You never realize how much you depend on electricity until you’ve lost power. It’s not just an inconvenience for your home, family and/or business. Unexpected outages lasting for hours, even days, can be very costly if you’re unprepared. Don’t think that it’s just hurricanes and storms that can knock out your power – animals, utility accidents or just plain human error can be the source of your outage. Portable generators can help keep your necessities running during an outage.
Portable generators provide auxiliary power during an outage; however, if used incorrectly, these generators may pose a risk of carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning. Carbon monoxide, also known as the “Silent Killer,” is undetectable by humans because it is colorless, odorless and tasteless. In high enough concentrations, CO can harm or kill a person within minutes.

Why It Matters

UL product testing helps ensure the accuracy of safety features that are included in all types of portable generators. While other SDOs developed consensus safety standards for the United States on portable generators before UL 2201 2nd Edition, UL was the first for addressing mitigating carbon monoxide emissions.

UL 2201 limits the active CO emissions coming from the portable generator, as well as having a shutoff requirement for additional protection if the product is sensing a high output of CO. A portable generator certified by UL to UL 2201 provides the confidence that the equipment has met the published CO mitigation safeguards. It’s also important all consumers follow the guidance of the Consumer Product Safety Commission on the safe use of portable generators. Visit CPSC Carbon Monoxide Information Center for more information on carbon monoxide poisoning, as well as review the CPSC’s Portable Generator Safety Alert for their tips on operating portable generators safely.

How UL Can Help

Safety standards are written documents that outline the process in which a product is tested to help mitigate risk, injury or danger. UL is a standard-developing organization, combining extensive safety research, scientific expertise and uncompromising focus on quality to develop a wide variety of standards that measure and validate performance, environmental health and sustainability.