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With generators in demand, tips for safe use

September 12, 2018 GMT

Generators are in demand as Hurricane Florence approaches, and lots of people are using them for the first time.

Before you crank one up, know they can quickly produce large amounts of carbon monoxide. That colorless, odorless gas can quickly knock you out, even kill you.

Generators must be placed outside and at least 15 feet from your home with the exhaust pointed away.

Generators also come with electrical dangers: Many people don’t realize the machines must be kept dry, and they need to be covered when it’s raining or snowing.

Don’t connect a generator directly to your circuit box or try to power the house wiring by plugging the machine directly into a wall outlet. Known as “backfeeding,” this can create an electrocution risk to utility workers and neighbors.


For those who have had a generator just sitting in the garage, experts say it won’t run if the gas is old. It should be replaced every six months.

Generators work best with a gas stabilizer, and use anywhere from 8 to 22 gallons of gas a day

When you turn on your generator, make sure you use a heavy-duty outdoor power cord.

Let the generator run briefly before plugging in your appliances. Plug them in one at a time, allowing each one to power up and stabilize before plugging in the next.