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No, you should never use a generator on a screened-in porch or covered porch because the fumes from the engine can be dangerous.
Can you run a generator on a porch? I had to ask myself that question after the power went out in my neighborhood. It was an odd question, but we were all so desperate for power and heat that it seemed worth investigating.
Here is what I found:
Can You Run A Generator On A Porch?
No, you should never run a generator on a screened-in porch or covered porch, as the fumes from the generator can be very dangerous.
According to the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA), some 19,000 home structure fires are started by portable generators each year.
Some 4,300 of those fires come from fueling or operating generators without proper ventilation.
The USFA also reports that an anonymous fire department had this to say about generator fumes: “These fumes can travel from an attached porch to the living space by way of a common wall. The generator exhausts vapors in a potentially deadly carbon monoxide, which is a colorless and odorless gas.“
The USFA adds that portable generators should never be used indoors, but if they must be used indoors, make certain that it is in a well-ventilated area.
Can You Run A Generator On An Open Porch?
You should never attempt to use a generator (or any other gas operated unit) in your home, basement, closed garage, screened porch, or building.
The EPA reports that 5,900 people are injured each year by carbon monoxide poisoning. Virtually all of these injuries and deaths occur in the home or other enclosed spaces.
If you must use an emergency generator for your home, follow these guidelines:
How Far Does A Generator Have To Be From A House? Put the generator outside on a non-combustible surface at least 20 feet away from your home in a well ventilated area.
Generator Saftey Tips
- Keep the generator in an open area with fresh air circulating around it.
- Never use a generator inside or near any air-tight space, such as a basement or garage, even if doors and windows are open.
- Only allow adults to refuel generators.
- Keep children away from them at all times!
- When turning off your generator, use a dedicated electrical switch, or plug it directly into a wall receptacle.
- Never turn off the generator by simply pulling the cord out of an outlet.
Take extra care when using a portable generator in your home during very hot weather conditions. Since these generators run hotter they generate more emissions that can harm you and cause environmental damage!
You should not use a generator or any electrical device that is being affected by the heat.
If you feel sick, dizzy, lightheaded, nauseous, headachy or have other flu-like symptoms when using your emergency power supply, stop what you are doing immediately and evacuate to fresh air.
If these symptoms don’t go away after you get out into fresh air, call your doctor or go to the nearest emergency room.
If you are using a generator in your home and you begin to feel ill, stop using the generator immediately and evacuate your home until it is possible for local utility companies or fire departments to come check out what is happening.
Can You Run A Generator Outside?
Yes, outdoors is the safest and best place to run a portable generator because it is well ventelated.
However there are certain things to know about doing it. If you live in an area that doesn’t get much wind or rain then it’s an easy task, but if you live where there is plenty of both then it’s not always as simple as just plugging in a power cord and flipping on the switch.
Here are some guidelines to consider before setting up a power source for your home.
If you are using the generator only occasionally, you will have to provide your own storage for fuel. This can be in the form of gas or diesel cans.
The benefit of using cans is that it’s easy to transport just a few gallons at a time if necessary, and you can use them in multiple generators if you have several.
If the generator is only going to be used for emergencies, then gasoline may last quite a while in storage depending on how old it is.
Using gas that has been sitting for 6 months or more could cause damage to the engine of the generator so for longer term storage, diesel is a better choice. Where gasoline goes bad fairly quickly, diesel has a much longer shelf life of approximately two years.
Many generators come with a fuel shut-off feature to keep the carburetor from getting contaminated by dirt and water in the gas tank which could cause damage to the engine.
For many people, being able to power appliances in their home is often seen as a priority when acquiring a generator. So, the first question should be how much wattage do you need?
When buying appliances to use with your generator it’s important to determine the total energy requirement for all of your appliances. If just one appliance alone requires 3 kW and you try to run that appliance on a generator capable of only 1.2 kW, you will quickly learn it’s not going to work very well.
To avoid this problem, determine how much watts each appliance uses and add up the total wattage of everything you want to power at one time. If there are additional appliances like a refrigerator or freezer that use a lot of juice, be sure to include them in your calculations.
Never use a generator on a porch, as the fumes from the device can be highly harmful. A generator should never be placed less than 20 feet from your home.