Home Generator Tips and Important Safety Guidelines
Whether you're thinking of buying or installing a backup power generator or you
already have on, there are a number of points that you need to think and know about:
- Know what critical elements in your home you’re trying to back up because that will
determine what size generator you need to buy.
- At the top of most people’s lists are refrigerators, freezers and well pumps. The
amount of gasoline a portable generator uses depends on how long it runs and its
size, but in general, it's smart to buy at least 5-10 gallons of gas to keep your
generator running for more than a day.
- Consider also buying a fuel stabilizer to put in the tank when the storm is over
to prevent the gasoline in the tank from breaking down and clogging the jets in
- If you store your portable generator outside, make sure it is covered.
- If you already have a portable generator but haven’t used it in a while, don’t wait
until any storm hits to find out if it will run. Top off the tank, check the oil
and test it if there's a storm a few days ahead in the weather forecast.
- If a generator doesn’t start, call a service contractor.
- Keep in mind that most portable generators under 5,000 watts use a pull cord to
start the engine. If this will tax you physically or is challenging for you, consider
a model with an electrical start.
- Permanent standby generations can be hooked up to your natural gas service or propane
tanks can be installed to provide fuel. The size of the generator and tanks, like
the portable units, depends on how many items you want to keep running and how long
it’s in operation.
Whole House Power Generators
- We recommend an onsite consultation for the installation of a permanent whole-house
unit. Have us come to your home, analyze the power load and we'll run through the
'wish list' of what you want to be able to operate when the power goes out.
- Installation requires a space big large enough to place the unit, which can be 5
feet by 3 feet and 2.5 feet tall, near the electrical service into the home.
- If the unit is propane-fuel, a typical generator has either one or two 100-gallon
tanks, another space consideration.
- If you have a whole house generator, it should be serviced once a year.
Generator Use Health & Safety Tips
Please take EXTREME caution when using your generators.
Some simple steps to prevent the loss of life and property resulting from improper
- Always use generators outdoors, away from doors, windows and vents.
- NEVER use generators in homes, garages, basements, crawl spaces, or other enclosed
or partially enclosed areas, even with ventilation.
- Follow manufacturer's instructions.
- Install battery-operated or plug-in (with battery backup) carbon monoxide (CO) alarms
in your home, following manufacturer's instructions.
- Test CO alarms often and replace batteries when needed.
- Keep the generator dry. Operate on a dry surface under an open, canopy-like structure.
- Dry your hands before touching the generator.
- Plug appliances directly into generator or use a heavy-duty outdoor- rated extension
cord. Make sure the entire extension cord is free of cuts or tears and the plug
has all 3 prongs, especially a grounding pin.
- NEVER plug the generator into a wall outlet. This practice, known as backfeeding,
can cause an electrocution risk to utility workers and others served by the same
- If necessary to connect generator to house wiring to power appliances, have a qualified
electrician install appropriate equipment. Or, your utility company may be able
to install an appropriate transfer switch.
- Before refueling the generator, turn it off and let it cool. Fuel spilled on hot
engine parts could ignite.
- Always store fuel outside of living areas in properly labeled, non-glass containers.
- Store fuel away from any fuel-burning appliance.