Can you get carbon monoxide poisoning from your generator? California’s Consumer Energy Center (CEC) reminds state and U.S. residents of the unforgiving truth: consumers do get carbon monoxide poisoning from using generators improperly, and some — including five people during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina — even die from it.
Even so, portable generating sets can be an appealing alternative as U.S. blackouts become increasingly likely. CNN reports that non-disaster related power outages in the U.S. spiked by 124% over the last 20 years. Residential generators preserve perishable foods, give Americans continued access to internet and TV news, and provide essential warmth or cooling in extreme weather conditions. By following critical safety tips, residents can reap all of the benefits of portable generating sets — without worrying about negative side effects. Here are some safety essentials for powering your home (or part of your home) with a generator:
- Keep portable generators outside
Never operate portable generators indoors, or in enclosed areas, such as a shed or a garage. Time reminds homeowners, “The general rule of thumb is to place it about 10 feet away from the home.” Keep generators in a well-ventilated area, and never operate generators near air-intakes or vents leading into homes, adds the CEC.
Another solution is purchasing a stationary, whole home generator. Whole home units, sometimes as large as commercial generators or industrial generators, output 10,000 watts (and sometimes more!). They are most suitable for large power drains, such as central air and heating.
- Never plug generators into household outlets
Plugging generators directly into home outlets often results in a phenomena called backfeed. When backfeed occurs, dangerous electrical currents surge back into your home — and often your neighborhood’s — powerlines. Backfeed can damage your appliances, your generator, and even threaten the lives of nearby utility workers. In order to run a portable generator safely, residents should plug it into power cords approved for outdoor use.
Generators grant consumers important control over their circumstances, especially in extreme weather conditions. Operate generators safely — and without worry — by keeping portable units an appropriate distance away from homes and plugging generators into heavy-duty power cords only. Check out this website for more.