How to Properly Operate a Generator When the Power Goes Out

May 8, 2018, 2:04 pm EST | Share:

CHARLESTON, SC (FOX 24 NEWS NOW) — As the Lowcountry moves closer to the start of hurricane season, we’re taking a closer look at the safety aspect of one very important piece of hurricane preparedness equipment; the generator.

These gas-powered machines can help run your home’s appliances, including refrigerator, furnace, lighting and other essentials when the power is out.

However, proper installment and use of a generator is essential to keeping you and your family safe.

We spoke with Jonathan Green from Northern Tool + Equipment about the do’s and don’ts of running your generator when the next storm hits and keeping it maintained all year long.


– Never run a generator in an enclosed space or indoors, that includes a carport, garage or your home’s front or back porch. Always place the generator at least 15 feet from the house and away from doors and windows.

– Do not a portable generator in the rain. Unless you properly cover and vent it.

– Before refueling, turn off a gasoline-powered generator and let it cool. Gasoline spilled on hot engine parts can ignite.

– Stock up on extra gasoline and store it properly. When you think you’ll need to use the generator for an extended time, you’ll want extra fuel on hand.

– Don’t attempt to backfeed your house. That means trying to power your home’s wiring by plugging the generator into a wall outlet. This is dangerous and presents an electrocution risk to utility workers and neighbors served by the same utility transformer. It also bypasses some of the built-in household circuit protection devices, so you could end up frying some of your electronics or starting an electrical fire.