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Safety Tips for Portable Generators

Portable Generator Safety Tips

Before reading these tips, always read the Owner’s Manual and instructions for your generator. Carefully follow all instructions and warnings in order to safely start and operate the generator. Do NOT cut corners when it comes to safety.

These tips are merely supplemental and are not intended to substitute reading of the Owner’s Manual.

Carbon Monoxide and Ventilation

  • Using a generator indoors CAN KILL YOU IN MINUTES. Exhaust contains carbon monoxide, a deadly poison gas you cannot see or smell.
  • NEVER run a generator indoors or in partly enclosed areas such as garages.
  • ONLY use outdoors and far from windows, doors, vents, crawl spaces and in an area where adequate ventilation is available and will not accumulate deadly exhaust gas.
  • Using a fan or opening doors and windows will not provide sufficient ventilation.
  • It is recommended that you install battery operated Carbon Monoxide alarms/detectors indoors according to manufacturer’s instructions / recommendations.

Gasoline, Fueling and Burn Safety

  • Gasoline is extremely flammable and explosive.
  • If tank is over-filled, fuel can overflow onto a hot engine and cause fire or explosion.
  • Do not overfill the fuel tank. Always allow room for fuel expansion.
  • Never add fuel while unit is running or hot. Allow generator and engine to cool entirely before adding fuel.
  • Never store a generator with fuel in the tank where gasoline vapors might reach an open flame, spark or pilot light.
  • Do not smoke near fuel or generator.
  • Many generator parts are hot enough to burn you during operation and while the generator is cooling after turning off.  Avoid coming into contact with a hot generator.

Electrocution Hazard and Electrical Shock Hazards

  • Connecting a portable electric generator directly to your household wiring can be deadly to you and others.  A generator that is directly connected to your home's wiring can 'back feed' onto the power lines connected to your home and injure neighbors or utility workers.
  • Do not connect your generator directly to your home's wiring or into a regular household outlet.
  • Always start or stop the generator only when no electrical loads are connected.
  • Overloading your generator can seriously damage your valuable appliances and electronics.  Do not overload the generator.  Do not operate more appliances and equipment than the output rating of the generator. Prioritize your needs. A portable electric generator should be used only when necessary, and only to power essential equipment.
  • Use the proper power cords.  Plug individual appliances into the generator using heavy-duty, outdoor-rated cords with a wire gauge adequate for the appliance load. Overloaded cords can cause fires or equipment damage. Do not use extension cords with exposed wires or worn shielding.
  • Do not operate the generator in wet conditions such as rain or snow. 
  • The generator must be properly grounded. If the generator is not grounded, you run the risk of electrocution. We strongly recommend that you check and adhere to all applicable federal, state and local regulations relating to grounding.

Generator Placement and Operation

  • Keep children away from portable generators at all times.
  • Allow at least five feet of clearance on all sides of the generator when operating.
  • Generators can be used during a wide variety of weather temperatures, but should be protected from the elements when not in use to prevent shorting and rusting.
  • Operate the generator only on level surfaces and where it will not be exposed to excessive moisture, dirt, dust or corrosive vapors.
  • Inspect the generator regularly and contact the nearest authorized dealer for parts needing repair or replacement.
  • Always disconnect the spark plug wire and place the wire where it cannot contact the spark plug to prevent accidental starting when setting up, transporting, adjusting or making repairs to the generator.

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  • 4/24/2014 12:14 PM EST