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New CO-SENSE Carbon Monoxide Sensing and Shutdown Technology Improves Safety of Portable Generators

By Generac PR Staff May 8, 2018

New technology exceeds requirements of updated ANSI safety standards

At the 2018 National Hardware Show in Las Vegas, Generac Power Systems introduced CO-SENSE™, an industry-leading technology that protects portable generator users against carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning. The technology can sense when CO reaches dangerous levels and will shut the generator down immediately.

“Generators must always be operated outdoors, away from windows, doors and vents with the exhaust pointed away from people and occupied buildings,” said Russ Minick, chief marketing officer, Generac. “CO-SENSE technology ensures that when a generator is improperly operated indoors or within a closed environment, increasing levels of carbon monoxide from engine exhaust will not become a danger.”

Generac’s CO-SENSE is engineered with patent-pending algorithms to rapidly detect the accumulation of CO — much faster than a typical residential CO monitor. If carbon monoxide builds toward an unsafe level around the generator while it is running, the unit will immediately shut the engine off and display an LED alert notifying the user of the hazard.

“CO-SENSE limits the danger of carbon monoxide build-up when portable generators are used improperly,” Minick said. “Not only is it an effective safety device, the technology is reliable, tamper-resistant, maintenance-free and cost-effective. Generac has also thoroughly tested CO-SENSE technology to help ensure it does not cause false shutdowns and alerts, even in the harshest conditions.”

CO-SENSE technology was demonstrated at the National Hardware Show on Generac’s GP6500 portable generator. Generac will begin rolling out the technology on its portable and inverter generators 15,000 watts and less throughout 2018.

“Initial interest from retailers and dealers has been excellent,” Minick stated. “We all share the desire to produce and sell the safest and most affordable portable generators possible. We will see CO-SENSE products on major retailers’ shelves by Q3 2018.”

The impetus behind the development of CO-SENSE technology is the ANSI/PGMA G300-2018 portable generator safety standard. It is an update to the existing comprehensive ANSI/PGMA G300-2015 safety standard and now addresses carbon monoxide — an update that Generac helped craft as a charter member of the Portable Generator Manufacturers’ Association (PGMA). After years of extensive research, discussion and validation, including a review of alternatives such as reducing overall CO emissions, the PGMA — a collaboration of many well-known portable generator manufacturers teamed together with the goal of reducing carbon monoxide injuries and deaths from misuse of portable generators — concluded that the best solution is for the generators to automatically shut down when CO levels reach unsafe levels.

“Accurately and rapidly sensing CO build-up and immediately shutting the generator down per the updated G300 standard is the most effective way to prevent CO poisoning,” said Greg Wischstadt, senior vice president, Engineering at Generac and current PGMA president. “Not only is it overwhelmingly effective in reducing deaths caused by improper use in enclosed spaces — on the order of 99 percent — but it is economical. Other approaches, such as reducing carbon monoxide emissions overall, add significant cost while adding no demonstrated benefits to safety beyond the shutoff alone. The G300 standard makes generators safer while keeping them affordable for all.”

The PGMA wrote the update to the G300 standard and earned approval from the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) with the support of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), other industry members, government and consumer organizations. The updated standard addresses all portable generators 15,000 watts or less, and in addition to carbon monoxide, addresses safety requirements for generator operation, such as electrical shock, overload, cuts, burns, guarding, refueling and stability (tip-over) tests.

“As a leader in portable generator safety, Generac is proud to have been able to work alongside our industry peers on the G300 standard,” Wischstadt said. “Not only has it resulted in a standard that is tremendously positive for consumer safety, it has led Generac to a technical innovation in CO-SENSE that has been demonstrated as safe, effective and economical.”

To learn more about CO-SENSE, visit For more information regarding the safe use of portable generators please visit

About Generac
Generac Power Systems, Inc. (NYSE: GNRC) is a leading global supplier of backup power and prime power products, systems and engine-powered tools. Back in 1959, our founder was committed to designing, engineering and manufacturing the first affordable backup generator. Fifty-seven years later, the same dedication to innovation, durability and excellence has resulted in the company’s ability to expand its industry-leading product portfolio into homes and small businesses, on job sites, and in industrial and mobile applications across the globe. Generac offers single engine backup and prime power systems up to 2 MW and paralleled solutions up to 100 MW, and uses a variety of fuel sources to support power needs for our customers. We are proud to be named, in back-to-back years, the Frost & Sullivan 2014 and 2015 North American Natural Gas Generator Set Company of the Year. Visit for more information.

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