How to Use a Portable Generator Safely at Home? a Beginner’s Guide

How Does a Generator Work — Power Your Home With a Generator

Keep a copy of these directions on hand so that you can start your portable generator when you need it most.

Your portable generator needs to be set up and running quickly in case of a storm that knocks out your power. Your generator may have been purchased a few years ago, and you may not remember how to start it. But you just want your power back as soon as possible when a neighborhood is cut off by a blackout.

Then, using extension cords, connect your home’s appliances to the portable unit’s many outlets outside. To use a portable generator correctly, continue reading.

Step 1: Estimate Your Home’s Power Needs

Prepare a list of the things you want a portable generator to power. Take into account the refrigerator, lights, media players, and necessary chargers. To find out the running/rated wattage, or how much power is required to run the item, consult the owner’s manual or the data plate that is attached to each device.

You should also be aware of the starting/surge wattage, or how much power is required to start the motor, for larger appliances like your refrigerator.

You can calculate how many watts you need the portable generator to power by adding the watts required to start the largest appliance’s motor and the sum of all the running wattages for necessary items. The starting and operating watts that the generator can produce are compared to this data.

Step 2: Locate the Generator at a Safe Distance from Your Home

The 4 Best Portable Generators of 2023 | Reviews by Wirecutter

Gasoline-powered portable generators produce carbon monoxide both while they are operating and for some time afterward. Carbon monoxide poisoning is deadly, so it is critical that you:

  • Locate a portable generator outside, at least 20 feet away from your home (and your neighbor’s homes).
  • Allow at least five feet of clearance in every direction, including above the unit.
  • Do not place a portable generator in any enclosed or partially enclosed area, such as a garage, basement, attic, shed, or crawlspace.
  • Do not leave generators near open windows, doors, or vents, which could allow carbon monoxide to enter your home.
  • Have carbon monoxide detectors located throughout your home, on every floor, outside sleeping areas, and in other central spaces.
  • Aim the exhaust away from occupied areas and in a position where it blows downwind, away from your home or your neighbor’s homes.

Step 3: Check the Fuel and Oil Levels

Before beginning, be certain that your fuel tank is full. A fuel gauge should be included on your portable generator to make checking it simply, but for accurate readings, the generator needs to be placed on a level surface. Consult your owner’s manual for recommended fuels if you need to add fuel.

Checking the oil level is the next step, and it will probably be similar to checking the oil in your car. Find the oil dipstick (usually beneath a detachable maintenance panel). The dipstick should be removed, cleaned, and then reinserted.

Then, check to see if the oil on the stick is within the range of the dipstick’s upper and lower limit marks by carefully pulling the dipstick straight out a second time. Refer to your owner’s manual for instructions on how to add, what type of oil to use, and how often to change the oil, as needed, and add or change the oil as needed.

Can You Run a Generator in the Rain? - Bob Vila

Step 4: Calculate the Wattage Requirements

Before connecting, make sure the generator won’t be overloaded by having more lights and appliances connected than it is designed to support. You can find this information on the backs or sides of the machines or by consulting the user manuals for each one to add up the starting and running wattage of the appliances you want to power at once.

The total shouldn’t go over the wattage restrictions of your generator; if you’re unsure of how many watts of power your generator can handle, check your user’s manual. If necessary, space out the use of appliances to avoid overloading the generator.

Step 5: Plug in the Emergency Generator

Use heavy-duty exterior extension cords intended for generator use. Run the cords for a gas-powered generator through a window or door to the unit set up outside, but don’t connect them to the generator just yet.

An electrician should install a power-transfer switch before you use a hard-wired appliance, such as a furnace or well pump. On your actual circuit breaker panel, you are able to power items using this system.

Step 6: Start the Generator

Make sure the fuel tank is full and there are no cords plugged into the generator before starting it. Before adding fuel for the first time to a gasoline-powered model, educate yourself on how to fuel outdoor power equipment.

A fuel-powered generator can be started by turning the fuel valve to the On position and then switching the on/off switch to the On position. To activate the choke position, extend the choke handle.

Until the generator starts, push and hold the start switch in the Start position. Before plugging anything in, let the motor run for a while and gradually push the choke handle into the Run position.

norwall powersystems: How to Use a Portable Generator | Norwall  PowerSystems | Milled

The simple push of a button or switch starts a solar generator, but you might need to adjust some settings to turn on specific outlets.

Step 7: Plug in the Devices and Appliances

For instructions on how to connect your generator-specific devices and appliances, consult the manual. For instance, you might need to start with the appliance that consumes the most power—like a refrigerator—and let it run for a while before connecting anything else.

The generator extension cord should be plugged into the generator housing after each item is connected to it. It’s possible that you could plug things directly into a solar model.

Step 8: Refuel the Portable Generator

Turn off electronics and appliances and let the generator run for a little while longer when you need to add more fuel to a generator. After that, shut off the fuel switch, unplug the extension cords, and shut off the generator. Before refueling, let the machine cool.

Connect solar panels to the generator and place them in a location where they will get several hours of sunlight every day to recharge it. You might be able to keep devices connected while charging depending on your generator and where the solar panels are located.

The amount of time it takes to fully charge a battery depends on the generator, the number and type of solar panels, the climate, and the amount of sunlight that is available. Make sure you have the ideal weather conditions for charging a solar generator that can also function as a wind generator.

More Notes on Safety

How to Use a Portable Generator for Emergency Power - Norwall PowerSystems

Safety is paramount when using a portable generator. Keep these things in mind before, during, and after use.

  • In order to prevent electrocution, generators should be kept dry while in use. As alluring as it may be to restart your electricity when a storm knocks it out, you should instead wait for the weather to clear. When it’s raining or humid outside, avoid using your portable generator, and avoid touching it with wet hands.
  • When a carbon monoxide alarm goes off, get outside or through an open window as soon as possible and call for help from emergency services. Never try to shut off the generator.
  • If you need to refuel the generator, turn it off and let it cool completely before doing so. If gasoline accidentally spills on a hot engine, it could ignite.

How Does a Generator Work?

It’s important to understand those home standby generators, which are devices permanently connected to your home, are not the same as portable generators before we delve into the specifications and best practices for a home generator.

A portable generator is smaller and requires more preparation, whereas home standby generators start up automatically when the grid stops supplying power to your home.

Although there are also diesel and propane units available, portable generators frequently use gas to start the conversion of mechanical energy into electrical energy.

In any case, your generator is made up of five main components: an internal combustion engine, an alternator, a starter, a fuel tank, and outlets.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.