Running your generator safely during a storm

(WTNH) – With a winter storm on the way many people are getting their generators ready, just in case of a power outage. However, generators can be very dangerous.

Mark Holzner is the vice president of Northeast Generator in Bridgeport. He’s been in the business for about 30 years. He says the most common problem he has seen with generators is something the user cannot see at all.

“Carbon monoxide. I’ve seen people take generators and put them in their basement,” said Holzner.

Of course, running a generator inside your house can put your entire family in danger, but there are other mistakes you can make with your generator that can put other people in danger too.

“They leave the main breaker open so they’re backfeeding the grid,” said General Manager Adam Pryor. “The men that are out there trying to turn the power back on or fix the utilities are getting hurt.”

Generators should be at least 15 feet from the house; double check the owner’s manual. Northeast Generator employees try to educate their customers as well. They check the pressure at the home before a storm, since negative pressure could cause more carbon monoxide to come inside. There are things homeowners should check during a snowstorm as well.

“A generator needs air to function in the correct way, so they want to be observant to see that the generator doesn’t get covered in snow,” said Holzner.

Generators have to work even harder to get appliances to start up.  Some people also use so much electricity they overload them, but the machines will sometimes just shut off if that happens.

“The generators are protected,” said Pryor. “They have their own internal protection systems, breakers can trip, that type of thing.  At that point you would have to reduce your use.”