BOARDMAN, Ohio (WKBN) – Power outages are common in the winter due to high winds and ice – the Valley has seen it firsthand. Generators can be helpful in these instances when used correctly.

Dwight McMurray, an electrician contractor with McMurray Electric, said there’s a lot that goes into determining the proper type of generator for your home or business.

“There is whole house stand-by generators that automatically transfer over when your power goes out. And then there’s a portable generator that can also be connected to your main electrical service but you need to have it installed by an electrical contractor,” said McMurray.

Regardless of the type of generator you have, Boardman Assistant Fire Chief William Glaser said there are certain things to look out for.

“Number one is carbon monoxide so you want to keep them at least fifteen feet away from any door, window or air intake into your home. You never want to have your generators running inside in the basement or a garage,” said Chief Glaser.

Chief Glaser added back-feeding can be very dangerous as well. He said your generator can actually create enough power that it sends power back into the public power lines.

“All of us know a lineman or an electrician that’s obviously out in the field day today and when a homeowner or a handyman back feeds into a dryer plug, you can potentially kill them. You can kill other people down the road,” said McMurray.

Having UL-listed components installed correctly by professionals is crucial.

“With anything, we always recommend that if you’re gonna have a generator for your home that you hire a certified licensed electrician to help you out,” said Chief Glaser.