More and more people are purchasing standby or backup generators for their homes and businesses. These can be a big help during power outages, but safety should be a major concern. If you are going to have the generator feed your home directly, you should contact a licensed electrical contractor to wire the unit safely and according to the Electrical Code. This will help prevent dangerous situations from happening to you and the electrical personnel restoring power.

When it comes to portable generators, always use caution when operating the unit. Improper use can cause problems and injury to electrical utility workers as a result of “feedback” to the utility’s electrical distribution systems.


  • Familiarize yourself with the generator before using it. Don’t try to figure it out during an emergency.
  • After reading the owner’s manual, pay attention to the number of receptacles available on the generator.
  • Never overload a generator by using a power strip or plugging too many cords into it. Remember one extension cord per appliance per outlet.
  • To avoid damage to the generator, use a heavy-duty extension cord. The tag on the cord must be rated for the total electrical load you need.
  • Keep a fully-charged, approved fire extinguisher nearby. Do not smoke or store fuel near the generator while it’s running.
  • Never place a portable generator inside your home or any enclosed space. Generators produce deadly carbon monoxide and should be placed at least 25 feet away from your home.