Many homeowners who, for various reasons, are prone to suffering power loss, use an option to protect themselves; home generators. Such generators are capable of temporarily supplying electrical power to run household appliances and utilities. Home generators come in two basic forms:
- Portable Generators – lower powered units that operate externally from a home’s wiring system.
- Standby Generators – high-power units that are attached directly to a home’s wiring system and which takes over automatically when utility power is interrupted
With standby generators, installation should be performed by a licensed electrician and installations should be inspected by authorized persons before initial use. Installations should include a proper transfer switch and local utilities should be notified that an installation has occurred. Transfer switches insure that electrical power is properly and safely switched from the generator to a utility supply when power is restored.
Portable generators have a host of procedures that should be adhered to, such as the following:
- generators should be located outside the home, in an area that provides proper ventilation and which shields the unit from moisture
- generators should NOT be located near window or doors since carbon monoxide exhaust could seep into a home
- care must be taken to prevent burns due to contact with hot generator parts
- generators should never be plugged into house outlets. This can cause back feeds which results in damaging wiring and endangering utility company personnel (backed power can be transmitted through power lines at fatal power levels)
- proper, exterior-rated cords should be the only kinds used with generators
- generator power should be matched with essential power needs (core appliances, heating/cooling) and not overloaded (which could damage the generator and powered appliances, etc)
- fuel for generators should be stored properly and refueling should take place ONLY after the generator has cooled after being turned off