When a hurricane or tropical storm hits the Central Florida area, you can be sure power outages will follow, some of which can drag on for weeks. Due to that scenario, many people have chosen to purchase a portable generator. Maybe you are one of them.
While portable generators are convenient and can bring relief during power outages, they are not always used correctly. Carbon monoxide poisoning is all too common with portable generators. Here are several ways you can be sure you are safe when using your portable generator.
Always use your portable generator outside. Exhaust fumes from your portable generator will fill your house with carbon monoxide and slowly poison you, your family, and any pets you may have. This rule also applies to your garage, attic, and basement.
It is a good idea when using a generator near your house to have carbon monoxide detectors. Strong winds can blow the exhaust from your generator into the house through an open door or window. It would be best to keep your generator at least ten feet from your house, but even at that distance, winds could still blow the exhaust into your home.
Remember, your portable generator produces electricity, and electrocution is a natural hazard. Do not place your generator in a puddle or damp ground that could conduct electricity. Never use your generator when it rains unless you have a shelter that will keep it and the land around it dry, the cover won’t trap carbon monoxide, and it is not flammable.
Backfeeding occurs when a generator is plugged into an outlet like the ones above your kitchen counter or where your lamps are plugged in. If you send power into your home by that method, you send electricity in the wrong direction, and nothing good can come of it.
Frying your TV or computer is possible when you back feed with your portable generator. Backfeeding also sends power out to the nearby power lines and has caused the death of more than one lineman trying to repair the lines.
To avoid back-feeding, you must install a transfer switch before a power outage happens. Make sure a licensed electrician installs the transfer switch so it is installed correctly. The transfer switch will switch the load from the power lines to the generator to ensure power from both sources doesn’t cause severe damage to your home, appliances, and electronics.
There are two types of transfer switches, automatic and manual. Automatic is preferable because it switches when it senses that a power source has been gained or lost.
Don’t ever add gasoline to your portable generator while it is running; not only is it hot and explosive, gas is a conductor of electricity. Pouring gasoline into a portable running generator could end in your electrocution.
Likewise, don’t pour gas into a generator into it when it’s hot, even if it is not running. Portable generators can get very hot and will likely ignite the gasoline being poured. A trip to a burn unit is not why you purchased a portable generator.
With that in mind, keep your portable generator away from anything that off-gasses flammable fumes. Things like solvent-based paints and cleaning products should be kept away from your portable generator. Don’t place any materials that could quickly burn against your generator either; this includes rags soaked in solvents, things like hay or straw, and paper.
If you follow these safety tips, there is no reason that you should not be comfortable in your home while the power is out around you.
If you have any questions about Homeowners Insurance or Generator Safety, contact us via email or at (863) 646-LOCK.Continue Reading
Knowing that you have a car seat to keep your child safe is a priority if you are a parent. You want to ensure your child won’t be seriously injured in a car accident every time you pull out of the driveway. But how can you ensure that your chosen car seat is safe? Here are some tips to help you find your child’s best car seat.
If you are purchasing a seat for an infant, realize that they grow tremendously in the first five years. You are wasting money if you buy a car seat that doesn’t adapt to your child’s growth. Your baby will eventually face forward in its car seat, so think of the car seat as a long-term investment. If it sounds expensive, there are a variety of different-priced car seats available.
If you are busy, you may miss a story on the news about that car seat you just bought is the subject of a recall. How do you find out if there is a recall on your car seat? Go to seatcheck.org to find out if your purchased seat has been recalled. It would be wise to visit the site before buying a car seat. By doing this, you will ensure that your child is safe.
Never place your child in a used car seat. Older car seats may not meet current safety standards for car seats. Used car seats often have missing vital components that will cause the car seat to be less effective or fail. If you don’t want to put your child in danger, never put a used car seat in your vehicle.
Your infant will undoubtedly spit up in the car seat, needing to be cleaned often. When choosing a car seat, find it easy to clean. Make sure that the coverings can be removed and washed or easily replaced.
If you purchase a car seat, be aware of the LATCH system. The latch system uses a system of straps, hooks, and anchors to secure a car seat. In the LATCH system, seatbelts are not used with the car seat. While research does not show that LATCH is more effective than using a seat belt, it does not show it is worse than seat belts. There are two schools of thought on which is better, and research is needed to understand each system. The decision rests with you if you want to use the LATCH system or a car seat that utilizes a seat belt.
Be sure to measure the car seat to see if it will fit in your car. If you are in a smaller car, some seats might not fit. If your vehicle is older, it may not have anchors for the LATCH system either, so be sure you know what kind of car seat you are purchasing.
Buying a car seat takes some due diligence, but in the end, when you have chosen the right car seat, you are ensuring your child’s safety in your vehicle for the duration of their childhood.
If you have any questions about Auto Insurance and Car Seat Safety, contact us at (863) 646-LOCK.Continue Reading