Generators come in many forms, like industrial diesel generator sets and portable inverter generators for camping, but they all provide a steady source of power for our homes, businesses, industries and other needs. A generator set allows for continuity of operations in the event the main power connection fails. They are also widely utilised in areas with unreliable or nonexistent power connectivity. Generators are important in ensuring that our quality of life is maintained, and the machine is utilised by everyone from ordinary homeowners to disaster relief organisations.
Ever since widespread electrification introduced the world to the wonders of electricity, people have relied more and more on advanced machinery and electronics to improve their standard of living. Home appliances have also made domestic life more secure and convenient. Freezers and refrigerators have extended the shelf life of food way beyond than what was possible only a century ago. Heaters and air conditioners have kept us comfortable despite extreme heat and cold. Air traffic systems have allowed hundreds of millions of people to travel quickly and safely. These are just some of the machines and systems that improve our everyday life and depend on electricity to function.
All that power entails a lot of responsibility on the user’s part. It is critical that operators follow stringent safety precautions and guidelines to ensure a safe and steady flow of power. Whether at home, at the workplace or out camping in the great outdoors, you should read and understand these simple rules to keep everyone safe and comfortable.
1. Read the manual
All operators should read the accompanying user manual and safety documentation before taking the generator online. Anyone who has not read the required material is not allowed to operate the generator.
The manual contains everything you need to know about the generator: Technical specifications, operating instructions, safety precautions and limitations. This is for the operator’s benefit. Similarly, the operator should also understand and heed all warning labels.
2. Understand your needs
Generators vary in size and rated output. Some generator sets produce less power than others. When using a generator, always take note of all the devices and appliances that will be powered by the generator. This is essential as the generator might overload and go offline, or worse, explode.
Conversely, you could have a generator that produces way too much power for your needs. Standard generators have a constant output that is not changeable. If you only consume 10% of the generator’s rated output, you’re still paying for the remaining 90%.
3. Keep it dry
One of the most important things the operator needs to do is to keep the generator set dry. The generator should be positioned away from possible sources of moisture. Similarly, the generator should not be used if it is outdoors and the weather conditions are wet or rainy.
The generator should ideally be protected by an open tent or canopy. If the generator is online, do not attempt to power appliances and devices that have been exposed to moisture.
Electricity and water do not mix well. Moisture can damage the generator and the devices, or worse, electrocute the people near the set.
4. Ensure proper ventilation
Do not use a generator in enclosed spaces or indoors. Generators sets emit fumes that contain amounts of carbon monoxide, an invisible, odourless gas that is deadly in huge quantities. The gas, if left to gather, can quickly kill a person.
If the generator is outdoors, it should be positioned away from indoor entry points like vents, windows and doors. Carbon monoxide has no scent, which has given rise to the name “silent killer.” Anyone who feels dizzy near a generator should immediately leave and inform the operator.
5. Refuel properly
Eventually, the generator will need refuelling if the operation has to be extended. The generator should not be refuelled if it is online, or still hot if turned off. The machine should cool down on its own before it can be refuelled. The diesel or petrol might ignite if it comes into contact with the hot generator.