Generators can be your salvation during a power outage or in locations without electricity. However, you should not wait until disaster happens to prepare to generator; it needs to be set up beforehand. In fact, permanently installed stationary generators are the best solution for reliable power backup.
Your generator needs a dry place out of the rain and snow. The best place is outside, under a canopy for protection. Indoors is not a good place for a generator since it produces harmful carbon monoxide and can be noisy. A distance of 15 feet is the minimum recommended distance to prevent harmful fumes from coming inside.
Determine how much wattage it produces and which appliances you can plug into it. Use a heavy duty extension cord to attach the appliances to the generator. Do not overload the generator. Make sure it has enough oil and fuel; always top these off when the generator is cool.
Whole House Backup
Always follow the safety instructions in the manual and do not connect the generator to a power outlet in your house. This causes what is called ‘back feeding’ and can result in someone getting electrocuted. An electrician can give you advice on powering your whole house and can install a transfer switch for you. The transfer switch allows your home wiring to accept power from the generator.
Most generators use gas or propane and come with two types of power outlets: 120V or 240 V. Starting the generator usually involves pressing a switch or pulling the recoil cord. If your generator has a battery-powered starter, always keep the battery charged.
Ongoing care is needed for your generator so always keep it on level ground and away from dust, moisture and dirt. Run the generator at least once a month and have it serviced regularly (oil change, spark plugs, filter etc.) Keep reserve fuel stored safely. Check the manufacturer’s recommendation for using a fuel stabilizer.