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Westchester Home Insurance – Tips for a Backup Generator from HSB

Yorktown Heights Insurance Agency wanted to share a great article from the Hartford Steam Boiler Inspection and Insurance Company on the hazards of improper installation:

Consumers and businesses are expected to purchase thousands of backup
generators as a result of record power outages in the Northeast, but The
Hartford Steam Boiler Inspection and Insurance Company (HSB) warns that
improper installation can cause fires, property damage and serious injuries or
deaths due to carbon monoxide poisoning or electrocution.

The equipment specialists at HSB, which is part of Munich Re, advise you to
follow proper precautions when using portable generators. Fully read and
understand the manufacturer’s instructions and consult a licensed electrician
whenever possible. Do not connect the generator outlets directly into a wall
outlet. This is known as backfeeding and it can cause an electrocution risk to
utility employees working to restore power and others served by the same utility
transformer.

Connecting the Generator. There are two safe methods to connect your
generator: employ a licensed electrical contractor to connect the generator with
a transfer switch, or connect essential appliances directly into the outlets
mounted on the generator using properly rated extension cords. Improperly
installed generators can feed electricity into power lines outside your house or
business and cause an electrocution risk.

Location. Never use a generator indoors or in an area where carbon monoxide
combustion gas could build-up. This includes basements, attached garages,
crawl spaces, or locations adjacent to open windows and doors. Check that the
exhaust is directed away from the house. Do not use a generator in the rain or
wet conditions unless approved by the manufacturer. Keep children and pets
away from electrical generators at all times and always stay clear of downed
power lines.

Grounding. You must properly ground your generator. Follow the
manufacturer’s recommendations for proper grounding requirements.

Don’t Overload Generators. Most generators do not have the capacity to
power everything in your house. Prioritize your needs and use your generator to
power only essential equipment. Overloading could cause the generator to fail
and damage sensitive electrical equipment.

Power Cords. When using extension cords to power appliances, only use
heavy duty, outdoor rated power cords with an adequate wire gauge (rating).
Overloading cords can cause fires and/or equipment damage. The cords should
be free of damage and have three prongs.

Fuel. Never store fuel for your generator in the home or near a fuel burning
appliance, such as a natural gas water heater in a garage. Before refueling a
generator, turn it off and let it cool down. Gasoline spilled on a hot engine could
ignite and cause damage.

Yorktown Heights Insurance Agency offers extensive home and property insurance in the event of an unfortunate incident.  We pride ourselves on offering peace of mind to our customers in 2012 and beyond.

Please feel free to stop in to our new office location – 1928 Commerce St., Yorktown Heights, NY – to see us for all of your home insurance needs.

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About the Author:

The Yorktown Heights Insurance Agency works to leverage our relationships with insurance companies to provide you with the best information available. We work across companies like Farmers, GMAC, Progressive, Safeco, and many others to find you a great rate. We thank each and every one of our clients who consider us the top insurance agency in Westchester.

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