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  • Richard Johnson

Do's and Don'ts of First Time Generator Use

Updated: May 19, 2020

Generators make life easier. They provide distinctive service for people who are on the move and need to be prepared for anything. Purchasing a generator unit for the first time can be an intimidating and overwhelming process. But, once you become familiar with and learn how to properly operate the unit, you will feel at ease knowing you have a backup plan when any unforeseen circumstances arise.

While a generator is helpful, it’s also a tremendously complex piece of equipment. Keep in mind the following tips to help you use your generator properly, ensure safe practices by avoiding damage to the generator and potential injury to you and your family.

First time generator user dos

Calculate your needs. As a first time generator user, you should know what your expectations are for the unit. Knowing how much power you expect the unit to be able to support will help you choose the proper unit. When calculating the size of the generator needed, be mindful of: square footage of the home, HVAC system, number of appliances, and differentials in plumbing (e.g., well pump, sump pump, gas water heater versus electric water heater). Choosing a unit that has enough output to meet your needs is imperative.

Get prepared. A backup generator isn’t something that is used frequently. Because of this, we tend to not take notice or pay attention until the unexpected time of need. To prevent unpreparedness, take ample time to learn about your unit and how to properly control it. Follow the manufacturer guidelines and learn how to operate the unit from start to finish before you’re in a time of need.

Engage in safe practices. Having the necessary knowledge is key to safety and proper usage. Along with proper usage comes proper equipment for what is needed to run the unit. Generators can connect with extension cords, generator cords, and power transfer systems. Ensure that all cords are in good condition and are grounded properly. These practices help prevent electric shock and/or fire.

First time generator user don’ts

Avoid wet environments. Electrocution can occur when the unit is improperly used in wet conditions. When setting up the generator, find a location where the unit is undercover and will remain dry throughout the duration of its use. It’s also important to remember to not operate or touch the generator with damp or wet hands.

Run generator outside.

One of the most common dangers of using a backup generator as a first time user is the emission of carbon monoxide. To avoid this, running the generator outside mitigates the problem. This includes not setting up the unit in the basement or inside of your garage.

Avoid backfeeding. Backfeeding occurs when the generator is plugged back into the electrical system of the structure instead of using a transfer switch. A transfer switch is the only safe way to connect a backup generator directly to your home. Backfeeding can create an extremely dangerous situation in your home and through the utility lines.

While being a first-time generator user can be overwhelming, once you are comfortable with the operation of the machine, the benefits and the peace of mind that you will receive makes a world of difference. Along with gaining the necessary knowledge and skill set, finding a dependable brand provides assurance that your power will remain intact throughout unforeseen circumstances. Trusting a company and brand is imperative, especially when making a hefty investment into a product. REJohnson swears by Kohler Generators. Not only do they sell Kohler generators, but they also offer full-service maintenance. For more information about generators and how to properly operate them, contact RE Johnson today!

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