With rolling blackouts, wind advisory fire-safety electrical shutoffs, and high energy usage in warm months, it’s a great idea to have a back-up generator at your home or business. Keeping critical medical equipment functioning, powering wells for drinking water, and keeping essential appliances running like your refrigerator are all important when the power gets shut off unexpectedly or for an extended period of time. At Maki Electric, Heating and Air we want you to be prepared for whatever comes your way. Follow these handy tips to make sure your generator is used in the safest way possible!
Choose the Best Generator for Your Needs
Generators come in many different sizes, fuel capacities, and power outputs, so you’ll want to evaluate your power needs before choosing the proper generator for you. It’s best to start by adding up how many appliances you’ll need to run off of your generator. Once you know the basic power requirements, choose a generator that produces slightly more amps than you require. This is necessary because many appliances, especially large ones, use a large amount of power when first starting up, requiring less to maintain once already running.
Use and Store Fuel Safely
When adding fuel to your generator, you always want to make sure you use the right type of fuel as specified by your generator’s instructions. Additionally, it’s always important to make sure to add fuel to a cool generator, as adding fuel when it is hot can cause a major fire hazard. If your generator is running, but low on fuel, simply turn it off for a while and let it cool down before adding more fuel to the tank. You also want to assure you are storing extra fuel safely in proper containers, and far away from the generator or other hot appliances, to avoid spillage and fire danger.
Cover Your Generator When Not in Use
Buying a weather-proof cover may seem like a waste of money, but it will save you a great deal of time and expense later on. It is essential to protect your generator from the elements, keep it dry to extend its life, and keep it functioning properly. A cover will also help protect it from rust and sun damage, assuring your initial investment in an expensive back-up generator will last for many years.
If it is ever necessary for you to run a generator in the snow or rain, build a covered area for it where it will not get buried in the snow or have excess precipitation fall on it. A tarp or tent will do in an emergency, but building a permanent shade and weather-proof structure will be best for the long run.
Plug in Correctly
Some generators have different kinds of plugs than a standard appliance and need different outlets in order to run correctly and safely. Even if your generator has a standard plug, do not plug it directly into the wall in order to avoid dangerous back feed. Instead, use heavy-duty extension cords and a surge protector to protect both your generator and your home’s electrical system.
Monitor Carbon Monoxide
Generators, like many other appliances, produce carbon monoxide as a natural part of their function. While they burn fuel to create energy, carbon monoxide is released, which is one of the most important reasons to always use a generator outdoors in an extremely well-ventilated area. Using them in garages, sheds, or barns is extremely dangerous even with open windows, so find an outdoor area at least 20 feet from the house and point the exhaust in the opposite direction of your home or any buildings that humans or animals regularly occupy.
Call the Experts!
At Maki Heating and Air we are HVAC unit experts and offer a wide variety of services to help keep your heating and air conditioning system clean and running efficiently. We can perform maintenance on your HVAC system, do ventilation system repairs or replacements, air conditioner tune-ups before summer, assure heating and air conditioner filters are cleaned, and check that all heater and air conditioner system parts are working properly.
We have a team of experienced, professional, and friendly HVAC technicians whose mission it is to help keep you safe and comfortable and meet all of your heating, air, and electrical needs. If you need assistance choosing, installing, or troubleshooting your back-up generator, we can assist with that too! Give us a call at (530) 885-3449 to schedule an appointment and see what we can do for you today!