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Power play

Published: Wed, April 17, 2002 @ 12:00 a.m.

Generator tips
Don't want to put up with extended power outages? Maybe you should buy a generator.
When shopping for a generator, select one that is the correct size to meet your needs. For example, do you want a generator that will supply power to your entire home or just a couple of appliances?
Ask a dealer for guidelines and be aware that there are very serious, potentially dangerous issues involved in choosing, purchasing, installing and maintaining a generator.
For example, generator exhaust fumes are deadly, so generators should not be placed indoors. Also, an incorrectly installed generator could start a house fire.
There are two ways to get power to your home through a generator. You can run extension cords from the generator to certain appliances, or you can have the generator wired into your home's electric panel.
If you choose the latter, it is best to have a professional do the wiring, because the generator must be connected to your home's wiring through a special transfer switch.
The transfer switch ensures that your home's electric wires are isolated from outside utility wires and keeps the utility wires from being energized by your generator, which could create a life-threatening hazard for electric company repair crews.

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