Generators that are installed improperly can cause deadly exhaust fumes, damage your generator and/or appliances, and backfeed electricity onto utility lines posing danger to line workers. The safest way to connect a portable generator to your existing wiring is to have a licensed electrician install a special transfer switch. The switch will ensure that electricity from the generator won’t backfeed onto utility electric lines causing serious injury or electrocution to a line worker.
BVES encourages the safe use of generators and requests that customers adhere to the following tips regarding safe generator use:
- Purchase a generator that is listed with Underwriter’s Laboratory &UL) or Factory Mutual (FM).
- Read the owner’s manual provided before using your generator.
- Never plug the generator(s) directly into a household outlet. This can energize “dead” power lines and pose harm to neighbors and/or utility workers.
- Always operate the generator outdoors. Never run a generator in a barn, shed or garage.
- Plug individual appliances directly into a portable generator using heavy-duty, outdoor rated cords with a wire gauge adequate for the appliance load.
- Turn off all equipment powered by the generator before shutting it down.
- Follow proper refueling practices. Always let the generator cool down before refueling and only use the type of fuel recommended by the manufacturer.
- Install carbon monoxide detectors in your home as they will warn you of any CO gas entering your home as a result of improper installation of the generator.
Your electrician or a dealer in generators should be able to assist you with properly sizing your generator and the type of transfer switch that will be most suitable for your needs.