Ryobi generator outside a home


October 09, 2018

When the power’s knocked out for any reason, a backup generator can be a lifesaver. But generators can also pose serious dangers if operated improperly. Fortunately, it’s easy to stay safe by following a few generator safety guidelines:

  1. Always read your owner’s manual before operating your generator.
  2. Always run your generator outside with the exhaust directed away from openings to your home or nearby buildings. Keep your generator at least 20’ from any occupied building.
  3. Portable generators cannot be connected directly to a house to provide power without the use of a manual transfer switch. A generator that is directly connected to your home’s wiring can back-feed onto the power lines connected to your home and injure neighbors or utility workers. An electrician will need to install a transfer switch to wire the generator power to the household circuits you want to run.
  4. Generators need to be kept dry and should not be exposed to weather. Do not operate a portable generator in the rain or in standing water. Weather conditions can also damage exposed areas, especially electrical, and may cause the unit to be inoperable.
  5. Do not overload your generator. Follow the manufacturer’s directions for load capacity. Overloading can seriously damage your valuable appliances and electronics.


Editor's Note: This article orginally appeared on Built from Scratch on August 19, 2016. 

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