Use Backup Power Safely

When used properly, portable and standby generators are a great option to provide backup power during brownouts or blackouts. Learn how to use generators safely with the following tips:


  • Location
    • Always keep generators at least 20 feet away from your home
    • Never operate a generator in an enclosed space
    • Make sure the generator has 3-4 feet of clear space above and on all sides for proper ventilation 
    • Keep generators away from door, windows, and vents
    • Always direct exhaust away from your home
  • Use
    • Always use grounded cords and inspect cords for damage prior to use
    • Use the proper cord for the wattage being used
    • Always use GFCI protection 
    • Make sure to start/stop the generator when no electrical loads are connected 
    • Keep generators dry, do not operate when wet, and refuel when cool
    • Do not overload generators
    • Do not plug a generator directly into your home, connect items being powered directly to the generator

Transfer Switches

  • Transfer switches whether manual or automatic, allow you to choose between utility power or backup generator power 
  • Transfer switches are the only way to safely power your home’s electrical system
  • Using a transfer switch prevents backfeeding. This occurs when your generator becomes a power source for the surrounding area and can damage your home, your neighbor’s home, and injure workers trying to restore power

Carbon Monoxide (CO) Poisoning Prevention

  • Improper use and installation of generators could cause CO poisoning 
  • Make sure your home has carbon monoxide alarms outside each sleeping area and on every level of the home
  • CO can kill in as little as 5 minutes
  • Symptoms of CO poisoning
    • Dizziness
    • Headaches
    • Nausea
    • Tiredness
  • If you experience CO poisoning systems, get fresh air, do not reenter areas, and call 911