At Home with Lisa: Generator Safety

We have a generator that lives in the garage and only comes out during long-term power failures. My boyfriend found it on sale a long time ago and I can only remember using it once. We used it during the windstorm in Spokane about five years ago when we were out of power for a week. It’s dusty and dirty. Most of the time I don’t even think about it and hope we don’t have to pull it out to use.

While I was looking through Avista’s website this week, I came across a generator safety video. It offered some good reminders for when we lose power and need to pull out the generator.

Only run it outdoors. You hear the stories every time there is a long-term power outage. A family loses power and pulls the generator into the house to plug in some heaters. But generators produce carbon monoxide, a colorless and odorless gas that is poisonous and deadly. Please, only run your generator outdoors.

Another tip, one that I didn’t know, is that you shouldn’t wire your generator directly into your home’s electrical system. This can cause an electrical back feed into nearby power lines and injure or kill linemen working on them. I remember during that last windstorm, we used the generator to power a lamp, a space heater and the television.

Also, if you don’t have a generator, don’t use an extension cord to power your home from another building. This is a fire hazard and also presents a risk of electrocution.

It’s nice that it is fairly rare to have a long-term power outage like we did five years ago, and I really hope we go another year without having to pull out that generator.

Lisa, an Avista customer, bought her 1910 house because she loved the old-world character, some of which doesn’t make her house very energy efficient. Lisa is sharing her experience on taking some simple do-it-yourself improvements to inspire others to do the same. You’ll find her stories right here every Tuesday.

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  1. At Home with Lisa
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