Portable generators, when used properly, provide wide variety of uses that can make outside activities more enjoyable, outside events possible, and the powering of essential appliances during power outages a reality. Problems and trouble can occur, however, when these machines are operated in a reckless or careless manner.
Here are some of the mistakes made with portable generators that can result in inconvenience, danger or worse:
* Ignoring run times and fuel use – Portable generators can only run for so long on a tank of fuel. Neglecting to keep sufficient fuel on hand can necessitate heading out to buy fuel at exactly the time when it would be better to be inside next to the heater.
* Storing the generator in a location far away from where it will need to be located to power essential appliances, medical devices, and electronics – Portable generators can be awkward to move, especially over uneven terrain in inclement weather.
* Moving the generator into the garage to keep it dry and running it there – The noxious emissions, such as carbon monoxide, from an internal combustion engine can be deadly when allowed to accumulate. Running a generator in a garage will do just that.
* Running the generator near doors, windows or vents that lead into the house – Carbon monoxide has no scent and is virtually undetectable without sensors. Allowing theses gases to seep into the home can have disastrous results.
* Plugging the portable generator directly into the home’s electrical system – This shortcut may seem convenient but can turn deadly once power from the grid resumes. As the main power source to the home comes back on, the electricity coming from the portable generator “backfeeds” into the electrical lines and can electrocute workers who aren’t expecting a surge coming from the residence.
* Neglecting to perform regular maintenance on the generator – Like all engines, portable generators will require regular maintenance, especially if it sits idle for extended periods of time. A poorly maintained generator will perform poorly at best and possibly won’t perform at all.
Avoiding these mistakes can result in many years of safe power generation for a variety of uses. One of the best sources for information in this area is the users’ manual, which may not make for the most exciting reading but it can eliminate the inconvenience and danger of operating these machines improperly.