During power outages, the generator brings all the hopes of keeping your freezer, fridge, lights, and other essentials running. It’s a handy equipment ideal for keeping you and your family safe during a power loss, especially if you live in a place that receives severe weather storms. With that said, do you know how to use a generator during a power outage?
It might seem like a simple, straightforward process, but there some things you need to get right for a safe generator hook up. You need to know some of the basics of using a generator during a power outage before you can start connecting things. Here are some insights on this and more. Read along!
- Tips on how to use generator during power outage
- #1) Choose the best way to connect the generator to your home
- #2) Choose a Convenient Spot to Run the Generator
- #3) Use the right extension cords
- #4) Cover the Generator with the Right Generator Enclosure
- #5) Do the Routine Maintenance before Starting your Generator
- Don’t overload your generator.
- Perform routine maintenance before storage
- Final Verdict!
Tips on how to use generator during power outage
When using your generator during power outages, you need to do certain things to make the setup easy, smooth, and super safe for you, your home residents, and your appliances. Believe it or not, a generator is a machine that produces electricity dangerous enough to electrocute anyone or even cause damage to your appliances if used wrongly. If you’re considering using a generator during power outage, here are steps on how to safely connect it to your home.
#1) Choose the best way to connect the generator to your home
If this is the first time you’re using the generator, you need to choose the best method to connect it to your home. Understand how the power will reach your appliances without back-feeding the home electrical system. There are two methods for this:
#a) Through the Breaker Box
If you want a completely safer method, you should go with a breaker box. It would be best if you run the wires from the generator inlet box all through to the breaker box. You may want to use a manual transfer switch or an interlock device. These devices will help shut the main power line while you’re using the backup power. It’s also a better way to direct the backup power to the right essential appliances.
#b) Using Extension Cords
Using power cords with a generator is never safe for you and your appliances unless the hookup is done right. What do I mean here? When hooking your generator directly to your essentials, you cannot leave loose connections.
You need to install a generator inlet box and run the wires through the walls until they reach a convenient point to install the wall sockets. From here, you can connect your appliances safely.
And remember, when using a generator directly to your appliances without a circuit breaker is dangerous. You may want to get a generator power cleaning device to help deal with voltage spikes, THD, overload, and more.
#2) Choose a Convenient Spot to Run the Generator
One rule of running a generator is, you should never run it indoors, near your home, especially near the doors and windows, and of course, not in a flooded or a flooding area. That means you can never run your generator inside the house, a shed, or a garage. But why?
Generators produce Carbon Monoxide once the fuel is burnt down. The CO levels can reach lethal levels in a matter of minutes. And you know what, the CO gas is odorless, invisible, and also heavier than air. That allows it to affect you silently, and before you know it, you’re unconscious, and you may die if not found at the right time.
It would be best if you run your generator when it’s at least 20-feet away from your house. The difference between the indoor and outdoor temperature and air pressure can pull the lethal fumes into the house. And remember to consider your neighbor too. Also, pick a spot where wind cannot push the exhaust fumes against the doors, windows, vents, and other openings.
#3) Use the right extension cords
There is no other way of connecting the generator to your house besides using extension cords. They transport the power from the generator outlets to the generator inlet box where it’s taken to the best part of the house.
Understand this; your generator extension cords will run outdoors. So it would be best if you got weather-resistant, heavy-duty extension cord that can handle the outdoor conditions.
Another thing, as you well know, every generator comes with its power ratings, and these extension cords are made to handle a particular power resistance. If you use the wrong cables, they might cause problems for your appliances. And the worst could happen; it might heat up and melt the insulation causing more issues. So, if your generator outlet is 20-amp rated, then get an extension rated 20-amps.
It would be best if you also considered the extension cord length. For starters, the cable needs to reach your generator from the generator inlet box. The length should also be enough not to create unnecessary resistance or cause loss of power.
#4) Cover the Generator with the Right Generator Enclosure
By this time, you know where to place your generator and connect it to the house. If you’re running your generator during wet or inclement weather, you must cover it with the best generator enclosure.
Your generator must never get wet. And that’s why you need a weatherproof enclosure, something that protects it from rain, snow, and strong wind. If you don’t already have one, you can read more here.
#5) Do the Routine Maintenance before Starting your Generator
This is the trickiest part. Why? You need to check the oil, filters, and also the fuel. If your generator uses an electric start, you will also need to check or charge the battery. In short terms, you have to get handy. The oil level has to be enough; also, make sure it’s not too old.
If there is any old gas remaining in the gas tank and you never added any fuel stabilizer before, pour it and clean the fuel line before refilling it, especially if it’s a year old or older gas. Also, drain any fuel in the carburetor. Clean the air filters too to make sure airflow is clean and fresh.
Don’t overload your generator.
Before you can start your generator and connect your loads, you must ensure that you’re connecting the right capacity. Overloading the generator might cause damage to it and accelerate the wear and tear of the engine.
Calculate your overall appliance wattage and make sure it’s around half of what the generator can deliver. That way, you’re giving the generator an allowance to run at half load. Once you have it right, you can now start the generator and then connect the load.
Perform routine maintenance before storage
Once the generator has done its part, and the power is back on, you can perform the routine maintenance before taking it to storage. The first one is to wait until the engine cools down. Once that is done, drain the fuel from the fuel tank and also the carburetor. That way, the fuel dirt won’t block the carburetor.
If you plan to use the generator sooner than 1-year, you can add a fuel stabilizer to prevent it from going bad. Also, check the oil level to make sure it’s ideal to cover the engine and avoid rust. Cover the generator to keep out dust.
How to use generator during power outage; it doesn’t have to be a complicated process if you follow the right steps, which I have given you here. Your safety should be the first thing in mind. For peace of mind with all the connections, get the right electrical gloves for the protections. If any drilling is needed, wear the right protective glasses.
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