How To Safely Operate A Portable Generator

Are you thinking about purchasing a portable generator? These devices are useful in a variety of situations. For instance, you might be planning a camping trip. A small, portable generator could be an ideal purchase to ensure that you can power a little oven, a mini microwave or just keep your tech functioning correctly. A larger portable generator is powerful enough to keep the lights, heating, and general electricity on in a typical sized RV.

Many people also buy portable generators because they are hoping to keep the power on in their property in the event of a power outage. With a portable generator, you simply power it up, and within minutes, you can supply power to your entire home.

There are a number of different types of portable generators, some are powered by gas, others can be charged from an AC outlet using chain batteries and advanced portable generators may be charged through solar panels.

Once you have decided to purchase a portable generator, it is of vital importance that you know how to operate and maintain it safely. There are a few key tips that you need to know to do this.

Wattage

Each portable generator that you purchase has a maximum wattage. This is the total number of watts that can be powered by the device at any given time. For instance, you might have a generator that provides 2500 maximum watts. This means that this is the total number of Watts that the generator will power. Although, it is important to be aware that this can be spread between different devices if there are a number of power outlets from the generator. So, if you are using your generator in your RV, you could use it to power the fridge and the air conditioning at the same time.

Before you use your generator, it is important to know what Wattage it can power as this will determine what appliances you can connect to it. As such, you should also know that the wattages of any appliances that you plan to use. If in doubt, consult an expert before connecting any appliance that you are unsure of to your portable generator. The wrong wattage could cause damage to your device and perhaps even electrical fires.

Test

You do need to make sure that you test your generator before you use it. Powering up a generator in the middle of the day in your driveway is completely different to trying to get it to work in the middle of the woods or during a blackout. As such, you’ll want to make sure that you complete a number of dry runs to guarantee that you know exactly how it works in the event of an emergency.

As well as testing the generator, it is important to power it up regularly. You should not leave it stagnant for extended periods of time. Instead, if you are using a gas generator, you need to make sure that you run it occasionally to make sure that the engine stays well lubricated. Once you have finished with the generator, do not store it away immediately. These devices can get very hot and may be a fire hazard if stored when power is still flowing through them.

One At A Time

It is crucial that you do not try and plug in all the appliances that you are attempting to power at once. Instead, put in each cable one at a time and you will be able to avoid overloading the circuits of your generator. Be aware that some generators do provide rubber covers for the outlets for added protection. As well as this, modern generators will often give a clear readout of exactly how many Watts the generator is powering.

Staying Safe Using A Gas Generator

If you are using a gas generator, it is crucial that this is operated outside, away from the home. Use an extension cord to connect the generator to any of your appliances in the event of a power outage but do not move it inside. The exhaust of these types of generators contains carbon monoxide. This gas is incredibly dangerous and can kill you within minutes. One of the reasons why it is so dangerous is because you can’t see it, taste it or even smell it. As such, you will have no idea whether you are exposing your family to this hazard.

If you are using a battery powered generator or a solar powered generator, this danger is not going to be present, and these can be used inside the home.

You should not even use a gas generator in a garage, basement or anywhere that you think isn’t going to be accessed by members of your family. The poisonous gas can linger for a number of hours, even after you have switched off the generator and it could easily seep through into the rest of your home.

Cover It Up

When your generator is not in use, do make sure that you keep it covered and well protected, stored in a cool, dry area. Again, it is important to make sure that the device has been left to cool down before storage but once it is off, you should not leave it in a place where it can suffer environmental damage. This could lead to your generator having issues functioning, or indeed, failing to operate at all on next use.

Never Plug A Generator Plugged Into Your Home

Finally, it is imperative that you do not plug your generator directly into the electrical system of your home. This could endanger anyone who is trying to restore the power to your home as the charge from the generator could feed back into the electrical system. A generator can only be connected directly like this if a double pole has been installed by a fully licensed electrician. Be aware that using your generator like this without the services of an electrician is not just dangerous but illegal.

We hope this helps you use your generator safely without trouble. Portable generators are great devices but only if you use them correctly.

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