4 Electrical Safety Tips for Residential Generator Use

During routine maintenance or for emergency outages, electrical companies rely on temporary power to supply electricity to their customers. 

These companies often turn to partners like Sunbelt Rentals for their expertise, including generator selection and safe installation and use. Safety is particularly important since, in many cases, one larger generator may supply electricity to several houses, magnifying the need to protect a number of residents. 

In other situations, a resident may choose to rent a smaller generator for a single house for a specific event, such as tree service that requires the electricity to be turned off for a period of time. 

For any use of generators in residential areas, there are key tips to consider to maintain electrical and general safety. 

Electrical safety

  1. Verify voltage and phase requirements. Residential homes are powered by 120-volt, single phase electricity, with the exception of 240-volt service to operate some washers, dryers, or hot water heaters. Generators are capable of providing much higher voltages, so it’s critical not to overmatch the power to that of the home or homes. Improper voltage and/or the number of phases can damage the generator and cause potential injury to untrained individuals. 
  2. Verify the generator is properly grounded and connected. The generator should always be grounded in accordance to the National Electrical Code (NEC) or local electrical codes. Tying in of the generator should be completed only by a certified electrician. Backfeeding to a utility system can cause electrocution, shock, and/or property damage. Do not connect to any building’s electrical system except through an approved device.
  3. Isolate generators. Generators should be isolated so untrained persons do not try to trouble shoot or adjust settings on the equipment. Place fencing and warning signs to deter residents from interfering with the equipment.
  4. Protect generator cables. In addition to generator cables being a tripping hazard, they can also be an electrical hazard if they become frayed or cracked. Use cable ramps to protect the cables from damage, particularly if they will be strung across the road. Where necessary by location, be certain to use ADA compliant ramps. 

Sunbelt Rentals can help provide safe generator power solutions for residential areas. Contact our team at 1-800-667-9328 or click here to learn more. 


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