Do you have a backup power plan when the electrical grid goes down? Generators are an excellent option for supplying you and your loved ones with power; however, these powerful machines can be deadly. Whether you’re new to using a generator or well-versed, keeping a few things in mind to operate them safely is vital.  

Kevin Cole, the senior associate engineer for Generac, said, “The single biggest thing you can do to run a generator safely is plan how to use your generator before you need it.” 

Generators can be portable or standby, the latter meaning that they are permanently hooked up to your property. Home standby generators immediately turn on once power is lost. Both generators have five parts: an internal combustion engine, alternator, starter, fuel tank, and outlets. 

Before you decide on a generator, consider the following: 

Electrical Load: Ensure the generator you choose can safely handle the power capacity you need and then some. If you lowball the power capacity, it will only power some electronics with insufficient voltage. Think of a utility “brown out,” which can damage many electronic devices. 

Transfer Switch: With portable generators comes a manual transfer switch, which connects by a thick, heavy-duty cable, or “genset cord,” plugged into an outdoor outlet. Transfer switches help to isolate circuits needing power, separates the house from the grid, prevent back-feeding electricity, and helps to avoid electrical fires. 

GFCI Safety: The National Electrical Code (NEC) demands that dual-voltage (120V and 240V) generators have Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) outlets. GFCI generators need a transfer switch, also required by the NEC. 

Correct Cord: If you don’t have a transfer switch installed, you can safely operate appliances while directly plugged into the generator. Refrigerators, power tools, televisions, etc., can run through long-distance extension cords. Make sure the line is thick and rated for exterior use. 

Ground Rod: If you plug a heavy-duty extension cord into the generator, do not connect the generator to a ground rod. However, ground rods should be used when powering circuits through a transfer switch. 

Location: Never, under any circumstances, operate a generator in a garage, utility building, basement, or shed. Even with open doors or windows, carbon monoxide can collect and become deadly. It has no scent and is virtually invisible to human detection. Always point a generator’s exhaust away from the house. 

State Electric Company is a leader in the electrification of the nation. Our highly educated and experienced team of professionals uses industry-leading software technology and has partnered with manufacturers to deliver affordable solutions for all your electrical needs. State Electric Co. is also an exclusive distributor for Enel X JuiceBox EV chargers for residential and commercial use. We are fully licensed, insured, and bonded to install charging stations for homes, offices, hotels, and more. With our extensive knowledge of renewable energy, our team provides customers – large or small – with efficient electrical solutions. Contact us today to learn how we can safely and affordably meet your energy needs. 

Written by the digital marketing team at Creative Programs & Systems: 

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