How to Use a Portable Generator Safely


Portable generators are a great way to generate your own power safely when the grid is down. How does a generator work? You don’t need to be an expert to use a generator safely. Construir a training centre for the use of all Greenlee Mexico and RIDGID brand products in Mexico. Accommodation and food are provided at no extra cost.

What is the Work of a Generator?

Before we get into the specifications and best practices of a home generator, let’s make sure to remember that portable generators do not replace home standby generators. These machines are permanently connected to your home. A portable generator requires more planning and is less automatic than a home standby generator.

Electrical Requirements

1) Size is important: Make sure the generator is the right size to meet the power requirements of the loads it will be running. This topic has been covered by us and many others. Under-sizing the generator can lead to the same problem as a utility “brownout” condition that has insufficient voltage. This can cause damage to anything from a large well pump to a small computer.

2) Use a Transfer Switch. The best way to use a portable generator to provide home power backup is to use it with a manual switch, which is a sturdy piece of electrical equipment. The generator is connected to the transfer switch by a thick, heavy-duty cable known as a “genset chord”, which is plugged into an exterior outlet receptacle (officially called a “power inlet box”). The transfer switch is connected to the outlet by a cable running inside the house. The generator generates electricity through the genset cable to the receptacle. It then runs through the interior cable to the transfer switch with its circuit breakers and to all the circuits that you need to power-safely.

3) Use a GFCI transfer switch on a GFCI generator: The National Electrical Code (NEC), requires GFCI outlets on dual voltage generators. These are those that produce 120 or 240 volts. A transfer switch must be designed for generators equipped with GFCI outlet receptacles. The NEC also requires this switch to be a three-pole or GFCI-compatible switch. This switch is used to separate the generator-supplied circuits and the 120-volt circuits provided by the utility. It also disconnects a third leg of that utility-supplied circuit called the neutral.

4) Use heavy-duty cords correctly: Let’s say you don’t have enough money to install a transfer switch. Plugging appliances directly into the generator will allow you to safely use them. The generator can be used to power appliances such as refrigerators, power tools, or computers. The cords must be strong and thick enough to withstand the current flowing through them. The packaging of the cord will indicate the electrical load it is rated to carry. The cords must be approved for outdoor use.

5) Know When and How to Use A Ground Rod. Don’t plug loads directly into the generator with extension cords. You can skip the ground rod if you connect a heavy-duty extension cable to the generator and then plug it into an appliance, power tool or other device.

Carbon Monoxide Safety

Generators, like most small-engine machines produce large quantities of carbon monoxide. We’ve said it before but it’s worth repeating: Never operate a generator inside a garage, shed, utility building or shed, even with the door open. Also, never place it in the basement or any other area where carbon monoxide could accumulate to the point that it can cause death.

Safety and Quality of Fuel

Do not refuel a hot generator. Also, do not refuel it near a heater or other heat source (such as a grill). Fuel containers should be kept away from the generator. The muffler of a generator can heat up enough to melt plastic. Imagine this: After the generator has been turned off, you put the gas can in front of it and wait for it to cool down. During the cooling process, the muffler heats up and melts the side of the gas can.