Backup Power Generator Safety Tips


A backup generator is a power supply option mostly used for emergency situations/ winter storms, hurricanes or other natural disasters that cut the power supply to the home,  like the recent fall storms that caused power outages throughout Pennsylvania small towns, such as Bristol, PA.

Although a generator is a very useful tool to have in these situations to keep your refrigerator running and avoid food waste, as well as keep areas of your house warm in the event of a severe winter storm, it is important to remember that an electric generator releases harmful and silently deadly fumes like carbon monoxide. Another hazard arises from the fact that generators run on gas (diesel or petrol) which is a very combustible resource.

Therefore, safety is an extremely important aspect that cannot be overemphasized when it comes to electric generators. HVAC Philly provides tips below to help ensure safety while using your backup generator:

  1. It is never advisable to utilize the generator indoors or in small confined spaces. This is because of carbon monoxide poisoning. It is a silent killer as CO (carbon monoxide) has no distinguishing smell such that it can remain thick and saturated in the immediate environment for hours, long after the generator has stopped working. It’s advisable then to power the generator far away from doors or any open space through which carbon monoxide could seep into the home or surrounding environment. Another option is to install battery-operated Carbon Monoxide alarms so that at the slightest contamination, you are aware. It also pays to invest in a backup battery so that safety is always a constant.
  2. Never let any water come in contact with the functioning generator as this can lead to electrocution. It is an electric appliance and should be treated with the utmost caution to avoid electric shocks. In the event of rainfall, it should be operated in a dry yet airy environment. Airy so CO doesn’t saturate the atmosphere. Another safety tip is that appliances should be connected to the generator with the right type of wires and connectors i.e. specially made extension cords, so that said appliances don’t get “shorted” or damaged due to the cord not been able to handle the power supply of the generator. The cords must be viable enough without tears or open rips.
  3. Fuel for your generator should be stored at a considerable distance from your home. As previously stated, fuel (diesel & petrol) is extremely combustible and should be treated as such. Also, never refuel the generator when it is still running. Turn the power off, let it cool off and then you can refuel it.
  4. It is advisable never to attempt “back feeding” with the generator. The act of plugging the generator into a wall outlet to power the home puts you and those in the home in danger of electrocution.
  5. Be sure to carefully read the manual that accompanies the generator so that you know the general dos and don’ts.

It is imperative you get a certified electrician to help with the backup generator when expert opinion and help is needed.

Safety is something you owe not only to yourself but those around you and your family. A backup generator is a serious piece of equipment that could do irreparable damage to life and property if not used in the properly.

For more FAQ about your HVAC system, be sure to follow HVAC Philly Blog, for helpful tips and information related to heating repair, heating maintenance and services provided to the greater Philadelphia, Bucks County, PA and Montgomery County, PA areas.

If you are in the greater Philadelphia, Montgomery County,  or Bucks County, PA areas, HVAC Philly offers affordable, professional and expert HVAC services to commercial buildings and homes throughout the area. They have over 20 years experience and rated top ten HVAC companies in Philadelphia.

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Keeping Your Home Safe In The Winter

Heating equipment is a leading cause of home fire deaths. Half of home heating equipment fires are reported during the months of December, January, and February. Some simple steps can prevent most heating-related fires from happening.

For those of us in the Bucks County, PA area the recent fire in Peddler’s Village sent a shock-wave throughout our community.  Although the fire was not started through any heating or faulty HVAC reasoning, it certainly makes us more aware of potential hazards in the winter months with heating our homes.  It is vitally important to be cautious and hyper vigilant in making sure your Heater or furnace are working properly and maintained.


Heating safety tips from HVAC Philly to keep your Bucks County,PA home safe:

Heating equipment is a leading cause of home fire deaths. Half of home heating equipment fires are reported during the months of December, January, and February. Some simple steps can prevent most heating-related fires from happening.

  • Keep anything that can burn at least three feet away from heating equipment, like the furnace, fireplace, wood stove, or portable space heater.
  • Have a three-foot “kid-free zone” around open fires and space heaters.
  • Never use your oven to heat your home.
  • Have a qualified professional, like HVAC Philly, install stationary space heating equipment, water heaters or central heating equipment according to the local codes and manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Have heating equipment and chimneys cleaned and inspected every year by a qualified professional.
  • Remember to turn portable heaters off when leaving the room or going to bed.
  • Always use the right kind of fuel, specified by the manufacturer, for fuel burning space heaters.
  • Make sure the fireplace has a sturdy screen to stop sparks from flying into the room. Ashes should be cool before putting them in a metal container. Keep the container a safe distance away from your home.
  • Test smoke alarms at least once a month.

Protect your home from carbon monoxide poisoning:

Carbon monoxide poisoning is extremely dangerous. The gas has the potential to cause people to experience nausea, chest pain, extreme dizziness and numerous other symptoms. Medical attention needs to be sought immediately if you believe you have inhaled large quantities of this substance.

Here are some things you can do to lower your family’s risk to coming into contact with this gas.

Install Alarms

You should install carbon monoxide alarms on every floor of your home, and you should ensure a backup battery is present. This will allow it to work even if your home experiences a power outage.

Get Annual Inspections

Gas leaks are most likely to come from your HVAC system. If you suspect a dangerous gas is being emitted, then you definitely do not want to inspect the area yourself. Contact a professional such as HVAC Philly in the Bucks County, PA area,  who has dealt with these systems before. Even if nothing is discovered, you will have peace of mind that everything is OK.

Turn Your Heater off if You Suspect a Leak 

Unfortunately, this gas is completely odorless and colorless. Therefore, it is almost impossible to detect until it started creating severe health problems. People in the vicinity are going to experience flu-like symptoms. One way to tell if the symptoms are from a poisoning or from an actual flu is to see how you feel once you leave the house. If you feel completely fine elsewhere and only feel awful at home, then there is probably a leak.

Carbon monoxide can be deadly, but with proper vigilance, you can stay one step ahead of it. Keep your family out of harm’s way and take essential precautionary measures to stay safe!

Contact HVAC Philly, online or by phone 215-725-6111 with any questions or concerns.