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Portable generators: a lifesaver or a real killer?

Improper hookup or use can be hazardous

When a power failure occurs, due to a storm, equipment failure or accident, a properly sized and well-maintained standby generator can be a lifesaver when used properly.

But many people turn to a portable generator as a temporary solution to a power outage without knowing the risks.

Know how to use a generator safely:

  • Only operate a generator outside as they can create dangerous levels of toxic carbon monoxide very quickly.
  • Never use a generator in an attached garage, even with the door wide open.
  • Place generators so that exhaust fumes can’t enter the home through windows, doors, vents or other openings in the building.
  • Use a licensed electrician for the electrical work that connects your transfer switch to the electrical system. Make sure all codes are met and necessary inspections are completed.
  • Use only approved electrical equipment.
  • The transfer switch sits between your essential loads panel and your main service panel. It’s mandatory under the Canadian Electrical Code. The transfer switch ensures that the generator cannot feed power back into the hydro lines. If that happened, power from the generator could put Hydro crews working on the lines at risk of injury.

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