Generator Safety

During an outage, many individuals sometimes use a backup generator for electricity. While this standby power option is a handy one, an improperly-installed generator can be both destructive and dangerous.

The 2 most important steps to follow when using a generator are to:

  • Install it with a proper regulator so that it doesn’t overpower or damage your appliances
  • Isolate it so that it can’t feed electricity back into power lines causing serious harm or death to a line crew working to get the power back on

Purchasing the Appropriate Generator

  • Never use a gas-powered generator inside your house or garage due to the danger of carbon monoxide poisoning
  • The generator’s output is rated in Watts
    • To determine the size you’ll need, start by totaling the wattage of the lights and appliances you’d like to power
    • Check the labels or owner’s manuals for each appliance’s rating
    • Then, add about 20% as a reserve to handle the increased start-up power requirements
    • Example: if you want to power at least 2 fixtures on a general-lighting circuit (240 watts, when used sparingly), a sump pump (1500 watts), and a refrigerator (600 watts), you’ll need a generator that can handle 2340 watts

Installing a Regulator

  • Installing a regulator will control the charging rate
  • If you plan on operating sensitive equipment like televisions and computers from the generator, also use a surge protector

Isolating Your Generator

  • To isolate your generator, plug the appliances you want to power directly into the generator with the appropriate-sized cords
  • Install a double-throw switch that disconnects your home from the Co-op’s system

Always follow the manufacturer’s recommendations on how to use your generator

Generator Safety Diagram

Generator Safety Video