough ventilation.  Operate the portable generator far from open windows, doors and vents.  Always use a battery operated carbon monoxide alarm indoors.  If you start to feel sick, dizzy, or weak after the portable generator has been operating, move to fresh air IMMEDIATELY and seek out appropriate medical attention.





10 – Gasoline safety is essential.



Gasoline is highly FLAMMABLE and its vapors are EXPLOSIVE.  Do not smoke or expose the gasoline to open flames, sparks or heat. NEVER add gasoline while unit is running or hot; allow the engine to cool down completely before adding fuel.  Do NOT overfill the fuel tank since you will need to allow room for fuel expansion.  NEVER fill the fuel tank indoors.



11 – Portable generators are heavy.



The weight of a portable generator can be several hundred pounds.   Use the lift handle to maneuver the generator.  In the event the portable generator must be lifted, use a two-person lift with care. 



12 - Regular maintenance and upkeep promotes long life.



Store the generator in a clean and dry environment away from dust, dirt, moisture, or corrosive vapors.  Keep the cooling air slots in the generator from becoming clogged with leaves.  Do NOT use a garden hose to clean the generator.  Drain the fuel from the tank and carburetor before storing.  Check and replace the air filter, fuel filter and spark plug as recommended by the manufacturer. 



13 – Read the operator manual!



This last tip is your first action item: read the manufacturer’s instructions!  Make sure you know where the manual is kept when the generator is not in use.   Remember to fill out the manufacturer warranty card, record the model and serial number of the generator and complete any extended protection plan requests.




Be safe!



Not what you were looking for ? Try posting a question
Posted 2014-11-16T21:11:51+0000  by Eileen_HD_ATL Eileen_HD_ATL