Watch an informative generator safety video below by clicking the "play" arrow.
For Your Safety and Ours!
The Energy Cooperative offers Generlink™ to electric members - a safe and simple way to connect your portable generator to your home without risky do-it-yourself rewiring and hazardous extension cords. Generlink™ is a meter collar device designed to connect directly to a standard household electric service, located behind the electric meter. Click here to learn more.
Basic Generator Safety:
Portable electric generators offer great benefits when outages affect your home such as saving food in your refrigerator or allowing you to keep other essential equipment running. However, a portable generator that is not installed properly could lead to serious safety hazards or even death.
To ensure your electric generator is wired properly, have it installed by a qualified technician. Connecting a portable electric generator directly to your household wiring without the proper isolation equipment can be deadly to you and others. A generator that is directly connected to your home’s wiring can cause a backfeed condition without the properly installed equipment. A backfeed condition occurs when your household wiring is connected to the utility and generator sources at the same time without isolation from the two sources. Once a backfeed condition occurs, the utility transformer will step up or increase this backfeed to thousands of volts—enough to kill a utility lineman making outage repairs in your area. You could also cause an electrical fire or inflict expensive damage to utility equipment, your personal household electrical/electronic equipment and/ or your generator.
The only safe way to connect a portable electric generator to your existing wiring is to have a qualified electrical contractor install a transfer switch. The transfer switch transfers power from the utility power to your generator power while isolating the two sources from each other. The easiest way to use a generator is to simply plug the equipment to be operated directly into the proper outlet on the generator. Never connect the generator’s electrical output to any live home or building electrical circuits. Never plug a generator into a wall outlet. Also:
• Avoid contact with bare wires and terminals.
• Use a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) in any damp or highly conductive area.
• Consult a qualifi ed electrician to choose a generator and make certain it meets national and local electrical code requirements.
Follow these tips to prevent misuse of portable electrical generators:
- Be sure to follow manufacturers’ directions for installation and operation.
- To prevent electric shock, make sure your generator is properly grounded. The operation manual should provide correct grounding procedures.
- Operate electric generators or other fuel-powered machines outside where deadly carbon monoxide fumes cannot enter the home.
- Use the generator only in a well-ventilated and dry area located away from air intakes to the house. Do not use a generator in an attached garage.
- Do not overload the generator by operating more appliances and equipment than the generator can handle. The operating instructions should have an output rating for the generator.
- Individual appliances should be plugged directly into the receptacle outlet of the generator using appropriately sized extension cords to carry the electric load. Make sure the cords are rated for outdoor use, have a grounded, three-pronged plug, and are in good condition.
- Do not run extension cords under rugs.
- Never connect generators directly to your home’s wiring. The reverse flow of electricity can electrocute an unsuspecting utility worker.
- Never plug a generator into a household outlet.
- Do not refuel a generator while it is running.
- Only store fuel outside of living areas and away from heat sources like water heater pilot lights.
- Turn off all equipment powered by the generator before shutting it down.
- Keep children and pets away from generators.