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Jan 26
2015

Portable Generator Use During Winter Power Outages

By: Patti Dinneen

 

We are in the final week of January, and it is time to brace for the first storm of 2015 with capability to paralyze travelers and to leave hundreds of thousands without power. Blizzards that carry ice, high winds, and 2-4+ inches of snow per hour followed by subfreezing temperatures like this storm are also the most likely to leave residents and businesses without power. Freezing temperatures and ice-heavy trees hinder work crews as they travel to and from areas with outages and encounter ice crusted equipment and fallen tree limbs, which only serves to prolong outages.

Portable Generators For Emergency Power

Homeowners without power typically look to portable generators when the power goes out, and that surely make some sense. Portables are less expensive than standby units that operate automatically; however, their portability makes them prone to certain risks when misused or when adequate caution is not taken. Used properly portable generators provide a safe supply of electrical power.

Be Aware of Carbon Monoxide

If you intend on using any kind of generator, whether it be portable or standby, to supply emergency power, you should install carbon monoxide detectors in main living and sleeping areas of your home. Place portable generators at least ten feet away from your home and never place it near a door, window, or vent. Be especially cautious with extension cords that enter the home through a window because the differences in air temperature can cause exhaust fumes to enter the home undetected. In an ideal situation, you should position the unit so the exhaust is moved away from the home instead of toward it. Remember: your generators exhaust can affect your neighbors as well.

This should go without saying: Never operate a generator or other internal combustion engine inside your home, basement, garage or any enclosed space. Carbon monoxide from the exhaust can sicken or kill within a very short time.

Shock Hazards

Working with electrical cords in a wet environment can be dangerous. IF you have to run your portable generator while it is raining at any point, place the unit under a canopy (without sides). Position the generator where it won't stand in pooling water. Plug extension cords or dedicated power cables into the generator when it is turned off, then start your generator and turn the main breaker on after you have made all the connections. Read over the owner's manual to be sure your generator is properly grounded when used as a source of emergency power for your home.

Transfer Switch

You can eliminate the need for extension cords by having a manual transfer switch and inlet box installed by a qualified electrician. The transfer switch will allow you to run the essential circuits you need along with a few lights or small television and it is permanently wired to the inlet box. All you need is the dedicated power cable to connect the generator to the inlet box.

An inlet box with a manual transfer switch allows your furnace to operate to keep the house warm and pipes from freezing in below-freezing temperatures. At the same time, it isolates your home’s electrical system from the electric utility. This protects utility workers from electric shock and prevents damage to your generator when the power is restored.

A portable generator can literally be a lifesaver when used properly. Take the time to plan for its use in an emergency; install a transfer switch and inlet box, have an easy-to-erect canopy to protect the generator, and store at least a few days worth of fuel to keep it running along with enough oil and maintenance supplies to last several weeks.

Kinsley Power Systems

If you rent from Kinsley, you receive power systems expertise and knowledge along with an A-class product. We handle a multitude of jobs, from complex high-voltage applications to one-day special events. We also stock thousands of feet of camlocked cable and auxiliary fuel tanks. We offer unique Emergency Power Planning (EPP) services, which ensure the quickest response in emergency situations. There is no obligation necessary for this service, simply provide your information on our  EPP Worksheet and return it to us. The details of your site will then be entered into our database and you will be in line to receive the fastest possible response when you need it most.

As the exclusive distributor of Kohler Power Systems solutions in the Western New England, Kinsley focuses on the specification, sales and service of permanently installed generators, transfer switches, and switchgear (from 8.5kW home systems to 3.25MW industrial generators).


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Comments

JMBowers - Jan 29 2016
One can ensure a safe and sound appliance working with the installation of a generator by a professional technician. There are many brands of generators that have consistently provided with a best commitment to a superior generators sales NJ.