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10 Precautions You Should Always Take With Your Generator To Avoid Health Hazards

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Generators are good to have around in case of a power outage or an emergency. However, with flammable fuel, electrical current and carbon monoxide emissions, running one can pose risks if they're not used properly.

If you’re unfamiliar with using a generator, you or someone you know might have unintentionally used it in an unsafe way. In this article, we'll be taking a look at some things you should do to avoid health hazards if you own a generator.

1) Never run a generator in an enclosed space or indoors

Generator exhausts contain carbon monoxide and other dangerous gases, so proper ventilation is important for the safety of everyone in your building. Carbon monoxide is a silent killer that can strike when you run any generator inside without adequate ventilation. It has no smell and is heavier than air, slowly filling the room until the people inside suffocate.

So, ensure you run your generators outside or in a designated generator room with an open window or door and a carbon monoxide monitor. There should be at least 20 feet of space between the generator and any nearby doors, windows, and vents. This will help prevent dangerous exhaust fumes from entering your building. Image credit:

2) Avoid refueling while the generator is running

You should take extra care when it comes to refueling your generator. Once the generator is running, the fuel could overflow onto a hot engine and cause a fire hazard. Shut the generator down and let it cool down before you refuel it. When refueling as well, always keep in mind that the fuel will expand, so you shouldn’t fill the tank all the way up.

3) Avoid smoking around generators

Smoking around generators can lead to a fire, or a potentially fatal explosion. If you’ve spilled fuel on yourself while refilling the tank of a generator as well, avoid smoking until you’ve changed and cleaned up.

4) Ensure regular testing & maintenance

Nothing is worse than finding out that your wiring is incorrect, your fuel has gone stale or the generator is seized during an emergency. To ensure the generator isn’t seized when you need it most, make sure you service it regularly and follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for oil changes and routinely run the generator.

5) Avoid using a bad extension cord

Generators can create enough electricity to kill people, so ensure the electrical cords you use are in good shape and has a power rating that can accommodate the total load from the appliances and devices you’ll power. Image credit:

6) Store your extra fuel properly

Of course, if you have a generator, you will want to keep a stock of fuel handy for emergency situations. However, just make sure that you store your fuel in properly sealed containers outside your home and far away from your generator, water heater, and other heat sources that could cause the fuel to accidentally ignite inside your building.

7) Take proper weather precautions

Don’t use your generator in wet conditions. If it’s raining, place some sort of canopy above the generator to protect it from moisture.

8) Allow only authorized persons to operate your generator

Due to the risks that a generator presents, make sure that you allow only authorized repairers and mature adults, to handle the generator. Additionally, a running generator can get hot enough to burn anyone who touches it, so you should avoid touching them, and keep children and pets from coming into direct contact with one until it has cooled down.

9) Operate it properly

Understanding how to operate your generator is essential in ensuring the safety of everyone in your building. You should read and follow the manufacturer’s instructions before using the generator. Never connect the unit to a wall outlet. You should also never exceed the maximum power load your generator can handle, or you’ll risk overheating the unit, which can cause it to shutdown and possibly cause irreparable damage.

10) Make sure your generator is well-grounded

Place your generator on a levelled surface, especially if yours comes with wheels. This will ensure that the generator does not move from its spot due to the vibrations caused when it’s powered on. If you fear that the generator will slide out of place during use, place wedges against its wheels or lock down its wheel with a locking mechanism.

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Thanks for reading.

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