Tips for Running a Generator During a Power Outage

September 15, 2020 11:07 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

Portable generators can come in very handy if you lose power from your municipal power grid. Of course, you must be certain to do so safely so you can avoid health risks or potential damage to your home.

Here are a few tips from our certified electrical contractors in Oakdale, CA for properly using your generator during a power outage.


  • Always make sure you follow all of the directions included in the manual provided by the manufacturer.
  • Never use a portable generator in an indoor location such as a garage, basement, crawl space or other area without proper ventilation. Even opening windows or using fans will not give you sufficient ventilation. Generators release fumes and carbon monoxide that could cause illness or death.
  • Instead, you should place the generator outdoors, away from any doors, windows or vents. Keep it at least 20 feet away from buildings if possible.
  • Make sure you have a carbon monoxide detector inside your home.
  • Keep the equipment dry to avoid electrocution.
  • If you begin to feel sick, weak or dizzy while you’re using the generator, make sure you get immediate fresh air.

Refueling and storage

  • Always make sure the generator is turned off and cool before you add more fuel, as gasoline that comes into contact with hot areas on the equipment could start on fire.
  • All fuel for the generator should be stored in an approved safety can away from living areas, ideally in a locked shed or detached garage.
  • Use the type of fuel recommended in the instructions that come with the generator.

Power output

  • Take the proper steps to avoid overloading your generator. Determine the amount of power you need to operate the most important appliances and equipment in your home based on power requirements listed on appliance and equipment labels and on light bulbs. Ask an electrician for help as needed.
  • Make sure your generator always creates more power than will be drawn by the things that will be connected to it. If the generator does not produce enough power to turn on everything and operate it at once, you’ll need to stagger how you use your equipment and prioritize use accordingly.
  • Failure to ensure you have enough power output for the appliances and devices you’ll be operating in your home can result in you blowing a fuse on the generator or potentially damaging the equipment that’s been connected to it.


  • You can plug appliances directly into the generator, or use a heavy-duty extension cord rated for the outdoors with watts or amps that are at least equal to the connected appliance loads inside your home.
  • If you are going to connect the generator to your home’s wiring, you should have an electrician install a power transfer switch for safety.
  • Never try to power your house wiring by plugging the generator into a wall outlet, as this can result in back feeding.

For more information about how to properly and safely use a generator during a power outage, contact the certified electrical contractors in Oakdale, CA at Wilkinson Electric Inc. today.

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