Compared to other power machines, a portable generator is fairly easy to use. However, when using one there are some things that should be done in order to use it safely and to store it properly.
Storing Your Portable Generator
Safety isn’t the only reason to store your portable generator correctly. Another important reason is that it prolongs the life of the machine. A portable generator is not usually a random quick purchase you make on a whim. (Unless a large, unexpected power outage occurs and one is needed.) It is usually a thought out process that requires a financial investment.
That being said, here are a few tips to help you better store your portable generator:
- You never know when an outage will happen, so keep your unit ready for use at any time.
- Do a quick clean after each use.
- Store the portable generator in an indoor, dry storage area where it can easily be found and pulled out for use. Store any extension cords, replacement parts, and other items used with your relocatable backup power system together so everything can easily be found.
- Clean the machine before placing it in storage. Be sure to remove any debris that is near or on the unit. Make sure any air slots and the muffler are free from obstructing materials, especially combustible products.
- Look underneath and around the unit for leaks or signs of leaks.
- Store your machine with an empty fuel tank. If you aren’t able to empty the tank by running the unit, transfer the fuel to a rated storage container.
- If you choose not to remove unused fuel from the portable generator, be sure to add a fuel stabilizer to the tank. Follow the recommendations for adding stabilizer to your relocatable backup power system in the manufacturer’s user manual.
- Store your supply of gasoline in approved fuel containers. Keep them away from the house and in a well vented area. Add a fuel stabilizer to avoid the effects of ethanol.
- Take your relocatable power backup unit to a professional for a tune-up and maintenance check before storing your unit long term.
- Read the manufacturer’s instruction manual for more specific storage instructions for your specific unit model.
- Keep a cover over your unit to keep dirt and debris away from it.
Portable Generator Safety
Safety is very important when it comes to portable generators. Not only will following safety precautions reduce the risk of damage to the machine or your home, it will also protect your yard, your neighbors, yourself, and those you love from damage and injury.
Here are a few tips for portable generator safety:
- Read the entire operating instruction manual provided by the manufacturer. This may not be the most fun activity but it is a good use of your time. It will help you ensure safety when using your unit, troubleshooting it, storing it, and maintaining it.
- NEVER use a portable generator indoors. Do not run the unit in closed in areas such as a carport, garage, basement, office building, crawl space, or shed. Areas without proper ventilation can trap carbon monoxide, causing poisoning to those who enter that area.
- DO use your portable generator outdoors and away from windows and other openings to the house.
- Keep your machine regularly maintained and cleaned.
- Test your unit every so often to keep yourself familiar with how it works.
- Do not plug the unit into your home’s outlets. Contact an electrician before plugging your machine into your home’s electrical system.
- Install carbon monoxide detectors in the home and work areas.
- Before refueling, make sure the machine is turned off and is completely cooled down.
- Plug your devices and appliances directly into the machine.
- Plug in appliances and devices one at a time.
- Store gasoline in safety containers approved for storing gasoline. Store fuel away from living areas and in a safe, secure spot.
- Quickly and properly clean up any fuel spills or leaks.
- Use a heavy-duty extension power cord that is intended for outdoor use. Also be sure to use the right gauge cord for your portable generator.
- Exercise caution when using your backup power system in wet or very dry conditions. Refer to the instruction manual for specific guidelines and instruction for using your unit in wet conditions.
- Keep a flashlight near the machine and in a convenient spot so you can easily find your way to the machine and to see to operate it.