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Backup Power Generator Safety Tips

Published by Luke Weiden

In the U.S., hurricanes cause the most weather-related power outages, but winter storms run a close second. Because winter storms are often accompanied by ice, snow, freezing temperatures, and dangerous driving conditions, the outages can last a lot longer.
At Deljo Heating & Cooling, serving as a heating contractor in Chicago since 1922, we know that a prolonged power outage may force you to use a portable power generator. While these can be life savers, they can also pose a serious safety threat, and here are some tips to keep you safe while using your unit.

Never run a generator indoors or in an enclosed space.

Indoor or enclosed spaces can trap dangerous levels of odorless, colorless carbon monoxide that can kill in as little as five minutes if the concentration of gas is high enough.
Always place the generator at least 20 feet from your house, with the exhaust turned away from doors and windows. Consider using battery-operated carbon monoxide detectors at the same time to provide an added layer of safety.

Protect the generator from rain, snow and puddles.

At hardware stores and home supply centers, you can buy tents that keep generators shielded but well ventilated. Also make sure the generator is placed on a dry surface where water cannot collect and form puddles under it.

Never attempt to backfeed your house.

Backfeeding means plugging the generator into a wall outlet. This dangerous practice creates an electrocution threat to utility workers and neighbors served by the same utility transformer. It also bypasses built-in, household circuit protection devices, creating the possibility of destroying your electronics or starting a fire.

Have a transfer switch installed.

This device connects the generator to your circuit panel, letting you power hardwired appliances without the use of extension cords.

Use heavy-duty extension cords.

It you don’t have a transfer switch, use only heavy-duty extension cords designed for outdoor use to plug appliances into the generator. Make sure the plug has all three prongs.

Store extra fuel safely and be careful when refueling.

Do not store extra gasoline inside the house or near sources of heat or flame. Wait until the generator has cooled before refueling it.
Hopefully, these tips will keep you safe while using a portable power generator. And remember, for the services of a BBB A+-rated heating contractor in Chicago, always call Deljo Heating & Cooling.