When the power goes out, many turn to on their portable generator. But are you using it properly?

Portable generators vary from being an essential item to a convenience that’s just nice to have. But there’s one thing all generators have in common, they can be a safety risk.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says a single gas-powered generator can generate up to one hundred times more carbon monoxide gas than a car’s exhaust. And even if the generator is located outside, poisonous fumes can easily drift inside if the device is too close to the house. Of course, carbon monoxide is a silent enemy as you can’t see or smell it, and that level of toxicity inside a home certainly carries the potential for illness and death. According to data from the Consumer Product Safety Commission, between 2005 and 2017, more than 900 people died of carbon monoxide poisoning while using portable generators.

Watch the video to learn 5 essential tips for generator safety.

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Is it ever safe to run a generator in the house?

The short answer is an emphatic no! Most deaths and injuries associated with generators result from using them in enclosed or partially enclosed spaces. That includes basements and garages as well as rooms inside your house. Furthermore, generators also represent a possible electrocution and fire hazard, so it’s vital to follow the safety guidelines.

Are home generators worth the money?

Depending on where you live, home generators may or may not be worth the investment. For example, a backup generator may be a godsend if you live somewhere remote or in an area where hurricanes or tornadoes are a frequent hazard. Conversely, in more benign situations, a generator will be more of a safety net and convenience than a necessity. According to Forbes, in 2022, generators can cost from $275 to more than $16,000, depending on the generator type. So, owning one is a decision only you can make.

More problems, solved

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Portable generators can be life savers. But are you using it properly?