While we are still a bit away from the winter months here in Denver, Colorado, it is not at all uncommon to start getting a little snow during the Month of October. In fact, we are likely to get at least a day or two of snow. If not, precipitation is not at all unusual.
The point is, things start to moisten up during the Month of October. We feel that it is a good idea to do a little coverage about how to safely use a portable generator during winter power outages, or, any type of power outage. Recently, we watched as Hurricane Matthew ravaged the Eastern coast of the United States. Two million people – or more – lost power.
On October 10th, it was reported that a boy in Daytona Beach, Florida died as a result of generator fumes. On October 7th, an elderly couple in St. Lucie County, Florida died of apparent generator fumes.
While a positive and productive tool during the event of a power outage, generators could result in death if not properly used. In this brief guide, we will provide you with a few steps that will allow you to remain safe while using a portable generator during winter power outages, or, even general power outages.
Carbon Monoxide Emission
The first and most important fact that you should be aware of when electing to use a portable generator to replace lost electricity is that all of the units emit carbon monoxide. This means that you absolutely must install carbon monoxide detectors throughout your home – especially where you spend most of your time and the areas where you sleep.
Even though you must run the unit outdoors, the exhaust fumes may find their way into your home. You should position the generator so that the exhaust is away from the home and facing away from your neighbor’s home, too.
We have already covered the exhaust of the portable generator. You know to face it away from all homes. Now, let’s talk about where to place the unit, itself. First, it should never be placed in the home, in a garage, in a basement, or any type of space that is enclosed.
A generator has a combustion-based engine that emits carbon monoxide – which, essentially, is a silent killer. Ingestion of the fumes could result in a deep sleep that results in your death. You should place the unit at least 15 feet away from your home. It should not be placed near doors, windows, or any type of vent.
Transfer Switches for Safety
If you require the use of a generator for power outages – particularly during the winter months – you should hire a professional electrician to install a transfer switch. This eliminates the necessity for extension cords and, in turn, allows you access to a professional inlet box, placed in a safe position away from the home.