There are a few key things you need to consider when using a portable generator. They include operation procedures, maintenance routines, and safety. Safety is a particularly crucial aspect of the use because it is necessary at all stages of use. Just like other machines, portable generators have a set of safety rules that you need to abide by if you want to have a smooth operation process. Many of the rules are rather straightforward and should not be an issue to anyone. You only need to be on the lookout for the subtle risks that portable generators present.
Protection from Carbon Monoxide
Carbon monoxide is a lethal gas emitted from burning fossil fuels. This gas is indeed the main threat to human life when it comes to generator use. In order to protect yourself from this killer, you need to put in place proper safeguards when using a generator. Installing gas detectors in the house and ensuring constant air supply within the house can go a long way in keeping you out of risk. Carbon monoxide is the main killer especially in the extremely cold seasons when generators become necessary implements in the house. Generators should always be kept outside the house where they do not pose any risks to human life.
Safety When Handling Fuel
The second most dangerous aspect of a generator is the fuel used to run the machine. Fuel is an essential resource that allows the generator to produce power. Fuel can be dangerous mainly because it is inflammable. For this reason, safety precautions are necessary when refueling and running a generator. You need to have firefighting equipment nearby every time you are running a generator. In addition, you need to avoid performing a refuel when the generator is running because you can risk explosion. Fuel should also be stored far away from a running generator. A good refuel should leave no spills on or around the generator. Keeping at bay all possible sources of fire is ultimately the best measure when it comes to generator fuel safety.
Safety Considerations with the Electrical Supply
The electrical system is an essential part of the generator that controls the supply of power from the source to where the power is used. Cords are the main means of transmitting this electrical power. Safety considerations need to address the issue of possible power leaks along the transmission line. When buying a cord, you need to factor in the characteristics of your environment.
A good electrical cord should be able to withstand the atmospheric and environmental conditions of your surroundings. A good cord should also be able to have sufficient capacity to handle the power supply. Weak cords that cannot handle the electrical load provided by the generator can overheat easily and cause a fire. It is also important to inspect the cords from time to time to ensure that they are in good condition before using them. Just like fuel, electrical cords should be kept in places where they are not a physical hazard.
In order to guard generator users against electrical shock, a proper grounding mechanism must be put into place. There are many different industry standards when it comes to modern generator grounding features. Such standards often remove the necessity of providing your own grounding features. As a safety precaution, however, you need to be informed about the grounding features in order to authenticate their usefulness. To this extent, you can familiarize yourself with the common requirements that come with your portable generator. Some of the requirements include:
– The frame of the generator can serve as the grounding mechanism if the generator is used to power equipment mounted on it. Such equipment can either be firmly attached to the generator through power cords or other mechanisms. Such a system does not any more grounding as it acts as a unit.
– The frame can be sufficient for grounding when there is good insulation and proper grounding terminals. To this extent, parts of the generator that do not carry any current can act as safeguards when they are part of the generator frame. Including both current-carrying and non-current parts of the generator into the same frame neutralizes the danger of electrical shock.
When such mechanisms and safeguards are in place, there is no need for additional grounding. In case they are not present, grounding can be availed by using a proper electrode. Such a grounding mechanism is especially important if the generator is supplying power to a structural unit.
Safety Considerations for Home Connections
The home power supply should be done in such a manner that there are no loopholes left unsealed in terms of safety. A good grounding mechanism should be in place and the installation should be done in a professional manner. It is always good to employ proficient technicians who can avail a proper home power supply that is not deficient in any way.
There are a number of regulatory standards dictate what a safe connection should entail. In general, the portable generator should be linked to a good transfer switch. Such a switch is critical in feeding power to the right transmission lines. Power consumption should also be kept to a minimum in order to prevent overloading.
A common but risky habit of a number of generator users is to power up the home supply by back-feeding. This is risky and should be avoided. Back-feeding alters and overrides the specified power limits and thus put people, systems, and equipment at risk.
In addition to the above precautions, there are a few other general precautions that you need to observe. For instance, the general should always be secured from all hazards. Water and other potential risk factors must also be away from the power supply system.
In addition, responsible use procedures should be followed when operating a portable generator. Fuel should never be left inside a dormant generator for a long time as it poses risks.
Just like other machines, portable generators also require constant maintenance in order to function smoothly. You should thus investigate on the proper ways of maintaining your generator according to its features.
While the above information touches on key safety issues when using portable generators, it is not exhaustive. The best way to ensure safety is by carefully scrutinizing the operational procedures that come with your particular model.