Portable generators are helpful in the event of a temporary power outage, but misuse can cause serious harm or death. To protect yourself, your neighbors and co-op line personnel, please follow these tips when using a back-up generator.
- Before you use your generator, thoroughly read and understand all of the manufacturer’s instructions.
- When a generator is not properly installed, it can ‘backfeed’ through the transformer and produce an output of 7,200 volts through the co-op’s distribution line. This could injure or kill you, your family, your neighbors or utility crews working on the line.
- Isolate your generator from the co-op’s power lines and connect appliances directly to the generator with the appropriate size grounded three conductor electrical cords. It is recommended that you also open the main breaker inside the breaker panel at your home.
- If you connect a generator directly through your home’s wiring, be sure a double-throw or transfer switch has been installed to separate it from the co-op’s system. The switch must be equal to the current rating of the electrical service in your home and not the rating of the generator. For instance, if the electrical service of your home is rated for 200 amps, the switch must be 200 amps.
- Never refuel a generator while it is operating.
- Provide adequate ventilation and air-cooling around the generator to prevent overheating and the accumulation of toxic exhaust fumes.
- Do not install a generator in a basement, attached garage or any closed area. The exhaust gases from the generator contain carbon monoxide, an invisible, odorless, poisonous gas.
- Maintain your generator engine according to the maintenance schedule for peak performance and safety. Regularly test your generator.
- Keep gas fresh. If you do not plan to use your generator for up to 30 days, use a gas stabilizer.
How to operate a generator safely