Everyone knows storms cause power outages, and many people rely on generators during the hurricane season. However, if not used properly, a generator poses many dangers. We put together a list of precautions to take to protect your electrical wiring this hurricane season.
Generator Precautions to Protect Your Wiring:
Use a Generator Power Cord to connect your appliances
If you want to plug a regular extension cord into a generator, you need to take very specific precautions beforehand. Make sure you use a heavy-duty extension cord labeled for outdoor use. Avoid cords with exposed wires or worn shielding.
Regular extension cords present many drawbacks:
- You can only plug them into appliances with cords
- A long cord may damage the generator and appliances
- They can also start a fire when on carpet
- It takes a long time to string extension cords together.
Luckily, generator cords come in handy for situations like these. They are typically 25 feet in length, and you just plug the cord into the generator outlet, and the inside generator plug splits into several outlets where you can plug in either your appliances or more extension cords. This option allows easy installation and greater safety than a regular extension cord.
Never connect a portable generator directly to your household wiring. Doing so causes back feed which can injure your neighbors or utility workers. Also keep in mind the output rating of the generator. Do not plug in appliances that exceed the output rating.
Use Locking Devices
You want to do more than plugging everything into your generator and calling it a day. Locking devices guarantee that your cords stay plugged in even in harsh weather. Different types of locking devices include plugs and connectors. A twist lock needs to be twisted in order to connect or disconnect. This adds an extra level of safety, and provides usefulness in areas where cords frequently come unplugged.
Get Proper Outlet Covers
Make sure your electrical outlet covers do not show signs of wear or damage and they still do their job. If they show signs of damage, replace them. If your outlets get wet, they can cause an electric shock, leading to injury and death. During the hurricane season, a lot more water than usual tries to get in your outlets and damage your system, and simple wall plates do not offer enough protection. Plugging something into a wet outlet can start a fire, and the water inside the outlet can cause power outages inside the building. Make sure that the cover, size, and handle you choose handles the specific threats your outlet faces, and provides proper coverage. Whether you have duplex outlets or single outlets, you can find covers that will fit your needs.
An in-use outlet cover protects the outlet even when something is plugged in. After you get an in-use cover, you can rest assured that your wiring remains safe even in a torrential downpour.
Other Generator Safety Precautions:
Prevent Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
Portable generators emit carbon monoxide, a particularly deadly gas due to its colorless and odorless properties. It can kill unsuspecting residents in a span of 5 minutes, so use extreme caution when setting up your generator. Place your generator outdoors and keep it far away from windows, vents, crawl spaces, garages, balconies, and basements. Do not open doors or windows while the generator is running and get a carbon monoxide alarm with working batteries. Keep children and pets away from the generator.
- Don’t over fill the tank
- Never add fuel when the generator is running or still hot
- Store fuel in a properly labeled container
- Keep generator away from spaces where gasoline might reach a flame or spark such as fuel supplies and water heaters
- Do not smoke near the generator.
Regular Generator Maintenance:
- Protect your generator from the elements when not in use and cover and vent it properly to run it in the rain
- Keep your generator away from excessive moisture, dirt, dust, and corrosive vapors
- Inspect your generator regularly
- Disconnect the spark plug wire
- Use gas treatments
- Change oil, air filter, and oil filter at yearly intervals
Hurricane season causes many worries, but you can plan ahead to protect your electrical wiring and your home during a power outage. You can have peace of mind when you keep your home safe whether you plan on staying or evacuating. HomElectrical sells generator cords, locking devices, and in-use outlet covers at competitive retail prices. Shop our collection to meet all your hurricane home improvement needs!