Portable Generator Safety (Part 2)
Fire Hazards From Improper Refueling
Portable generators get hot; therefore heed this warning to the letter!
Before refueling your portable generator, always take these two steps:
1). Turn the unit off.
2). Let the unit cool down.
If you are not sure what the acceptable refueling temperature is, consult your user manual. Guessing at this
crucial task could be potentially dangerous in so many ways. There is no need to take chances.
DO NOT ever attempt to refuel a portable generator while it is running.
DO NOT ever refuel a portable generator moments after shutting down.
These devices remain hot for a long period of time and that heat mixed together with
gasoline or gasoline vapors could easily spark a fire. It may be inconvenient but always wait until the unit cools
down before you attempt to refuel. You may be a top-notch contractor pushing to meet a tight deadline and need your
generator to power your circular saw. I’ve been there; you’re tempted to ignore safety rules to get the job done,
DON’T DO IT! It’s not worth jeopardizing your physical well being, life or property.
Improper Set-Up and Installation
A portion of the portable generator related accidents arise from
improper set up and installation. Here is our list of do’s and don’ts to insure that your set-up and
installation won’t put you in harm’s way.
• DO NOT ever attempt to use your portable generator to power any house using a
practice known as, “back feeding.” This is when the output from a generator is plugged into a wall outlet. The
theoretical thought is; the generator will feed all of the other outlets in the house. This dangerous practice
usually bypasses the built-in household circuit protection devices and even worse, presents an electrocution
risk to utility workers and neighbors served by the same utility transformer.
We never advise anyone to connect a portable generator to house wiring unless it is done by a
qualified and licensed electrician in accordance with local electrical codes. Moreover, only use a portable
generator to power a house as a temporary solution in emergencies. If this is an ongoing scenario, a permanently
installed standby generator is better for your needs.
• DO Plug appliances directly into the generator. If you must use an electrical
cord, use a heavy duty, outdoor rated extension cord; one that is properly rated to handle the sum total of the
appliance load. Check the entire cord from end-to-end to confirm that the cord is free of frays, cuts or rips
and that the cord has all three prongs, particularly the grounding pin.
Treat portable generators with the same safety precautions as you would a normal power source.
Remember, most generators lack protection devices such as circuit breakers; therefore, they can be considerably
more harmful in the event that you happen to get electrocuted. To avoid shock or electrocution, make sure your
hands; body and feet are dry before touching a generator. Never attempt to connect any appliances while
Keep every connection clean and avoid tangling of cords, unnecessary and unsafe connections.
Never overload your generator with too many appliances or devices. Keep your generator dry as much as possible
and never use wet electric devices under any circumstances. Never let your
generator work in the rain. In rainy weather, use a canopy like structure for protection.
Always avoid these common portable generator and fuel storage hazards.
NOT ever store fuel for your generator in your
home. As a safety precaution, gasoline, diesel, propane, natural gas, kerosene and other flammable liquids should
always be stored away from living areas in properly labeled, non-glass safety containers.
• DO NOT ever place or store any fuel container near a generator or near any place
it could absorb heat. That means DO NOT store fuel containers near any fuel-burning appliance such
as a natural gas dryer or water heater. If the container is not sealed properly or fuel is spilled, it is
possible for vapors from the fuel to be ignited by the appliance’s pilot light or by arcs from electric switches
in the appliance.
Vibration Accidents and Noise
Some portable generators vibrate considerably, which causes them to shift and move. If they are sitting on a
tailgate of a truck bed or on any other surface where the potential of falling off exists, this is a clear safety
hazard and should be avoided. Always survey your location for this potential hazard. And remember, most many
manufacturers suggest wearing ear protection when working around certain portable generators, consult your owner's
Portable Generator Safety Page 1 |