When faced with a power outage, or when using a generator for remote power, be sure to stay safe. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) offers the following cautions on the use of gas-powered generators and other tools:
Shock and Electrocution
Never attach a generator directly to the electrical system of structure (home, office, trailer, etc.) unless a qualified electrician has properly installed the generator with a transfer switch.
- Always plug electrical appliances directly into the generator using the manufacturer’s supplied cords or extension cords that are grounded (3-pronged). Inspect the cord to make sure they are fully intact and not damaged. Never use frayed or damaged extension cords.
- Keep a generator dry; do not use it in the rain or in wet conditions. If needed, protect a generator with a canopy.
Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
- Never use a generator indoors or in enclosed spaces such as garages, crawl spaces and basements.
- Make sure a generator has three to four feet of clear space on all sides and above it to ensure adequate ventilation.
- Be cautious when using a generator outdoors to ensure it is not placed near doors, windows, and vents could allow carbon monoxide to enter and build up in occupied spaces.
- If you or others show symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning-dizziness, headaches, nausea, tiredness-get to fresh air immediately and seek medical attention. Do no re-enter the area until it is determined to be safe by trained and properly equipped personnel.
As technology in solar generation improves, there are more and more opportunities to replace your liquid fuel powered generator with a solar option. I have not performed a review of any specific solar power solutions, but you might want to check out Goal Zero or Humless.