Generator Safety and Maintenance
San Patricio Electric Cooperative strives to serve our members with reliable electricity. However, power outages do occur—especially during hurricane season. Storms are a common occurrence in our service area, so it’s important to take safety precautions.
During power outages, we understand that our members may use backup generators in their home or business. Generators can be a great tool to keep your home powered during an outage. And for those with life-saving medical equipment, a generator could be essential. If you do use a generator, please take the necessary safety precautions.
- Practice safe installation. If you want to connect your backup generator to your home’s electrical system, contact a certified electrician. Make sure the electrician has installed an approved automatic transfer switch before turning on your generator. This switch will disconnect your home’s wiring from SPEC’s electric lines before activating the generator. If you do not have this switch, it could create a dangerous backfeed that might be fatal to linemen making repairs.
- Use a heavy-duty extension cord. If you do not have a transfer switch, never plug your generator directly into the wiring in your home. Instead, run an extension cord from the generator to your home and plug your appliances in there. However, be careful not to overload the generator. Any appliances you’re powering should not exceed the wattage your generator is rated for.
- Put your generator in a safe place. Position your generator in a well-ventilated area (outside) and at least 15-feet from an open window. Make sure your generator is firmly grounded and is a dry environment. Do not touch your generator with wet hands or use generator during rainy or wet conditions unless it is protected from the elements.
- Avoid Carbon Monoxide exposure. Keep your generator in a well-ventilated area to ensure the safety of yourself and others. Generators exhaust carbon monoxide, sometimes in fatal quantities. If you are feeling dizzy, weak or sick, get fresh air right away. Only use your generator when absolutely necessary.
- Beware of fire hazards. Generators are typically fueled by gasoline, natural gas or propane, all of which is highly ignitable. Make sure you allow your generator to cool before refueling it. Store and label fuel in organized containers that allow ventilation. Keep fuel containers away from fire-producing or heat-generating devices. Do not store fuel near living areas.
- Inspect. Schedule maintenance on your generators annually, particularly before hurricane season. Routine maintenance and fresh fuel will ensure that your generator will work reliably when the time comes.