Americas Generators is a supplier of diesel generators, standby generators, mobile generators, emergency generators, and marine generators.
Portable Generator Hazards
Portable generators are useful when temporary or remote electric power is
needed, but they also can be hazardous. The primary hazards to avoid when using
a generator are carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning from the toxic engine exhaust,
electric shock or electrocution, and fire.
Every year, people die in incidents related to portable generator use. Most of
the incidents associated with portable generators reported to CPSC involve CO
poisoning from generators used indoors or in partially-enclosed spaces.
Carbon Monoxide Hazards
NEVER USE A GENERATOR IN ENCLOSED OR PARTIALLY-ENCLOSED SPACES.
Generators can produce high levels of CO very quickly. When you use a portable
generator, remember that you cannot smell or see CO. Even if you can’t smell
exhaust fumes, you may still be exposed to CO.
If you start to feel sick, dizzy, or weak while using a generator, get to fresh air RIGHT AWAY. DO NOT DELAY. The CO from generators can rapidly lead to full incapacitation and death.
If you experience serious symptoms, get medical attention immediately. Inform medical staff that CO poisoning is suspected. If you experienced symptoms while indoors, have someone call the fire department to determine when it is safe to re-enter the building.
Follow these safety tips to protect against CO poisoning:
- NEVER use a generator indoors, including in homes, garages, basements, crawl spaces, and other enclosed or partially-enclosed areas, even with ventilation. Opening doors and windows or using fans will not prevent CO build-up in the home.
- Follow the instructions that come with your generator. Locate the unit outdoors and away from doors, windows, and vents that could allow CO to come indoors.
- Install battery-operated CO alarms or plug-in CO alarms with battery back-up in your home, according to the manufacturer’s installation instructions. The CO alarms should be certified to the requirements of the latest safety standards for CO alarms (UL 2034, IAS 6-96, or CSA 6.19.01).
- Test your CO alarms frequently and replace dead batteries.
Follow these tips to protect against shock and electrocution:
- Keep the generator dry and do not use in rain or wet conditions. To protect from moisture, operate it on a dry surface under an open, canopy-like structure. Dry your hands if wet before touching the generator.
- Plug appliances directly into the generator. Or, use a heavy duty, outdoor-rated extension cord that is rated (in watts or amps) at least equal to the sum of the connected appliance loads. Check that the entire cord is free of cuts or tears and that the plug has all three prongs, especially a grounding pin.
- NEVER try to power the house wiring by plugging the generator into a wall outlet, a practice known as “backfeeding.” This is an extremely dangerous practice that presents an electrocution risk to utility workers and neighbors served by the same utility transformer. It also bypasses some of the built-in household circuit protection devices.
- If you must connect the generator to the house wiring to power appliances, have a qualified electrician install the appropriate equipment in accordance with local electrical codes. Or, check with your utility company to see if it can install an appropriate power transfer switch.
- For power outages, permanently installed stationary generators are better suited for providing backup power to the home. Even a properly connected portable generator can become overloaded. This may result in overheating or stressing the generator components, possibly leading to a generator failure.
Follow these tips to prevent fires:
- Never store fuel for your generator in the home. Gasoline, propane, kerosene, and other flammable liquids should be stored outside of living areas in properly-labeled, non-glass safety containers. Do not store them near a fuel-burning appliance, such as a natural gas water heater in a garage. If the fuel is spilled or the container is not sealed properly, invisible vapors from the fuel can travel along the ground and can be ignited by the appliance’s pilot light or by arcs from electric switches in the appliance.
- Before refueling the generator, turn it off and let it cool down. Gasoline spilled on hot engine parts could ignite.
The benefits of Stand-by Generators
Another potentially devastating hurricane season is at the front door, and
many business owners and homeowners have yet to recover from the last two seasons.
Unfortunately, Mother Nature does not care. One thing that is certain, the 2006
hurricane season is expected to bring dangerous weather that will threaten the
region’s power grid. When the lights go out, homeowners suffer through
uncomfortable conditions and businesses are faced with a significant loss of
revenue – sometimes forcing bankruptcy.
Americas Generators can help.
As the nation’s leading authority on backup power generators, the company
carries a full supply of inventory, unlike other generator companies which take
up to 420 days for order fulfillment. And being located in Miami, Americas
Generators is acutely aware of the necessity of backup power during hurricane
season. The company helped regional businesses keep their doors open following
the devastating hurricanes in recent years, and it is ready with full inventory
again for the 2006 season.
Following are some important things to keep in mind when choosing a generator manufacturer, as well as important tips on generator safety.
People should consider stand-by generators to protect the following:
- Keep homes powered up, safe and comfortable
- Computer networks and systems
- Internet connections
- Communications systems including telephones
- Cash register machines
- Plant operations and potable water systems
- Refrigeration machines to keep inventory from spoiling
Stand-by generators can provide the following features
- Quick start time: 10 seconds or less compared to the 2-minute delay other fuel sources generate.
- Disaster utility: Stand-by generators provide continuous power during a blackout or outage caused by tornadoes, hurricanes and other natural disasters.
- Reliable: Stand-by generators restore power quickly and continuously to small businesses in any industry, as well as homes in every neighborhood.
- Availability: Unlike most generator suppliers, Americas Generators has a full stock of inventory ready for immediate shipment to any part of Florida and the country.
Frequently asked questions:
What is the most common type of generator for a small business?
Small business owners looking for a dependable backup power source in the event
of an extended loss of utility power will want a generator model with an
overhead valve (OHV) or overhead valve industrial (OVHI) engine. These are
designed for longer running time, quieter operation and extended engine life.
Other features include spin-on engine oil filter, automatic voltage regulation
(AVR), idle control and 12-volt charging capability. You will also need enough
wattage to run appliances you deem necessary in an emergency, usually 3,500-plus
What is the overall impact of temporary loss of electricity to a small business?
Small businesses can suffer from loss of productivity, inventory spoilage, machine downtime, computer network downtime, and employee safety issues.
What are the basic safety tips for using portable generators?
- Use the appropriate sized power cords recommended by the manufacturer to carry the electrical load.
- Never run cords underneath rugs or carpets where heat could build up or a damaged cord could go unnoticed.
- Never connect generators to another power source such as power lines. The back-feed of electricity can be fatal.
- To avoid the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning, never run a generator in an enclosed space, such as a basement, connected garage or enclosed porch.