A power blackout is the least desired aspect while operating any industry, organizing important functions and running household activities. The best option to avoid this malfunction is to purchase a generator as a backup plan. It is equally important to know how to use a generator safely.
Important Points to be Noted to Increase Safety Measures:-
Know your Requirements
The first and foremost point to be considered while checking out the safety of a generator is to make sure and confirm that you have bought the suitable one for your needs. You need to carefully list out the requirements to be met so that it will be possible to purchase a generator with the appropriate capacity. For example, if the requirement is limited to running household appliances, a generator with a capacity less than 5000 watts would be sufficient. Likewise, if the purpose will also include pumping water or heating the house, the capacity will fall in around the range of 65000 watts.
An electrician can be consulted to get the correct detail and he can also help to choose the suitable model. It is also recommended that you calculate the total requirement using a wattage calculator. If you go RV camping often, Karen Lao from KrugerPower.com.au recommends getting a portable generator that can ensure uninterrupted power even during a holiday. If you are new to the concept of generators, you can get an idea about the different types, designs and best practices from any trustworthy online sites.
Find a Proper Storage Place
Carbon monoxide is produced while running a portable generator. Some other harmful gases are also likely to be released during the process. Hence, always make sure that the generator is not kept inside the house. It should be placed safely outdoors. All enclosed spaces should be avoided. It is not a good idea to use a generator in the basement or garage. The recommended distance is a minimum of 20 feet away from the open windows or doors of a building. Since the gases are colorless, they will not be noticed right away.
Symptoms of discomfort to look into in case someone inhales the harmful gases include
- General weakness
If any of the above are noticed, it is advisable to get medical help immediately. Severe cases can result in fatal conditions, so proper attention must be administrated at once. Also note that if the gas contains ethanol, this will ruin the fuel line. So care should be taken to drain off the excess gas before the generator is shut down.
Avoid Rain and Other Wet Conditions
Make sure not to ever operate the generator in a wet or rainy condition. This is one of the riskiest processes as the chances of electric shocks are too high. Electricity generated from the set when exposed to water can prove to be very fatal. It gets conducted rapidly and can cause severe damage to people as well as the property. So, ensure that the generator is stored in a dry, well-ventilated area. Take protective measures during the rainy season to avoid calamities. Make sure it is well protected from moisture also.
You should always remember not to plug in the generator set into a direct power source. If this happens, the power will run back into it from the main power source and will cause damage. This process is called back feeding and has been known to cause life-threatening calamities. It also interferes with the smooth operations of the generator set. It is advisable to use a transfer switch to ensure safety. Make sure the electrician checks the main source inlet and switchboards involved.
Storage of Fuel
The generator uses fuel to run smoothly. This cannot be stored in just any place. The fuel should be kept in a dry, moisture-free approved container. It should be kept far from inflammable materials and fire sources. Only a responsible person should be allowed to handle and it should be kept away from the reach of children. Pets are not to be permitted anywhere near the location of the generator. Always remember to turn off the power switch on the generator while refilling the fuel. The fuel valve should also be kept in the OFF position.
Take Care when Using the Outdoor Extension Cord
If it is necessary to use an outdoor extension cord, always use a rubber cord or other insulated protectors to avoid foot traffic. It is important to notify everyone that the extension cord is connected to the generator. Make sure it is located and spread out in an area with less or minimal foot traffic.
How to Install and Run the Generator Safely?
- Always follow the instructions that come along with the package from the manufacturer. Read the manual carefully and understand the procedures to be followed. If it feels to be complex, always make sure you call an electrician to install and run the generator initially.
- Maintain the required fuel level at all times. You should not have to run out to buy fuel during an emergency. Nor should the generator run out of fuel while it is operating.
- The oil level should always be kept under supervision. The instructions in the manufacturer’s manual will have the exact details of how long the machine can run on a given level of fuel and will also have accurate details of the oil level intended. Check all these guidelines and update them if necessary.
- Make sure the air filter is in good condition. There should not be any blockages in the pipelines. The filter should be kept clean and maintained regularly.
- Before switching on and after switching off the generator, check all the power inlets, fuel valve and electrical circuits involved. Do not leave the machine unattended while in use.
- Always let the generator cool off before the next use. This is necessary to prevent overworking the machine and ensure that it will be safer before the next use.
- Call up the service people regularly and do all the required checks as well as follow-ups. Ensure that the generator is always in perfect condition. There should not be any hindrance to the smooth functioning of the set. Regular service checks will take care of that aspect.
Remember that Safety comes first. So never be in a haste to turn on or operate the generator. Be safe and enjoy the day!