Planning to use a generator? Tips for safer usage this winter

A snow possibility making its way through parts of East Tennessee Friday and Saturday, and the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute is reminding home and business owners to keep safety in mind when using generators this winter.

“Not having power when you need it is frustrating, so a generator can provide emergency backup power at a reasonable cost,” says Kris Kiser, President and CEO of OPEI. “It’s important to follow all manufacturer’s instructions, and never place a generator in your garage or inside your home or building. It should be a safe distance from the structure and not near an air intake.”

Some tips include:

#1 – Check your generator, and review the directions Make sure equipment is in good working order before starting and using it. Do this before a storm hits.

#2 – Install a battery operated carbon monoxide detector in your home. And plenty of ventilation. This alarm will sound if dangerous levels of carbon monoxide enter the building.

#3 - Have the right fuel. Use the type of fuel recommended by the generator manufacturer to protect this important investment. It is illegal to use any fuel with more than 10% ethanol in outdoor power equipment.

#4 - Ensure portable generators have plenty of ventilation. Generators should NEVER be used in an enclosed area or placed inside a home, a building, or a garage, even if the windows or doors are open. Place the generator outside and away from windows, doors, and vents that could allow carbon monoxide to drift indoors.

#5 - Keep the generator dry. Do not use a generator in wet conditions. Cover and vent a generator. Model-specific tents or generator covers can be found online for purchase and at home centers and hardware stores.

#6 -. Only add fuel to a cool generator Before refueling, turn the generator off and let it cool down.