Carbon Monoxide and Portable Generator Use

CO1If you have a home or small business portable generator, a primary hazard to avoid when using it is carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning from the toxic engine exhaust.

Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless, tasteless and poisonous gas that weakens the blood’s ability to carry oxygen to organs and body tissues. People often don’t know they are breathing CO and poisoning can occur in minutes. Symptoms include dizziness, drowsiness, severe headache, weakness, nausea and confusion. If you experience any of these, get out of the house and seek medical attention immediately.

Here are some important tips for safe operation of your portable generator:

Never use a portable generator indoors—This includes inside a garage, carport, basement, crawlspace, or other enclosed or partially-enclosed area, even with ventilation. Opening doors and windows or using fans will not prevent CO buildup in the home. Generators should be placed at least 10 feet from the home and in a well-ventilated area.

Install carbon monoxide alarms—Be sure you install battery-operated CO alarms or plug-in CO alarms with battery back-up in your home or business and follow the manufacturer’s installation instructions. If CO gas from the generator enters your home and poses a health risk, the alarm will sound to warn you. Test the battery frequently and replace when needed.

Consider an automatic standby generator–The American Red Cross recommends permanently installed stationary backup generators as a safer way to provide backup power to a home than a portable generator. With an automatic backup generator properly installed outside, your home is protected from deadly carbon monoxide poisoning that is a much greater risk with portable generators.

Oak Electric Service is one of southeast Michigan’s leading electrical contractors and backup generator specialists. We have installed over 3,000 backup generators and are the only Premier Generac Dealer in southeast Michigan!

Give us a call today at (800) 964-7070. We are standing by to answer all of your residential and commercial generator and electrical questions. We will always personally answer your phone call – you will never reach an answering service! Be sure to ask about our “Free Electrical Safety Inspection” with every job. We invite you to visit our website at to learn more about us. And be sure to “like” us on Facebook.

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Whether you need service for your HVAC system, generator, or any other solar or electrical system, Oak Electric is here to help!

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