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Diesel Generator Safety Tips & Checklist for the First Time Buyers

If you plan to buy a diesel generator, there are many factors to consider. Safety is a big issue with any generator so here are some safety tips for a diesel generator that you should know.

Safety Tips For A Diesel Generator

Never run your generator if it’s indoors or even in a partly enclosed space such as a garage or a shed. Always have it outside and far away from any doors, windows, vents or crawl spaces. It’s not sufficient to use a fan near a door or window because that isn’t nearly enough ventilation. Only use your generator when it’s on a level, stable surface and never in a place where it can be affected by dust, dirt, moisture or corrosive vapors.

Another of the safety tips for a diesel generator is to never overfill your tank so you can allow for the expansion of the fuel inside. Don’t add any fuel while the generator is hot or running. It needs to be cool before you can refuel it. Don’t keep your generator where fuel vapors may somehow reach a pilot light, spark or open flame.

Diesel Generator Safety Tip #1: Wiring

Think about generator installation safety in terms of correct wiring. The generator needs to be properly grounded or you can get electrocuted. Check out all local, state and federal laws regarding grounding of generators to ensure you’re doing the right thing.

Never connect your generator into your household inlets or home wiring. This can be deadly to you and others in the house. It can also cause a back feed onto the power lines joined to your home and may injure utility workers and neighbors. There should be a minimum of five feet clearance all around your generator when it’s running. If it needs repairs, always contact the appropriate expert. Never try it yourself.

Diesel Generator Safety Tip #2: Overloading

When you’re considering buying a unit, your diesel generator safety checklist should include a detailed list of all items in your home that will require power when there’s an outage. This list will help to determine how big your generator should be. If you choose the wrong size, you risk overloading the unit and damaging items in your home. The list will tell you that you’ll need, for example, a 7500 watt generator. But never use more appliances than the output rating of that generator or overloading will quite likely occur.

Before you start your generator, you need to turn off all appliances and then start the unit. If they’re all left on, the total starting wattage will be too much for the unit and it could break down. Once it’s on, then you can turn on the items you need to use.

Points to Consider When Owning a Diesel Generator

Here’s a diesel generator safety checklist of inspections that should be carried out on your diesel generator:

General:

  • Maintain the correct engine fluid levels.
  • Inspect fuel and air filters. Clean and/or replace older parts.
  • Inspect gauges and indicators.
  • Inspect batteries and maintain the electrical connections by cleaning and checking for any breakages.
  • Test that your generator can produce the manufacturer specified amount of electricity (load bank testing.)

Weekly or Monthly Checks:

  • Inspect fuel tank and fuel filter for water. Drain any accumulated water.
  • Check and clean your air filters. Get rid of any debris that has blocked the airflow.
  • Inspect the generator’s drive belts to see if there’s any wear and tear.
  • Check the tension of the belt and make any necessary adjustments.
  • Inspect the coolant in the engine for rust and concentration.
  • Check connections, wiring and batteries. Clean connections and replace old wires where needed.
  • Adjust the voltage and also check the float voltage reading by using a battery charger.

Six Month or Annual Checks for your Diesel Generator Safety Checklist:

  • You must replace the coolant filter every year, whether you have used your diesel generator or not.
  • Change the oil and the filter annually or according to the directions of the manufacturer.
  • Inspect your radiator hose to see if there’s any wear and tear. If you have a leaky hose, it could make your generator overheat and cause the engine to break down.
  • Regular maintenance is crucial. Even though replacing fluids and other parts may be expensive, it’s far cheaper than having to buy a new diesel generator if it fails to work due to neglect on your part.
  • It’s essential to keep a record of all inspections and maintenance you do on your generator. This record can help your maintenance expert when it comes to monitoring and predicting problems. This increases the life of the generator and improves its safety. If you’re prepared for trouble, you won’t suffer from as much downtime.

Installing Your Generator

Generator installation safety is of paramount importance because many things can go wrong if the installation isn’t done properly. Here are some electric generator and power generator safety tips to help make your installation run smoothly.

  • A generator should only be installed by a properly qualified person, whether it’s an electrician or a technician from a dealer. This will improve all safety aspects and reduce problems to begin with.
  • When your generator is delivered, unpack it and thoroughly inspect it for signs of damage of any kind. This is a generator installation safety tip many people often neglect as you could find a problem with a part and need to get it replaced before you can start the installation.
  • The voltage rating of your appliances must match that of the generator.
    Ensure the wattage capacity will be enough to meet all needs during any power blackout. Critical loads can be wired independently into an independent distribution panel if required.
  • Your diesel generator must be placed on level ground outside your home, on a surface that’s non-conducting and non-combustible. It should be slightly above the ground in case water levels rise.
  • Install the generator close to your fuel supply and transfer switch so you can decrease the amount of cabling/piping needed.
  • Fully charge all batteries before they’re placed into your generator.
  • Your transfer switch must be wall-mounted and aligned with all points so there’s no distortion of that switch.
  • Your generator must only be connected to the main power supply through the transfer switch to guarantee isolation between the mains power systems and the generator power system. This is one of the diesel generator safety devices used to ensure the safety of your family.

Electric Generator and Power Generator Safety Tips

Having a carbon monoxide monitor is one of the diesel generator safety devices that are recommended even though the risk is low for diesel generators.

A vital tip is understanding the difference between rated and starting watts. The generator you buy must be based on the RATING watts, not the STARTING watts, because your generator will last a lot longer. If you buy and run a generator based on starting watts, it will work for part of the first day and then you’ll have a large pile of molten mass to get rid of.

You can never be too careful when dealing with generators. The electric generator and power generator safety tips in this article are just the tip of the iceberg. Read the instructions that come with your generator and do online research so you really understand what you’re doing. If you have doubts about any aspect of the generator installation safety or use of your generator, ask the experts who will help guide you in the right direction.