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There are various types of generators, some of which are safer than others. The automatic standby backup generators installed by Valley Home Services are exceptionally safe, largely because they’re static, outdoor units that aren’t meant to be moved. They connect to your home’s power panel permanently to immediately provide electricity if you experience a service outage. You don’t have to move them, wire them to your electric panel, or pour in fuel during an outage.

Automatic standby generators like the ones we install are usually natural gas or propane-powered. The fuel supplies can be drawn from either local utilities or large storage tanks, depending on your home’s access, which means they can likely run uninterrupted for days. This is far safer than portable units powered by gasoline or diesel, both of which are highly flammable, can be spilled and must be refilled frequently.

Which Is Safer: Portable Generators or Standby Generators?

Portable generators, like those used on a job site, when you’re camping/hunting or performing outdoor tasks that require power, are less safe than standby generators. Many people use these generators for supplemental power or to power necessities during a power outage. Anyone can go to a hardware store and buy or rent a portable generator. Unlike standby generators, they don’t need to be installed or set up by professionals.

Here are more safety risks of portable generators:

Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Risk

Portable generators pose a significant risk of carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning, especially if they’re used indoors. Unfortunately, this is a common occurrence when portable units are used during power outages, since they usually occur during inclement weather events.

In those situations, people often don’t want to go outside, so they’re tempted to run a portable generator inside their home or garage. They may even think if they open windows or leave the garage door open there will be enough ventilation to run it safely. This is incorrect. It is never possible to run a portable generator indoors safely.

In fact, portable generators shouldn’t be used outside if it’s in a partially enclosed space. Portable generators should only be run when they’re completely outside and at least 20 feet away from any windows, doors, or vents in your home. People also shouldn’t loiter around or near a portable generator as they’ll still be at risk of breathing in dangerous levels of carbon monoxide.

Make sure you have a generator cord long enough to reach wherever it is you need the power to ensure there’s adequate distance for safe use.

Electrocution and Shock Risk

As with any device generating power, there are potential electrocution risks with generators – especially portable generators. Since you must physically refuel and operate a portable generator each time you want to use it, there are more chances for you to be shocked.

You can use a portable generator to power your home if you have a transfer switch or interlock device that connects to your home’s electrical panel. This process can be dangerous for you and your home’s electrical systems and appliances. Mistakes can result in injury or damage. If moisture gets where it shouldn’t be during the transfer process, injury and damage are more likely.

Fire and Burn Risk

As with any appliance that uses fossil fuels for power, fires are also a potential risk. In addition to being powered by a highly flammable liquid, portable generators get quite hot when in use. Never try to refuel a generator while it’s hot. Overfilling the fuel tank can cause fires. Remember, the fuel will expand as it gets hotter.

If you are using a portable generator, make sure it has three to four feet of clearance on all sides, not just to reduce fire risks but also for more effective cooling. Clearance also allows for better ventilation and lowers the risk of CO poisoning from the exhaust.

Don’t Risk Portable Generators. Call Our Generator Experts About Safe Standby Generators for Your Home

Valley Home Services installs automatic standby generators that are reliable, efficient and safe. With our backup generators, you’ll never need to worry about braving a blizzard or storm to connect a portable generator to your home.

When you depend on the professionals at Valley Home Services to install a permanent backup power system for your home, you can trust it will function properly and safely for years to come. Call us at (800) 316-7815 to schedule a standby generator consultation and estimate.