A power generators is a useful appliances that can prevent alot of inconveniences by keeping your home or business operating with your essential equipment running until power is restored, but unlike many modern appliances,power generators, such as gasoline, propane, or natural gas-powered generators, aren’t simply plug and play; they require an in-depth understanding of their functionality as well as your home’s power needs.
Never use a generator indoors to protect yourself and others from carbon monoxide poisoning. This is because running it in any enclosed area, like your home, garage, shed, or even a partially open area, can cause CO to build up. Additionally, opening doors and windows or using a fan will not negate the risks.
There are three main safety concerns when dealing with a generator; Carbon Monoxide (CO) emissions and the potential for CO poisoning, Electrical hazards and the potential for electric shocks/electrocution and Fire and explosion hazards, though It’s worth keeping in mind that with every engine-driven machine, there are dangers involved in the operation. This safety guide is designed to give you a quick overview of the main safety concerns when using a portable or standby power-generator and minimize the risks involved in using one. We have collected everything you need to know about generator safety and Highlighted some Tips on when you should never use it.
1. Never Use A Generator Indoors
Using a generator indoors COULD KILL YOU IN MERE MINUTES. Carbon monoxide (CO), a toxic gas that you cannot see or smell, is present in high concentrations in generator exhaust fumes. You are breathing CO if you can smell the generator exhaust. However, occasionally you can be breathing CO and poisoning yourself slowly even if you cannot smell the exhaust, and neither a fan nor open doors and windows can provide enough fresh air to neutralize the carbon monoxide poisoning.
The best place to use a generator is outdoors, away from open doors and windows, in a dry environment (to keep moisture out). Typically, a distance of 25 feet or more is considered safe.
2. Do Not Refuel While It Is Still Running
It’s important to wait until the generator is cool before adding fuel; a fire and an explosion could develop from adding fuel while the generator is running or even when it is off but still hot. Because gasoline and its vapours are highly combustible, even a tiny spray of fuel that lands on the hot exhaust or close to the spark plug will quickly cause a fire. So, before filling it up with fuel, always make sure the generator is off and has had a chance to cool down. Give the generator engine at least two minutes to cool down.
3. Never Operate Near Combustible Materials
Whether your generator is fuelled by gasoline, diesel, or gas, you should never keep it inside your house. Keep combustible fuels away from habitations, and make sure they are properly labelled and stored in safety containers. Keep your gasoline away from appliances that consume fuel, like your generator. Vapours will slowly escape and build up if your fuel is not adequately sealed. When it is turned on, this vapour can be ignited by a single spark.
4. Running it Outside, Exposed To The Elements
Never use a generator in damp conditions to prevent electrocution or damage to the inverter. The dangers arise when water enters into electrical outlets or panels, causing the structure to short circuit. Since generators produce strong voltage, they should only be used on level ground in an area that is dry and open or under a cover to be 100% safe (even though they technically work in rain, snow, or sleet). Also, before using a generator, be sure to properly dry your hands.
5. When It Is Connected Directly to the Service Panel (back feeding)
Never connect your generator to an outlet inside your house. This practice, known as “back feeding,” puts people at risk of electrocution and may ultimately result in an extremely dangerous electrical fire. The transformer that serves your home will be powered up by back-feeding power into the electrical system during an outage. The high voltage from this illegal practice might potentially hurt not only you but also your neighbours and any utility staff.
The best course of action is to have any generator’s manual transfer switch installed by a certified electrician. By flipping this switch, the home’s energy supply can alternate between the grid and a generator.
Learn more on Where to buy generator in Nigeria
6. Avoid Using A Generator On A Boat
We advise against utilizing a gasoline generator on a boat. Vapours could potentially accumulate in a boat’s hull as a result of a fuel spill or a leak brought on by the boat’s constant motion. Petrol vapours can be ignited and explode with the smallest spark, such as the flick of a light switch.
7. Don’t Run A Generator With Damaged Cords
Never operate your generator with wires or cords that are bare, frayed, worn out, or in any other way harmed. Electrocution incidents and even fire outbreaks may result from doing this. To ensure smooth operation, use a heavy-duty, outdoor-rated extension cord with an amp or watt rating greater than the sum of the connected appliances. Additionally, visually check to see if the cord is torn or cut, and make sure the earth pin and the other two plug pins are intact. Finally, always uncoil cords and arrange them in flat, open spaces because coiled cords can become quite hot.
Learn more on how to safely plug a generator into your house
What Size Generator Do You Need?
To find the right size generator for your house or place of business, just follow these simple steps.
- Add up the wattage and voltage needs of the electronics and appliances you will be using. (Look for a label with this information on the back and sides.)
- Add up the wattage of all the light bulbs you will want to use.
- Find the total amps you need by dividing watts by volts.
- Finally, choose a generator with more amps than you require because some machines require up to three times as much power to start up, and some lose efficiency over time. A stationary generator that is permanently installed is the ideal solution.
Generators are a terrific investment for keeping your most crucial items operational and can make everyone in your home more comfortable during power outages. As a result, it is essential for our own health and safety that we operate them in complete safety. We should be able to do that easily now that we have that knowledge.
In addition to knowing when we should never use our generators, it is crucial that we also abide by a few more safety precautions because accidents can still occur despite our best efforts.
- Always read and follow the instructions that come with your generator.
- Get yourself a CO alarm with battery backup for your home or workplace, test your CO alarm frequently, and change the batteries as required.
- Do not smoke while handling fuel.
- Ensure your generator is regularly serviced and maintained at least once a month.
- Finally, make sure you use a certified electrician to connect your generator to your home; contact us at GZ industrial supplies to get a certified electrician.