If you are about to prepare for a first time generator use, there are some important tips to keep in mind as you prepare your new unit.  Whether you are prepping a generator to support a business in the event of power loss or about to fire up your generator at home after a major storm, keep these tips in mind to help avoid both generator damage and injury or loss of life.


  • Do plan ahead for how much power you will need to draw from the generator.  It is important to have a generator that can produce more power than you think you will need in order to avoid overload.  If you read our post on how a generator works, remember that every new load that draws on the generator will cause it to work harder to make up for that power use, so plan ahead for what needs to run on the generator.
  • Do keep your extension cords in good condition.  Using frayed cords or cords that are not grounded could result in danger of fire or electric shock.  It is also important here to keep in mind how much power the cord can handle—overloading a multi-plug extension cord can be just as dangerous as overloading an electrical plug inside your home.
  • Do keep extra fuel on hand for your generator and exercise caution when refueling.  Make sure your generator cools before adding fuel, and never refuel around anything that might cause the fuel to ignite.
  • Do follow all manufacturer directions and local regulations related to your unit.  If you’re not sure, ask for help!

Don’ts for First Time Generator Use

  • Don’t try to use your generator in wet environments. This may seem difficult after a disaster like a floor or hurricane, but this could result in electrocution as well as damage to your generator. Make sure you can keep it somewhere dry and covered, and never touch it while you yourself are wet.
  • Don’t ever run your generator inside or too close to your home. One of the leading causes of death post-disaster is carbon monoxide poisoning, so follow these tips to avoid become a statistic:
    – A good rule of thumb is to keep your generator at least 30 feet from any inhabited structure.
    — Any covering over your generator should give it at least four feet of clearance.
    — If you are permanently installing a generator, be sure to check local regulations and exercise all precautions to avoid releasing carbon monoxide into an occupied area.
  • Don’t plug your generator directly into an electric socket.  This can create extreme danger for electrocution for you and others, as well as cause damage to your home.

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