Your House is Your Haven: Don't Neglect the Interior

How To Keep Your Emergency Generator's Deadly Carbon Monoxide Out Of Your Home

by Cherly King

An emergency generator is a wonderful machine to have when a storm hits and takes out your home's power, however, they can also be deadly if not used and vented correctly. Emergency generators run on gasoline and generate carbon monoxide (CO) gas in their exhaust fumes. If the exhaust fumes get into your living spaces, then they can kill people and pets. To avoid this fate, follow this information and actively prevent your generator from venting its exhaust into your home:

Locate Your Emergency Generator Outside and Away from Ventilation Locations

Before you purchase a generator, you should decide where to place it. Generators should be placed on flat, level surfaces that are free of vegetation or other flammable hazards. If at all possible, you should set up your generator on a concrete patio or asphalt driveway.

The generator's exhaust must vent away from your home to keep its harmful CO gas away. The generator must be kept away from:

  • doors
  • windows
  • attic vents
  • crawlspace vents

In addition, the generator cannot be installed indoors, in your garage, nor in your basement, crawlspace, or basement. Instead, it should be installed in a well-ventilated, covered outdoor area.

Educate Yourself and Your Family About CO Gas Poisoning

To keep your family safe during storms when the generator is running, every person needs to be educated about carbon monoxide gas poisoning. When CO gas starts to invade your living space, it chokes out the oxygen you need to breathe. As this happens, you can't see or smell the gas, but you will start to feel the following effects of the gas poisoning:

  • dizziness
  • nausea
  • muscle weakness
  • drowsiness

Since children and pets often show the first signs of CO gas poisoning, it is vital that you educate your kids about this danger.

A Final Note on Prevention of CO Gas Poisoning

Just as you must have smoke detectors installed in your home, so too should you have carbon monoxide detectors. Both emergency warning devices should be installed near all bedrooms and just outside of the kitchen. CO gas detectors are especially important for homes that use emergency generators or heating appliances that use propane because they create deadly carbon monoxide gas in their exhaust fumes. Finally, if a carbon monoxide gas detector sounds, then you need to immediately leave your home until the fire department can come out and test to ensure your home's air is safe to breathe.

Contact a company that carries standby generators for more information and assistance.