Is it ok to let a portable generator run out of gas? No.

Recent Deaths Tied to Improper Portable Generator Use

Portable generators are helpful tools that can keep you safe and comfortable during a power outage. Those of us in the Southeast have reason to take them out of the garage each fall: peak Atlantic hurricane season. However, if used incorrectly, generators themselves can pose a safety hazard. In fact, improper generator use killed more people in Louisiana and Texas during 2020’s Hurricane Laura than the storm itself.

In the tragic cases during Laura, generator users tragically died from carbon monoxide poisoning, a result from keeping the gas-powered generator in a garage or poorly ventilated area.

Part of the problem is that generators tend to be used infrequently, in emergency situations. Because of this, many are unaware of precautions needed for safe use.

5 Safety Tips for Portable Generators

Follow these 5 safety guidelines for safe portable generator use:

  1. Read the Safety Manual: Before you get started, familiarize yourself with your generator’s manual for safe operation. Even if you’ve used the generator before, it’s a good habit to keep your manual handy for a quick refresher. Can’t find your owner’s manual? Search the make and model online to find manuals for download.
  2. Run Your Generator Outdoors: Gasoline-powered portable generators release harmful fumes when running. In fact, people have died of carbon monoxide poisoning as a result of running a generator in a poorly-ventilated garage. Use extension cords and keep your portable generator 20 feet away from your house.
  3. Call a Pro Before Connecting to Your Electrical Box: There are all kinds of how-to instructions for powering your home with a portable generator by way of backfeeding. This is a risk, especially if you are not an electrician. Hire a professional to install a transfer switch to tie your generator to your home’s electrical box.
  4. Keep Water Away: Hurricanes bring lots of water with them. Keep your generator dry and away from rain and standing water. This may mean only using your generator when the rain has stopped and the weather allows for it.
  5. Avoid Overload: Portable generators should not run continuously without breaks. Protect your generator’s engine from overheating by giving it time to rest and cool down.

Upgrade to a Standby Generator System

Tired of the constant refueling, loud noise, webs of extension cords, and limited power? Call Cooper. We help Myrtle Beach area residents find long-term backup power solutions with Cummins standby generators.

A residential standby generator automatically converts your whole home to generated power at the first detection of an outage. They tie direct to a fuel source like propane or natural gas so you don’t have to worry about fumes and refueling.

Want to learn more? Call Cooper!