Posts Tagged With: generator safety

Your First Winter Must-Have: A Portable Generator

To celebrate winter, which begins around noon EST on December 21, we’ve put together a short list of essentials every homeowner can use to survive the season with success:

  1. Portable generators
  2. Snow blower
  3. Outdoor and indoor heaters
  4. Ice melt

In this post, we’ll explore the benefits of the portable generator.

Portable GeneratorA generator’s primary function is to provide electrical energy. For homeowners, portable generators provide emergency power when the power to your house is interrupted, during ice storms, blizzards or an extreme natural disaster like a tornado, hurricane or flood. If you live at the end of the neighborhood power grid or in an area where the power is frequently intermittent, using a generator can help save your tech devices from any power surges, keep your pipes from freezing and food from spoiling – at least for short amount of time. People also use generators for recreational purposes, bringing one along while camping, RVing, tailgating or boating.

Generators can be engine-powered, meaning they burn gasoline, diesel or propane to generate electric power, or they can use an inverter that powers the generator from an automobile battery.

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Generator

1. NOISE LEVEL. A running generator can make a lot of noise. It’s a good idea to check for any noise ordinances or restrictions in your area, especially at night. Most generators are labeled with a decibel rating. For every increase in 10 decibels, the noise level is 10 times more powerful. This means that a generator running at 70 decibels is 10 times as loud as a generator that runs at 60 decibels. However, some generators are built for quiet operation and are perfect for recreational use, so if you’re thinking about using a generator for tailgating, as well as, a source of emergency power, choose a quiet generator.

2. FUEL EFFICIENCY AND RUN TIME. Look for a generator that runs on the least amount of fuel for the longest amount of time.

3. QUALITY OF POWER. To avoid shut down or damage, consistent power output is much more preferable than any fluctuations in output, both for the generator and the appliances being powered. Inverter-type generators are ideal for sensitive electronics, such as computers. Also consider using a generator with voltage regulation that is automatic (AVR), digital (DAVR) or intelligent (iAVR). Runyon carries generators made by Honda with a patented CycloConverter technology that offers the benefits of an AVR-type generator, allowing cleaner power with less weight. Honda Super-Quiet EU generators use inverter technology.

4. SIZE AND EASE OF TRANSPORT. How do you plan on moving a generator and where will you store it? Many times, you’ll benefit from compact, lightweight generators that move easily on wheels.

Tips for Operation

  • Read the owner’s manual before operating your generator.
  • Always run your generator outside and keep house doors and windows closed.
  • Allow for plenty of space around the generator for proper ventilation. Do not enclose in a box or other casing. Operate the generator under an open, canopy-like structure instead.
  • Avoid using the generator in wet conditions, such as rain or snow, or near a pool or sprinkler system.
  • Place the generator on a firm, level, dry surface.
  • Never use stale or contaminated gasoline or an oil/gas mixture. Follow manufacturer recommendations.
  • Use heavy-duty extension cords that are specifically designed for outdoor use with the generator.
  • Do not plug the generator into a wall outlet, a practice known as “backfeeding.” This is extremely dangerous and presents an electrocution risk to utility workers and neighbors served by the same utility transformer.
  • Run your generator at least once a month, so it’s ready for use when the power goes out.
  • Be sure to refuel when the engine is off and the generator is in a well-ventilated area.
  • Allow the generator to cool for 15 minutes before transporting or storing it.
  • Store your generator upright in a well-ventilated area.

Safety Considerations

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission warns that portable generators can be very hazardous when installed or used improperly. Hazards may include damaged electrical systems, carbon monoxide poisoning, electrocution and fire. If you start to feel sick, dizzy or weak in your home while using a generator, get to fresh air immediately. Do not delay, because carbon monoxide from generators can kill you in minutes. Consider installing battery-operated CO alarms or plug-in CO alarms with battery back-up on every level of your home.

About the Author

Jack Runyon is the president of Runyon Equipment Rental. He has 21 years of rental experience, as the 3rd generation son to carry on the family tradition and his grandfather’s vision. He prides the company for its devotion to ethics, quality products and customer service. Jack is known for his passion and vast expertise.

Categories: Choosing Equipment, Featured Products | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

4 Smart Guidelines for Hanging Christmas Lights Safely

Decorating your home and yard for the holidays is a festive neighborhood tradition that brings out the designer in all of us. In communities all over the country, so many families vie for “Best Holiday Lights Display” that they’re competing in a national competition on television. That’s right – just this week, ABC premiered a new series called The Great Christmas Light Fight, the first Christmas lights competition of its kind where 20 families transform their homes for the holidays and compete for a total of $250,000 in prizes. Holy Clark Griswold! The show airs through December 23, and will probably give you some fantastic ideas for decorating your own extravaganza.

Christmas Lights

Before you’re ready to flip the switch on your Christmas lights though, here are a few guidelines to help you work smart and stay safe:

  1. Create a Master Design. Break out the camera, some paper and pencil, and get to work. Taking a photograph of your yard from an appropriate distance can keep you focused on the overall look of the display. Choosing a focal point to anchor your design, whether it’s a unique architectural feature of the home or a winding path or the intricate branch patterns of a tree, and start designing from there. Consider including the backyard in your design this year, which you can also enjoy from inside your home. Use a tape measure to determine how many light strands you need, as well as, the distance to the power source. Experts recommend 100 lights for every 1-1/2 feet of tree or shrub you want to cover. The denser the lights, the brighter they shine, so look for light kits where the bulbs are spaced close together, or place two sets of lights side-by-side for the same effect. Choreograph your design using different colored lights to highlight different areas and have fun with the many types of lights available, such as icicles, blinking, LED, light nets and more.
  2. Safety First. This is a big one. Check the roof, shingles, gutters and other surfaces you’ll hang lights on for strength and flexibility. Decorate trees that do not touch power lines. Work with another person, and secure supplies to the ladder safely. Use UL approved extension cords and light kits for outdoor use, and follow manufacturer recommendations on the number of lights you can string together safely. Do not use lights that have frayed or damages cords, and test all lights before you hang them. Choose plastic light clips to easily secure lighting to gutters and other surfaces.
  3. Set a Timer. To save on energy bills, use an outdoor timer to turn lights off later in the evening. These days, timers also come with sensors that automatically turn on at dusk –especially nice when you’re away from home.
  4. Plan the Power Source. In addition to creating a master lighting design, planning the best way to access power for your display is key for safety. Experts suggest that outdoor lights be plugged into circuits protected by ground fault interrupters (GFCIs) that protect against shock. Power stakes are portable and bring the power to where you need it, instead of running too many extension cords all over the place.

If you rent a generator, be sure to follow all manufacturer safety instructions, such as operating it outside, because carbon monoxide exhaust fumes can be fatal. Protect it from rain, snow and wind with a cover made from plywood and 2x4s. Follow state, local and national fire and electric codes and do not connect the generator directly into your home’s main fuse box or circuit panel because it might feed into the electric system and endanger any utility workers in the area. Check County noise ordinances if the generator is noisy, or choose one that’s quiet. Turn off the generator when away from home and while you sleep.

About the Author

Tempe Thompson is a sales and inventory expert at Runyon Equipment Rental. She has over 35 years of experience and has accumulated a tremendous amount of knowledge and expertise. She could talk for hours about how to use all of Runyon’s tools and equipment, in addition to suggesting which type corresponds to a certain application.

Categories: How-To's, Industry Trends | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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