It’s that time of year again when Mother Nature randomly unleashes high winds and heavy ice down on us and there’s very little that sucks more than losing power when it’s cold. That leads us to…generators.
There’s the obvious, though at least a couple of people die or almost die every year of this: the generator has to be outside. It’s an engine and it puts out exhaust. Putting the generator in your basement is no different than running a car in a closed garage, except your babies don’t sleep in the garage.
Here’s the important part:
If you get a generator, you’re going to come to a part of the manual where it says to have it installed by a licensed electrician. I know we live in a do-it-yourself society now, but that isn’t some scam to earn electricians more money.
Here’s what happens: Your power goes out. You or your friend or your Joe Handyman brother-in-law hook up the generator and fire it up. Yay, you’re making power! And if it’s not hooked up correctly by a guy whose license says he knows what he’s doing, you’re sending that power down the dead line. Yeah, to where some guy’s working his ass off to get your television back on because your kids are driving you crazy.
If he’s lucky, you’ll only maim him. Maybe blow his hand off or give him some electrical burns that’ll scar him for life and maybe cause some neurological damage. If he’s not lucky, you’ll kill him and some little girl’s Daddy won’t ever come home so you could save a few hundred bucks.
If money’s an issue, get a list of the parts you’ll need besides the generator itself—there’s some kind of transfer switch thingy—and buy them at Home Depot. Then find an electrician who works solo or does post-retirement side jobs and ask him to do it for labor only. You’ll find one who will do it. My husband has done it.
Please have your generators installed by a licensed electrician.