KIYC Consumer Alert: Generator Safety

Posted: Updated:
EDISON -

When bad weather hits and the power goes out, a portable generator can help, but only if it’s used properly. 

“The biggest mistake we see people make is they try to use them in their houses or inside their garages, perhaps with the garage door propped open,” said Paul Pope, the senior home editor for Consumer Reports. “Because they’re burning gasoline, they emit carbon monoxide, which is totally odorless and can be deadly in as little as a few hours.”

Hundreds of people die each year from carbon monoxide poisoning.

Pope shared the following tips on how to safely handle a portable generator:

  • Keep the generator at least 15 feet from your home.
  • Never use a generator inside your home or garage - even with doors and windows open.
  • Make sure you have carbon monoxide detectors in your house that can work even if the power is out.
  • Always let the generator cool down before refilling it with gasoline.

“The heat can actually cause spilled gasoline to ignite and cause a fire,” Pope said.

In order to power a furnace, stove or appliance with a generator, an electrician will need to install a transfer switch from a home’s main electrical panel.

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