Be Safe Around Generators
When using generators, always thoroughly read instructions provided by the manufacturer
and seek assistance from licensed electricians where appropriate. In addition to
electrical safety, you should keep in mind that generators can produce carbon monoxide.
This deadly gas is invisible and odorless, and you cannot trust your senses for
protection from carbon monoxide. When buying a generator, also buy a battery-operated
carbon-monoxide alarm. It works like a smoke alarm, sounding an alert if carbon
monoxide levels become dangerous.
A portable generator provides electricity to specific equipment,
such as appliances, during utility power outages. This equipment typically plugs
directly into the generator.
Portable Generator Safety Tips
Portable generators can be
useful when temporary or remote electric power is needed, but also can be hazardous
if they aren't isolated properly. To properly isolate portable generators, be careful
you never connect it to an electrical outlet. Instead, appliances should be connected
directly to the generator.
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
- Never plug a generator into a wall outlet
- Avoid contact with bare wires and terminals
- Use a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) in any damp or highly conductive area
- If you choose to have a transfer switch (permanent connection) installed for a portable
generator, contact a licensed electrician
- Consult a licensed electrician to choose a generator. This will help ensure proper
installation, prevent backfeeding onto the electric system, and make certain it
meets national and local electrical code requirements
Gasoline-powered generators can produce deadly carbon monoxide
- Never use a generator in enclosed or partially enclosed spaces. Never run generators
in a garage or inside a home
- Keep generators well away from open windows - - including neighbors' windows - -
so deadly exhaust does not enter the home.
A permanently installed generating system is permanently connected to the home or
business. It involves standby generators that supply backup power to a building
during a power outage.
A permanently installed generator:
- Is wired to a building's existing wiring system to provide a backup electricity
source during a power outage
- Can be sized to provide electricity to specific pieces of equipment or all electrical
- Is connected to the building's existing wiring via a transfer switch.
Permanently Installed Generator Safety
Make sure a qualified electrician installs your standby generator so that its circuits and
Appalachian Power's circuits are not connected.
That is, be sure they are "isolated." Otherwise, customer-generated power can flow
back to the power line, electrocuting an
worker attempting to restore power and power distributed from
can overheat the generator, causing an electrical fire at your home. The most common
isolation method is to install a double-throw double-pole transfer switch.
As of May 2015, I&M will no longer allow the installation of portable generator by-pass switches, such as GenerLink, to be installed on electrical meter bases.