Portable Generator Know How

Generator Buying Tips


When the electricity suddenly goes out, having a portable generator keeps your home (or at least parts of it) powered up. If you’re tempted to buy one, follow these tips from the National Fire Protection Association:

How Big?

Choose a generator that produces enough power to run the combination of lighting, appliances and equipment you absolutely need, including the initial surge when it is turned on. The labels on your appliances and HVAC equipment will tell you how much power it takes to run those devices. For lamps, go with the light bulb wattage.

If your generator doesn’t produce enough power to run everything you want to run, plan to stagger the operating times for various equipment.

WARNING: If your equipment draws more power than the generator can produce, you could blow a fuse on the generator or damage the connected equipment. If you can’t figure out how much power you’ll need, hire an electrician to determine that for you.

Only Use Outside

Never run a portable generator indoors, including inside a garage. The carbon monoxide produced by the generator can kill you. Install one or more carbon monoxide (CO) alarms inside your home.

Let The Generator Cool Before Refueling

Store generator fuel in an approved safety can. Use the type of fuel recommended in the instructions or on the label on the generator.

Store generator fuel outside in a locked shed or other protected area. Don’t store fuel in your garage, basement or anywhere inside your home. Gas vapors can make you ill and they’re a potential fire or explosion hazard.

Use A Transfer Switch To Connect Home Wiring

If you want to power your whole house with a generator, install a transfer switch device. Otherwise, power you put into your home from a generator could backfeed into the main line and cause problems for the electrical utility company, your neighbors or you.

Don’t Expect The Generator To Run Everything

Most home-use generators don’t supply enough amperage to run a furnace, lighting, appliances and all your other electronic equipment at the same time. Use your for the essential appliances and fixtures.

Powered by HomeActions for Laura S. Rossinow, Broker, Keller Williams Realty, Newton, MA