PURCHASING A GENERATOR
If you choose to buy a generator for use in case of power outage, be sure to buy one that is listed with the Underwriter's Laboratory (UL) of Factory Mutual (FM). Look at the labels on lighting, appliances and equipment that you plan to connect to the generator to determine the amount of power that will be needed to operate the needed equipment.
The wattage of a light bulb indicates the power needed to light it. Appliances and equipment usually have labels that have the power requirements on them. Choose a generator that has an excess of the amount of power that you think you will need. You should also allow for the initial power surge that will occur when the generator is turned on. Also plan to stagger the operating times for various equipment.
If you are unable to determine the amount of power that you may need, ask an electrician to determine it for you. You might blow a fuse or damage the connected appliance or equipment if you attempt to draw more power than the generator can produce.
USING A GENERATOR
Follow the directions supplied with the generator. Never us a portable generator inside a building. Adequate ventilation is necessary and proper refueling practices must be follwed.
It is a good idea to install one of more Carbon Monoxide alarms inside your house. Many home fires and deaths have occurred from carbon monoxide due to improper generator use.
Be sure to let the generator cool down before refueling. Store generator fuel outside in a locked garage or shed. Do not store fuel in a garage, basement or anywhere inside the house. Vapors can be released that may cause illness and are a potential fire hazard.
Do not hook up a generator directly to your home's wiring. Connect the equipment to be powered directly to the outlets on the generator.
Simply connecting a cord from the generator to a point on the permenent wiring system and backfeeding power is an unsafe method to supply a building during a power outage. Improper connection methods not only endanger the building occupants, but pose a serious threat to electric utility workers as well.