Portable generators play an important role for many homeowners who don’t want to suffer through power losses when a big storm comes racing up the East Coast. But before you start plugging in your appliances and powering up your generator, it’s important to follow a few portable generator safety tips to prevent serious accidents and injuries:

Top Tips for Portable Generator Safety

  1. Read the owner’s manual. Even if you’ve owned a generator in the past, you need to read the manual carefully before operating your unit to make sure you understand all the features, including important safety features, so you can avoid potential accidents.
  2. Never operate the generator indoors – not even in a garage. Portable generators can emit carbon monoxide and other harmful fumes that can cause unconsciousness and even death. Only operate the generator outside where plenty of air can circulate.
  3. Check the power cord. Make sure the cord is properly plugged in, and if you’re using an extension cord, make sure it’s a heavy-duty cord designed for generator use. Also check the cord for any sign of damage and be sure it isn’t kinked or pinched. Only use a cord and outlet that are properly grounded.
  4. Keep the generator away from any flammable liquids or substances to avoid potential fire hazards. Even a tiny spark can be more than enough to trigger a deadly fire. Store gasoline and other fuels, as well as paints, pain thinners and solvents away from the generator.
  5. Be sure the generator isn’t too close to wood or flammable structures while in operation, and also be sure to clear away any branches, brush, paper products, boxes or other debris that could catch fire.
  6. Make sure your generator is properly serviced and maintained. Your owner’s manual will provide complete instructions for the proper way to care for your generator, including how to store it when not in use, how to check and replace fluids, and how to check other components for signs of wear and tear. If your generator hasn’t been used for some time, check the fluids and components prior to starting it up, and consider running it every so often during future periods of storage to keep it lubricated. You may also want to consider using a fuel stabilizer during long periods of non-use, and always protect your unit with a cover once it’s completely cooled down after operation.
  7. Never repair or service your generator while it’s running or immediately following operation while it’s still hot. Generator components can become extremely hot, which can lead to serious burns if the unit is handled while it’s operating or immediately afterward. Wait until the unit is completely cool and always unplug it before servicing or repairing it.

During calm weather when all the electricity in your home is humming with power, it’s easy to think of a power outage as “no big deal.” But when you’re in the middle of a power outage, it’s a completely different story – suddenly, you realize just how much we all depend on electricity during the course of daily living – not just to watch a favorite TV show, but to keep food from spoiling, to run water and sump pumps and provide sanitation, to stay cool or warm, and to facilitate communication through phones, cell phones and computers. Suddenly, “just a day without electricity” takes on bigger proportions, and when faced with multiple days without power, the consequences can take a major toll on everyday living.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, in 2012 and 2013, about 680 power outages occurred which each affected more than 50,000 people, in addition to many more smaller outages. During these major events, millions of homes were affected, often for several days at a time, resulting in billions of dollars of associated losses. And for any New Jersey native, it doesn’t take a long memory to recall the devastation left by Hurricane Sandy.

Of course, having a home backup power generator is one of the most effective ways to avoid being without power during the six-month-long hurricane season, and today’s generators are more efficient and more cost-effective than ever before. Still, if you’ve been on the fence about whether or not to purchase a standby generator for your home, here’s a list of some of the benefits you might want to consider before the 2016 hurricane season kicks in this spring:

  • The most obvious reason: You can continue to enjoy your life largely uninterrupted. Standby generators are hooked directly into your home’s power system, and they’re designed to kick in whenever there’s an outage so your appliances and electronics can keep working without a hitch.
  • Having ready power means your sump pump will be able to function, helping to ensure your home doesn’t become flooded during a hurricane or other major storm event.
  • You don’t have to worry about food losses or sanitation issues. Your water filtration or pumping system will continue to work without interruption, and you won’t have to scramble to find ice or coolers or hit the stores with the thousands of other people whose refrigerators have just shut down.
  • You won’t lose your cool. Anyone who’s ever experienced a New Jersey summer day without air conditioning knows how unbearable temperatures and humidity can become – and spending days without air conditioning can be a real health danger for the elderly and those with chronic health issues like asthma, heart disease and COPD. Standby backup power generators keep your HVAC system up and running so you don’t have to worry about increased medical risks.
  • Standby generators provide peace of mind. Unlike portable generators that require set up with each storm – often during the middle of the storm – a standby generator is always on call, powering on when you need it so you can relax, knowing your home and your loved ones are safe and secure.

If you’d like to learn more about home generators and how simple it can be to make sure your home has the backup power it needs during hurricane season and beyond, we can help. Call us at (215) 355-6189 and we can help you determine the best fit for your needs, so you can enjoy a safer 2016.




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