Learn the correct way to use a portable generator - AmericaNowNews.com

Learn the correct way to use a portable generator

A portable generator can really help save the day if bad weather knocks the power out at your house. Here's what you need to know before installing and using one.

Larry Blakeney, director of safety with Southern Pine Electric, said portable generators must be placed outside and away from your carport to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning.

"You may want to always get you some extra gas before the time comes that you actually need it," said Blakeney.

Like most engines, it also uses oil. You must also purchase the correct extension cord to run from the generator into your home.

"This cord here is rated for 1,625 watts. When we plug this cord in to our generator, we're going to plug it into a 120 volt receptacle. Most appliances in your home take 120 volts," said the safety expert.

You should also purchase a surge protector which gives you multiple receptacles.

They can operate TVs, small fans, microwaves, refrigerators, freezers and small window unit air conditioners.

"All electrical appliances are rated for wattage and if you go over that wattage of this cord, there's a possibility it could be a fire hazard," added Blakeney.

If the generator runs out of gas, wait until it's cooled off and never refuel while it's running.

The average generator is 5500 watts or 5.5 kv.

They cost between $400 and $1,000, depending upon the engine type.

"This is one item the purchaser needs to go over with the salesperson before they leave the store. Ask the questions that need to be asked. They need to be sure when they leave the store that they understand what the salesperson has told them," said Jackie Mullins, Southern Pine Electric district manager.

And if not used properly, they can injure utility workers.

"If you go and you hook this generator directly up into your switch box and you do not have a transformer switch, it can back feed through our lines. It can go through our transformer, up the voltage and our lineman can come in contact with it," added Blakeney.

Always follow the instructions in the generator's operating manual and properly store and maintain it when not in use.

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