If you have a home generator or if you are thinking about purchasing one, certain safety measures should be followed. Safety is of paramount importance when using home generators. Our cooperative prefers that you do not connect your generator to your household electric service panel. The preferred method is to unplug your appliances from your home outlets and plug them directly into the generator outlets. However, some customers may prefer to install their generator system directly into the electric service panel. This option is much more expensive and can be much more dangerous. When a generator is wired directly into the panel, it can, unknowingly, be connected to the utility’s power line that normally feeds the house. When the generator is operating, it can back-feed onto the utility line and increase the voltage as it passes through the transformer. As a result, anyone working on the utility lines could receive a deadly electrical shock from your generator. Downed power lines could be re-energized and you could be held liable for injuries that may occur.
When power is restored to your property or when your utility company makes grounding connections, damaging back-feed can destroy your generator system.
Home Generator Tips
The following tips must be considered when using home generators:
- Always have a licensed electrician install a generator. Licensed electricians are required by law to follow electrical codes and safety practices as well as the manufacturer’s recommendations.
- The licensed electrician must insure, with the use of a two-way disconnect switch, that electricity from the generator will not flow back onto the connecting utility lines and pose no threat to the public or to linemen, who might be working on the line.
- Make sure your generator is properly sized to match the maximum load of your electrical needs.
- Always maintain the unit properly.
- Never attempt to repair an electric generator, only a qualified serviceman should perform repairs.
- Don’t remove or tamper with safety devices, they are there to protect you and your property.
- Many engine parts on generators are very hot during operation and severe burns may result if touched.
- When using a generator, be sure it is properly vented. It’s preferable to locate it outside so that dangerous carbon monoxide gas fumes are exhausted.
- Carefully store gasoline or other fuels in proper containers and locations. Fuel vapors may ignite if exposed to the heat or sparks created by a generator.
- Keep children away from generators at all times.