Having a generator on hand in case of an extended power outage is a convenient way to maintain access to electricity, but they also pose serious safety risks if not used properly. Protect yourself and your family with these important tips:
- Consider your needs when purchasing a generator. Battery power stations, or electric generators, offer many of the same features as gas generators without as many potential safety hazards — and no exhaust or noise.
- Read the manufacturer’s safety and operating instructions before use. Follow the instructions for proper grounding carefully, and never plug the generator into a wall outlet.
- Carbon monoxide (CO) is a colorless, odorless, toxic gas present in generator exhaust. To prevent buildup and exposure to CO, never use a generator indoors or in enclosed spaces such as garages, crawl spaces, and basements. Ensure that outdoor placement allows proper ventilation to prevent buildup in occupied spaces.
- Exposure to generator exhaust can cause carbon monoxide poisoning. Install carbon monoxide alarms and check that they are functioning correctly before using your generator.
- Never leave the generator running while you are away, and check on it regularly while it’s running.
- Plug appliances directly into the generator or use grounded, three-pronged extension cords with an amperage rating that meets your intended use.
- Always allow the generator to cool down completely before you refuel, and never try to refuel while it is running.
Connecting to your home’s electrical circuits
Before installing a generator that connects to your home’s electric circuits, please read our requirements and call 888-554-4732 if a service modification or meter disconnect is needed. Be aware that it is a violation of electrical code to connect a generator without a UL-approved open-transition transfer switch.
If a generator is online when electrical service is restored, it can become a fire hazard. And, improperly installed generators can create hazardous conditions for PEC employees working to restore power or make repairs. A generator connected in parallel with PEC’s distribution network can produce a voltage that is potentially deadly to a lineworker making repairs down the line.