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Oct 302012
 
 October 30, 2012  Posted by  At Home, Hot Deals
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More than 7 million people have lost power in the Northeast, and in some of those areas it will be days before electricity and gas service is restored.

If you’ve got a generator, you’ll be able to produce enough power for some of your needs, but know the generator you have and its capacity. If you’re lucky enough to have a backup generator already connected to your electrical system, you may be able to run your home normally.

But the small, portable gasoline-powered generators have limits. Before you gas up your unit, be sure to read all the directions to make sure you’re operating it safely.

Gasoline-powered generators emit carbon monoxide, and they should never be used inside or in enclosed areas, such as a garage or basement. You also don’t want to operate one near doors and windows.

Here are some tips from the Consumer Product Safety Commission and other sources for operating portable generators safely:

  • Put the generator as far from the house as possible and don’t operate it near open windows and doors.
  • Have a battery-operated carbon monoxide detector operating in the house.
  • Don’t operate the generator if you’re not home.
  • Put the generator under a roof to keep it from getting wet. Don’t touch it if your hands are wet.
  • Use extension cords designed for outdoor use and make sure the cords are in good repair.
  • Don’t plug your generator into an outlet in your home. This could endanger the lives of your neighbors or utility repair workers.
  • Let the generator cool down before refueling.
  • Before hooking up big appliances, such as the refrigerator, check the power consumed by your refrigerator and the power created by your generator to make sure you have enough capacity.
  • Be careful of sensitive electronic equipment and older, cheaper generators.

This article has more tips and a video on how to operate a generator safely.

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Teresa Mears

Teresa Mears is a website publisher, writer, blogger and editor who was raised to be frugal. In her 35 years as a journalist, she has written for papers ranging in size from the weekly Portland (Tenn.) Leader to The Los Angeles Times. She was an editor for the Miami Herald for more than 17 years, overseeing coverage of home, real estate, family and other subjects. She has also been a contributor to The New York Times, The Boston Globe, The Dallas Morning News and other publications. When she’s not writing about Florida deals, she writes and edits for MSN Money and does the Listed blog for MSN Real Estate. Teresa owns and operates Miami On The CheapFlorida On The CheapFort Lauderdale On The CheapPalm Beach On The CheapOrlando On The Cheap, Florida Keys On the Cheap and Jacksonville On The Cheap, as well as Baltimore on the Cheap and Washington, D.C., on the Cheap.

One comment on “Safety tips for running a portable generator

  1. Kathleen Winfrey on said:

    Thanks for sharing! This is very informative. I believe that people who own a portable generator also has a responsibility of keeping yourself, other peoples safety and neighbors safety too.