Quick Guide to Portable Generators and Safety

electric generators

Portable generators are a smart investment. They are very useful in an emergency, and provide an efficient alternate source of power. They can even be the main source of power if necessary. Here’s a quick guide on portable generators, including the situations they can come in handy and also  safety tips.

Electric generator

• Selection

Most portable generators can power your lights, fridge, TV, computer, and microwave without too much trouble. However, some of them are less powerful and may not be suitable if you are going to be placing a heavy load on them, or if you need to run medical equipment.

The three most important factors to consider when buying a portable generator are the constant wattage rating, the start-up wattage rating, and the voltage rating. Your appliances need a certain constant amount of wattage to run. If you add this wattage together, you get the approximate constant wattage rating. Choose a generator that can support this wattage.

Also, most appliances will need a lot more wattage when they start up before they stabilize. This is the start-up wattage, so choose a generator that can support the overload. Also, some appliances run on 120V, while others need 240V. Choose your generator accordingly.

• Placement

Portable generators can never be used indoors or in the garage. They are a major safety hazard if you ever place them inside your home as they emit lethal amounts of carbon monoxide. Carbon monoxide is odorless, so you won’t realize it’s there until it’s too late.

Portable generators can be placed outside without a problem as long as it’s dry and protected from sunlight and heat. They do make quite a bit of noise when they run, but the law is on your side (at least until 10 pm), so don’t worry too much about the noise. However, you might consider not placing the generator in close proximity to a bedroom window, since the noise could disrupt your sleep.

Portable generators can be taken with you on a trip, if you’re going by car to a remote unconnected location or to an area with regular power outages.

• Safety Guide

It’s recommended that you get an electrician to help you wire the portable generator. Make sure that the electrician you hire is licensed and bonded, as people can get injured because of improper installation. Ask for installation of a transfer switch. The automatic transfer switch prevents the generator from pushing power into utility lines, which saves you from electrocution. Ensure that your electrician knows what a “proper sequence” is and follows it.

Your generator should never be operated in rain or snow and it shouldn’t be exposed when it runs. Never add gasoline to it when it is running. Shut it down, let it cool, and then refill it. Always use fresh gasoline and consider investing in a gasoline stabilizer. Do not overfill the tank, and never smoke near it, as this can cause an explosion. It’s a prudent idea to perform regular repair and maintenance on your generator. You can hire someone for this purpose or do it yourself.


Do you have any portable generators safety tips? Do share your views in the comment section, we’ll be glad to hear from you.

Posted on: February 24, 2019, by :

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