Common Mistakes Homeowners Make With Their Backup Generator | Dillon, SC
Photo By kenary820 at Shutterstock
A study conducted in 2014 claimed that the United States experienced more power blackouts than any other developed country. In support of these findings, the US Energy Administration reported that in 2016, the average energy utility customer had about 1.3 power interruptions, with the total blackout time averaging four hours.
Power outages can impact your Dillon, SC, home business without warning. They can occur due to wide-ranging circumstances, including inclement weather, in-house rodent infestations, and poor electrical safety standards.
A power blackout can significantly affect the comfort of your residence and the operational efficiency of your business, which is why you may consider investing in a backup generator.
Besides helping preserve refrigerated food, a backup generator can also aid in preventing freezing and sustaining lighting during a power outage. Additionally, it can help you keep your residential security system operating under such circumstances.
However, many homeowners often make costly mistakes with their generators, leaving the backup systems vulnerable to a faster rate of wear and tear. These mistakes can also give rise to various hazards. Not to worry, though; in this blog post, you’ll discover multiple dangers and how you can avoid them.
Ignoring Fuel Considerations
You may feel tempted to try saving a few dollars by opting to use cheap fuel instead of premium but be advised that this can only damage your home’s backup generator and eventually cost you more in repair or replacement costs.
If you use substandard gas, the injectors in your generator may clog, thus promoting microorganism infestation, which can reduce its functional efficiency. That said, you should never forget that if a generator stays for too long without operation, the gas quality may diminish.
To avoid such scenarios, you should try running the system regularly or consider asking a professional generator service provider near Dillon, SC, to drain the gas or add a fuel stabilizer before you’ve turned it on.
Neglecting Maintenance Needs
Your generator’s manual should provide comprehensive details of your machine’s maintenance requirements. These requirements ensure that it remains operationally efficient all year round. The manual may contain instructions on how frequently you should have the oil changed by a backup generator service professional and which oil product to use.
It may also include specifications for the oil changing process after the first few hours of operation. Since generators are complex pieces of equipment, neglecting the manufacturer’s maintenance recommendations could end up costing you more money in the long run.
You can spot minor issues through routine maintenance before they’ve developed into more serious problems that may render your unit inoperable. Regular generator maintenance activities include inspecting and cleaning the unit’s oil and air filters, checking the batteries, and running the system at least once monthly. You may need to run the machine more regularly during colder seasons.
The Excessive or Improper Use of Extension Cords
Whole-home backup generators typically use an outdoor grounded extension cord with GFCI functionality. Without such a setup, the electricity produced by the machine could go to places it shouldn’t, leaving you vulnerable to electrocution and increasing the risk of a fire hazard in your home.
In that regard, you should keep in mind that old cords may be unsafe and that a cord’s length and wattage can determine the amount of electricity it can handle.
As a general rule, you should check the unit’s manual to have a working idea of how you can operate it without a significant risk of electrocution or a fire hazard.
Running the Generator In an Enclosed Space
Experts in the servicing of backup generators advise homeowners against running their units in enclosed spaces or near the house. This is because the machine’s exhaust contains carbon monoxide, which can have fatal consequences on human beings.
Carbon monoxide is a by-product of combustion, and it can come from any fuel-powered appliance, including generators, water heaters, and furnaces.
With that in mind, it’s recommended that you use your generator in a dry area outdoors, far from the doors, windows, or any other openings in your residence. Many generator service professionals recommend placing the unit at least 25 feet away from your home.
They also recommend leaving at least five feet of space all around the machine too. If your home relies on a portable generator, you should never attempt to run it from there. A trained professional can determine the best location to install a stationary generator.
Powering On and Off Improperly
Ideally, most backup generator models follow the same protocol when powering them on or off. Before powering it on, you should first plug in the extension cords then add any other loads you may need into the extension sockets.
To power off your home’s generator, you should start by unplugging the loads from the cord and then the cord from the unit. Once everything has been unplugged, you can safely switch off the machine. If you’re unsure of how to turn the generator on or off safely, you can refer to the instructions available in the unit’s manual.
Connecting the Generator Directly to the Service Panel
Connecting a generator into your home’s electrical service panel or back feed can create a significant fire hazard. Once the power outage has ended, residual energy left inside the system can travel backward. In most regions in the US, there are rules strictly prohibiting the integration of backup generators with home electrical service panels.
This illegal practice can harm you and your neighbors and any utility workers that may be working on the power supply line. Suppose you insist on connecting your home’s generator into the electrical service panel.
In that case, you should consider requesting a professional electrician to install a manual transfer switch to your portable generator. The control can help switch the source of power between the grid and generator as needed.
Contact Us Today
If you need backup generator solutions near Dillon, SC, don’t hesitate to contact the professionals at Mister Sparky Generators. DIY electrical work can increase the risk of electrocution or create a fire hazard. That’s why you should consider getting our trained, certified, licensed, and insured electricians today.