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How to hook up a home power generator and stay alive doing it

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2012-11-01 16:54

As millions of people in New York and New Jersey areas are without power a home power generator is an excellent way to take away the fear of losing power. Here is how to get what you need, have it installed right, and then use it safely.

Step 1: Things You Will Need

CO Monitors First

Before you set about finding a home generator and an electrician to install the interface for it, be sure that you have an operating CO monitor on each level of your home. CO kills Americans each year and the two inexcusable ways this can happen are improperly uses gas grills and portable power generators. If you don’t already have one, you should get a CO monitor that has a digital readout and also stores the peak reading in memory. Kidde’s Nighthawk AC/DC model is one example that has these features. Be sure whatever model you choose has a battery back-up because for this application you must have that in order to stay safe.

CO is a tricky poison. It is odorless, has similar density to air, and it can kill both slowly and also quickly. Read and understand the instructions that come with your CO monitor. They will tell you that if the alarm goes off you should leave the house. Don’t ventilate, don’t look for the problem. Leave the house and then call 911. If you ventilate the home you will make it harder for the fire department to find the source of the problem. Stories abound of homeowners who ignored their CO monitor thinking it was a false alarm. This is not because they were dumb. It is because CO poisoning impairs one’s ability to reason. So don’t. Just leave and call 911.

Fire Extinguisher and Other Equipment

Also buy a fire extinguisher, outdoor lock, 6 foot bicycle lock cable, a funnel, a good quality 5 gallon or larger plastic gas container, a headlamp flashlight, a brown tarp and some bunji cords. The fire extinguisher is to put out the fire you (or someone else) will start if you pour gasoline into the power generator and it spills on the hot manifold. The outdoor lock and cable is to allow you to make it hard for someone to simply carry off your generator, and the brown tarp will keep the generator dry and ice free during the storm. Brown is better than blue because it calls less attention to your little gem. The headlamp flashlight allows you to see in the dark when you will start the generator after the power goes out. I’m betting you know why you need a funnel and gas container.

Step 2: Buy a home generator and an Interface

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