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The Right Connection: Generator Safety Tips

Photo of a portable, plug-in electric generator

Your electric power is generally reliable, but outages do happen. Extended outages can be inconvenient or uncomfortable, depending on the weather.

For many homeowners, including those with security or medical issues, reliable backup power is more than just a luxury. These concerns, combined with a growing dependence on electronic gadgets, has increased interest in backup generators. However, proper generator selection and operation is critical for the safety of your home and family.

Selecting a generator

There are two basic types of generators available: portable and standby. Portable generators are fueled by gasoline, diesel or propane. Portable units are easy to use and mobile. However, they provide limited power and must be refueled periodically.

Standby units are mounted on a concrete pad outside the home, like an air conditioning unit. The generator is connected to the home by an automatic transfer switch (ATS). Standby units are typically fueled by natural gas. They turn on automatically and don't require refilling. Standby units, however, are typically more expensive.