Generator Safety

Generator Safety

We are Mason County's power supply experts. We can help you meet your energy needs- SAFELY.


For some households with equipment that provides medical support, it may be essential to have a generator available, or a plan in place if they are without electricity for an extended period of time. 

If you’re thinking about installing a generator for backup power at your home or business, call us. We can provide advice on picking out the right size generator, and how to use it safely.

It’s important to know the do's and don'ts when using your home generator.

You should also take some time to find out how big a generator you may need.

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Compared to other utilities, PUD 3 is very reliable. In fact, we’re a “Reliable Public Power Provider,” as named by the American Public Power Association. Our Diamond rating is the highest.

However, some people may want a generator as an extra level of confidence they can still have the convenience that electricity provides. Even more important, some of our customer’s lives and livelihood depend on a constant source of electricity.

Here are some of the common reasons that someone buys a generator:

Medical Equipment
Someone in your household relies on electrically-powered medical support equipment located in your home, such as a respirator or kidney dialysis machine.

Private Wells & Sump Pumps
Your water comes from a private system. Without electricity, you have no water or your sewer or septic system requires a pump to operate.

Computer Systems
You want to ensure that you won't lose any data if electrical power is interrupted. Your business has a complex system that takes a long time to bring up after a power interruption.

Your phone system requires electricity or your business requires 24-hour-a-day fax machine availability for receiving orders or communicating with clients.

Cash Registers
You own a store which has no way to check out customers unless the electronic cash registers are working.

Disaster Preparedness
You're preparing your household for severe storms or earthquakes and would like to have electricity available in an emergency.

Farming & Ranching
Your farm or ranch requires electricity to operate critical fans, pumps or milking machines.

How big of a generator do you need? That depends on how many lights and accessories you want to keep running when the lights go out.

  • Generators are rated in watts. Begin by adding up the number of watts you need to feed and then factor in at least 50 percent more.
  • The wattage is listed on just about every electrical appliance in your house, although you may have to look behind the refrigerator or under the microwave to find it.
  • Here's what most people would consider a minimum survival package:
  • Select lights in your home: 200 watts
  • Furnace & fan motor: 2,000 watts
  • Refrigerator: 750 watts
  • Freezer: 850 watts
  • TV: 100 watts
  • Coffee maker: 800 watts
  • Total: 4,700 watts

Note: Double the wattage listed on motors to accommodate the power draw during start up.


  • Let us know that that you have a generator.
  • Follow the operating instruction manual.
  • Follow the National Electrical Code requirements for installing your generator and transfer switch.
  • Operate a generator outside, in a well-ventilated area. The exhaust contains carbon monoxide, which is deadly if you let it build up in your house or garage.
  • Store your fuel properly.


  • Don't connect a back-up generator to the main system of a home or business without a UL-listed, permanently installed, double throw transfer switch. The transfer switch keeps your generator from sending power back through the utility grid and endangering the lives of those repairing power lines. The transfer switch protects your generator from damage when power is restored.
  • Don't refuel a hot engine if your generator burns gasoline or diesel oil. Spilled fuel on a hot muffler can be disastrous.
  • Don't use an undersized extension cord. A cord that is not heavy enough can damage equipment you are operating and cause a fire hazard. Both the length and diameter of wire affect its ability to carry an electrical load. The longer the extension cord and the larger the electrical load, the larger the diameter of the wire must be. If you have any questions, get professional help from an electrician or qualified supplier who can size the cord to match the equipment you want to operate.
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