Storm season is officially here, and as we learned last hurricane season, we could see extended power outages should a major storm hit our area. Many members have purchased generators for stand-by power which are very useful and convenient during those extended outages.
However, if these generators are used improperly, it can be a hazard to you, your home and those working to restore your power. Electrocution, fire and carbon monoxide poisoning are all potential hazards associated with the use of a generator. Back-feeding is also another very dangerous condition caused when a portable generator is not connected properly. Back-feed is a dangerous electric current that can electrocute or critically injure you or others. During an outage back-feed into power lines could create an energized power line. Linemen who expect this line to be de-energized could be severely injured. One good way to avoid back-feeding is to install a double-pole, double-throw transfer switch. A qualified electrical contractor can install this transfer switch so that a dangerous situation can be avoided.
Here are some additional safety tips that will help keep you and your family safe from carbon monoxide poisoning, electric shock, fires and property damage.
1. Never connect a generator directly to your home’s wiring without an appropriate transfer/disconnect switch installed. This can cause back-feeding along power lines and electrocute anyone coming in contact with them, including line workers making repairs.
2. Never plug a generator into a regular household outlet.
3. Never operate the generator in enclosed spaces. Use carbon monoxide detectors in nearby enclosed spaces to monitor levels, as generators can produce high levels of carbon monoxide very quickly. This can be deadly.
4. Use heavy-duty, outdoor-rated extension cords. Make sure extension cords are free of cuts or tears and the plug has all three prongs.
5. Ensure your generator is properly grounded.
6. Never overload a generator.
7. Turn off all equipment powered by the generator before shutting the generator down and make sure it is off before restarting.
8. Keep the generator dry.
9. Always have a fully charged fire extinguisher nearby.
10. Never fuel a generator while it is operating.
11. Read and adhere to the manufacturer’s instructions for safe operation.
Play it safe! Contact West Florida Electric Cooperative for more information about how to ensure your portable generator is an asset, not an endangerment.
Connecting a generator directly to your home's wiring can cause back-feeding along the powerlines & electrocute anyone coming in contact with them.