Here’s A Few Generator Safety Tips For The Upcoming Winter
It's funny how your the way you get and keep the power on in your home varies so drastically depending on location. For instance, when I lived in southern Maine back in '98, my lights never even flickered the entire duration of the ice storm. My family here in Bangor was without power for like, 4 days.
If you lived on the peninsula in Portland, you never, ever lost power. Fast forward to moving back to Bangor, and we lost the power the first day in our new house. Hahaha. For that matter, where I am in Hampden, we've lost the power ten times since the end of September. I'm not even exaggerating for emphasis. Ten. Times. Since September.
So naturally, we bought a generator. Granted, we went whole-hog, and got a 13 kilowatt bad boy that runs on propane. Every year, someone will come check it all out and make sure it's running in peak condition, just like keeping up your furnace. But what if you're running a smaller gas-powered generator?
According to Fox ABC Maine, there's a few things you should keep in mind this winter. Bangor Fire Department Public Education Officer Jason Johnson says they don't get lots of problem associated with folks running their units, but more often it's trouble using and storing them correctly.
Most importantly, only run the generator outside. This may seem obvious, but lots of people don't want to go outside in the snow or rain, and sometimes try to run it in the garage, or even basement! the number one call for generator "accidents" is carbon monoxide poisoning. So only ever run it outside.
Next comes storing it. Even after you shut it off, make sure it's cool before getting it out of the elements. But again, it's not something you want to bring in the house. Johnson said this to Fox:
You want to leave them outside except when it comes to storage. If they’re cool, then by all means. You don’t want to store it inside the house, though. That’s a really important distinction. Garage, shed, that’s OK, but definitely not inside the house just because, again, you’ve got fuel inside there and everything else.
And lastly of course, make sure it's hooked up correctly. When they came to install my generator, there was on older panel on the wall that the previous owner used for a small generator, and it wasn't even wired properly. If we had used a small one, it could have easily started a fire.
There's a lot of comfort in owning a generator. Knowing that you'll stay warm, and your food will stay cold, is pretty awesome. And as I'm discovering, if you live out in the sticks, you need an alternate power source, hahaha. Oh boy, it's so great to be an adult, right?!