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Do you have a portable generator and are wondering if it can get wet? Maybe you want to know how to run a generator in the rain safely? Or perhaps you want to know as much as possible about your generator before making your purchase?
Whatever your reason might be, we have the answer for you!
We know how important a portable generator is. The ability to make power is advantageous, and when the worst happens, it will be an essential part of your life.
Your portable generator can keep you warm when your town or city loses power, cook food when everyone else is raiding supermarkets, and charge devices to provide much-needed communication with others.
But what happens if your generator gets wet? Will it be able to run? Or will it explode and potentially threaten your life? These questions fill your mind, and suddenly your well-planned survival plans and stockpiles are in jeopardy.
Soon you will be just as defenseless as everyone that didn’t take you seriously.
Well, not on our watch! Today we are here to put your minds at ease and ensure that your plans do not unravel before your eyes. Keep reading to find out if portable generators can get wet and our top tips for running them safely in the rain!
Can A Portable Generator Get Wet?
Let’s get straight into it! Portable generators, or generators of any kind, cannot get wet. If they do get wet, you are putting yourself and others at risk of getting electrocuted or a life-threatening shock, not what you want when the world is falling apart.
Avoid using an unprotected portable generator in wet conditions like rain, snow, near pools and sprinklers. You will also want to avoid using your generator when your hands are wet or when there is ice on the generator.
But why can’t your generator get wet you ask? Let’s take a look and find out more!
Why Can’t A Generator Get Wet?
Unlike other small engines, generators are more susceptible to water as their one purpose in life is to create electricity and send that to outlets. If water gets into your generator, it will work its way to these outlets, leading to a dangerous situation you won’t want to be in!
We all know that water in our power outlets at home is no good, and even when other electricity fails, we don’t want water in our generators!
Even if your generator features ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) outlets, there is still a chance of trouble if they get wet. Thankfully, these generators do come with a bit of protection.
If you have a generator with GFCI outlets, power will stop sending to the outlet if water gets inside. These offer a little bit of protection and some time for you to inspect your generator and see what’s going on.
If the country is without power, you don’t want your backup supply in trouble, do you? If your generator does get wet, be careful when you approach! Wet generators are dangerous to touch, even those with GFCI outlets!
Resetting these while they are still wet can cause electrocutions easily, and nobody wants that!
The dangers are real for wet generators, so approach your portable generator with ease and avoid getting wet at all costs! This can be challenging if you live in a tent and keep the generator outdoors, but where possible, keep your generator in a dry area to prevent any of these issues.
Can A Generator Get Rained On?
As rain is water, and we don’t want generators to get wet, no, your generator cannot get rained on! Rain can get into the electronics of your generator and wreak havoc, causing life-threatening accidents!
It’s best to avoid leaving your generator outdoors in the rain or snow to ensure your safety and the safety of others at all times!
Now, we know it can be frustrating that you can’t use the generator in the rain. After all, that portable generator is your lifeline should you lose power, spend some time in the wilderness, or experience a storm. But, there is a way around this.
Should a storm knock any power out, you can still use your generator. What you will need is a generator cover that will protect it from the rain! You can also place it somewhere that is protected from the rain, like a shelter. So all hope is not lost; you can have power!
Let’s take a closer look at generator covers to give you more information and find the right one for you!
Generator covers are about to become your new best friend. They are essential if you want to run your generator in the rain or snow. You can purchase a generic cover, one specific for your model, or you can make a cover for your generator yourself!
So what kind of cover do you need? Well, it’s recommended that you use a normal canopy open on all sides to cover your generator. This ensures that the generator is protected from rain or snow and that air can flow around the generator; you still need room for the exhaust to blow away safely!
If you already have a canopy, then this is a great option for you! However, these can leave your generator vulnerable to any windblown rain and snow. If you live in a windy area, then it might not be the best option for you.
You can also get pop-up tent canopies that are an excellent option if you don’t currently have a canopy. They are usually fairly affordable, making them perfect for a range of budgets.
If you build the canopy without extending its legs, then your generator should get plenty of protection from windblown rain too! Just make sure that your generator is still getting plenty of airflow so that it can run properly.
When it comes to generator covers, you need to remember a few things. Your cover needs to protect the generator from rain and snow and still ensure that your generator gets enough air to run properly. The cover should not touch the engine’s exhaust; otherwise, it could melt or catch fire!
Now you will see generator covers that fit snug to your generator. While these are excellent for protecting your generator while in storage, they are not practical while the generator is running. These should be removed and replaced with a different cover that promotes airflow while using the generator.
Manufactured Generator Covers
You can also get manufactured generator covers. These are designed to fit certain generators depending on their make or model, or you can find generic ones that will fit a range of generator sizes.
These manufactured generators are a good option for those that want a cover that will work without the hassle of building a cover yourself!
Like Champion’s offering, tent generator covers attach to the generator to protect it from the rain and snow. As you can see from the cover, there is enough airflow around the generator to work properly.
Champion’s cover is waterproof and made to withstand tough windy conditions, exactly what you need from your cover! Be sure to check the product description and reviews carefully before making your purchase; you will want to ensure that the cover you are buying will stand the test of time.
You can also opt for an outdoor storage shed to cover your generator. This Rubbermaid shed features sides that open, providing the airflow that your generator needs and allowing you to run extension cords to get the power you need to!
The downside to these sheds is that they are large and bulky at times, so not ideal for those that are living in the wild or traveling a lot with the generator. You will want a more compact cover that is light enough to take with you should you need to leave your home.
Homemade Generator Covers
Now for those who want to save some money, you can make your own generator covers! The easiest way to do this is by draping a tarp over your generator, and you will need to ensure that the tarp does not touch the generator at all when doing so.
You can use some poles to prop the tarp up, offering protection to your generator without the airflow being restricted in any way. You could also use lawn chairs to keep the tarp off the generator if you wanted.
Just be mindful that strong winds would blow the chairs over unless they are super sturdy! You will also want to keep the center of the tarp elevated; otherwise, rain can pool in the center and pull the tarp onto the generator or off the chairs, leaving your generator exposed to the elements!
PVC Generator Covers
A popular option for DIY generator covers is to make a structure using PVC pipe and cover it with plastic. There are plenty of tutorials online that can walk you through the process of building a PVC generator cover.
You don’t necessarily need to follow these step-by-step, but they should give you a clear idea of how to build your own.
Your generator might be a different size from the one in the video, but it can be a good way to see how others are doing it and replicate it yourself. Alternatively, you can build a cover with three arched PVC pipes attached to a PVC base.
You will then cover the pipes with plastic to provide protection. Remember, you will need to allow space for airflow around the generator and its exhaust.
Wooden Generator Cover
Another option is to construct a generator cover out of wood. Again there are plenty of tutorials online that you can follow along to build your own cover. It’s worth noting that once you build the wooden cover, you will cover it with a tarp to protect the generator from the rain.
These videos are excellent to use as step-by-step guides or for inspiration to help you create your own cover. Just be sure that it is big enough to cover the generator and provide sufficient airflow too.
Wooden frames with tarps stapled to them will protect from occasional rain or snowstorms but can get weather damaged if left out in torrential rain or are continually wet. Treating the wood can extend its life, but they don’t tend to be as durable as plastic generator covers.
Where To Place A Generator
When you need to use your generator, the first thing on your mind is getting power to the appliances that need it. But you also need to consider where it is best to place the generator.
It can be tricky to know where is best to place your generator, and means you can waste precious time without power stressing about where to place it!
To help avoid this, we have some guidelines that you can follow! You should try to follow these as best as you can.
- Place your generator on a flat and level surface outside that doesn’t collect water. Avoid running your generator inside your house.
- Place your generator at least 10 feet from your house and 20 feet from any doors, windows, or air intakes. Carbon monoxide poisoning can happen in just five minutes, so you want to take all the necessary precautions!
- Avoid putting your generator under an overhang, in a breezeway, or in areas where snow drifts can happen.
- Avoid placing your generator near fuel or other flammable materials.
It can be hard for everyone to find an area that will meet all the criteria listed above. In these cases, try and remember the guidelines and find an area that will hit as many of these as possible. Use your common sense to find an area that is right for your generator.
To help you find the best place, we will dive into this a little deeper and help you find the best place for your portable generator. Prepare to leave here today a portable generator expert, knowing exactly where it should be placed!
How Far Away From A House Should A Generator Be?
As we mentioned earlier, your generator should be kept 10 feet away from the house and 20 feet away from windows, doors, or other areas that can let carbon monoxide in.
Carbon monoxide is no joke and can enter your home easily, and it usually enters through doors, windows, or other air intakes.
The colorless and odorless gas displaces oxygen in the area and has serious health implications. Think of all the stories you have heard about boilers leaking at night and taking out whole households; you don’t want that to happen to you!
This is why you must keep your generator a safe distance from your home. It’s also worth having a battery-powered carbon monoxide detector and keeping it with your generator.
This will alert you if the levels of carbon monoxide get high so you can turn the generator off and take the necessary steps.
Where Should I Put A Generator In A Storm?
You should avoid using a portable generator during a hurricane or other storm as they are virtually impossible to protect, especially in strong storms! Think about it, would you trust a homemade tarp cover to protect your generator in 70mph winds? No, neither would we!
A storm that threatens your home is also going to threaten your generator. Instead of having it outside, keep your generator in a safe place that won’t be affected by the storm. You can have it ready to go as soon as the storm dies down too! Avoid using the generator until it is safe to do so.
Can I Use My Generator In A Garage?
Ideally, you should only use your generator in a garage if it is detached from the house. And even then, there is a potential threat. If your garage isn’t well ventilated, then there’s a chance your garage could become overpowered by carbon monoxide.
Be sure to give your garage plenty of time to air before you go inside after running the generator in there. To successfully use your generator in a garage, provide as much ventilation and airflow as possible.
Ideally, point the exhaust out of the main door and open other doors and windows. It’s worth noting that this isn’t safe and causes CO poisoning, but it is the best you can do in this situation.
You will want carbon monoxide detectors in any rooms above or attached to the garage if it’s attached to your home.
Can I Run My Generator In A Shed?
Unlike garages, sheds are good places to put a generator, and they will provide protection from the elements and help with noise coming from the generator. When placing your generator in a shed, there are a few factors you should be aware of.
- The generator still needs to be a safe distance from the house
- Remove any flammables from the shed, including liquids and fuel.
- Ensure the shed is well ventilated or allow it to air before entering after a generator has been running.
Can I Use My Generator On A Porch?
No! You should never use a generator on a porch. While it might keep the rain off the generator, there is a high risk of carbon dioxide entering your house, posing a risk to your health!
You could attach a tarp to your porch railings, creating a lean-to-style cover for your generator. This will provide you with space to keep the generator away from your home and still protect it from the elements.
Can I Run My Generator In A Carport?
A detached carport is ideal for a generator to run, and it will be protected from the elements and have plenty of ventilation on all sides. Just check there isn’t any flammable or fuel near the generator.
If your carport is attached, you have the same risks as placing a generator on a porch. It’s all too easy for carbon dioxide to leak into your home, making it not worth the risk!
My Generator Is Wet – What Do I Do?
If your generator gets wet, then you need to dry them off before using them. Attempting to unplug or plug in items while they are wet could result in a shock or electrocution, so it should be avoided at all costs.
Will Rain Damage A Generator?
Rejoice as rain won’t ruin your generator! Plenty of people have generators mounted inside open bed pick-ups where they are exposed to the elements and don’t encounter any issues. You will just need to ensure that it is dried off before using.
Can You Cover A Generator While It Runs?
You can cover your generator while it runs! There’s no need to panic if it starts to rain and you are using your generator. Simply place the cover over the generator, taking care not to touch it.