Generator Safety

Standby GeneratorAn example of a standby generator

A generator is great to have when the power goes out, but generators must be used safely. Follow these basic safety tips to help protect you, your family, neighbors, and the JPEC employees working to restore power.
Improper installation of a generator can create back-feed on the electric system which means wires we thought were safe to work on are actually energized. A back-feed can be deadly for JPEC employees.

  • When you purchase a generator, read the owner's manual and contact a qualified, licensed electrician. A qualified electrician will connect a generator with a special transfer switch so it's not connected directly to your home's wiring. You should never connect a generator directly to your home wiring because it may result in a house fire.
  • Always use a generator in an open, well-ventilated area to avoid deadly carbon monoxide gas. Never use it indoors or in a partially enclosed space, such as a garage, basement, or porch. Keep the unit away from doors, windows, and vents that could allow the carbon monoxide gas to come indoors. A carbon monoxide alarm is always a good idea when you're using a generator because the gas is odorless, colorless, and tasteless.
  • Portable GeneratorAn example of a portable generator Connect the generator with a heavy-duty, outdoor-rated power cord. Replace any old or worn power cords.
  • Only use the generator to power essential equipment. While it's tempting to power all of your electronics, make sure you don't overload the generator with more appliances than it can handle. That can cause serious damage to your appliances and electronics.
  • Keep your family safe and keep children and pets away from the generator at all times.
  • Turn off the generator when you go to sleep or leave the house since it can be a fire hazard.
  • When the power comes back on, turn off all appliances and equipment powered by the generator before turning the generator off. Make sure the transfer switch has been put in the normal position and safely store your generator away.

For additional information regarding how to connect your generator safely, read Connecting Your Standby Generator Safely.

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