Keep these things in mind when using a portable generator.
- Make certain the generator is on an isolated circuit. If connected to your home's wiring, it could back-feed and create a life-threatening situation for linemen working on power lines.
- Read the manufacturer's instructions and learn how to operate and shut off your generator before you need to use it.
- Make sure the extension cord you use is in good shape and rated for a load greater than the total wattage of all connected appliances and other devices (125 x amps = watts).
- Keep the generator dry, and do not operate it indoors or in an enclosed or partially enclosed area such as a garage or porch. Generators quickly can produce high levels of deadly carbon monoxide gas.
- Keep children and pets away from the generator when it is running.
- Practice power management. For example, when the power is out for several hours or longer, use the generator to run the refrigerator every few hours so food won't spoil instead of just powering lights in your home all day long.
- Give your generator several breaks during the day. Most portable generators are not designed to run 24/7, so shut down your unit several times a day to let it cool down.
- Always switch the engine off and allow it to cool before adding fuel in a well ventilated area. Take care not to contaminate the fuel tank with dirt or water.
- Turn off the generator's circuit breaker before starting, so the load does not draw current until the generator is running smoothly. Turn off the breaker before stopping the generator.
- Test the ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) on the generator every time you fire up the engine.