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Can Portable Generators Get Wet?

Can Portable Generators Get Wet?

Is it OK for a Generator to Get Wet?

The answer is No. A generator is more susceptible to water than other small engines because it's entire purpose is to create electricity and send that electricity its outlets. If you use a generator in wet or snowy conditions, then water and moisture will eventually get into the outlets and could lead to a really dangerous situation.

 

Can a generator get rained on?

Rain can damage the electronics of your generator and lead to life-threatening accidents. You should never let your generator stay out in the rain or snow!

It almost seems counterproductive to say that you can't use a generator in the rain. After all, the times when you need them most are when it's raining or during some kind of storm that knocked out your power. That doesn't mean that you can't use your generator at all during a storm, but it does mean that you need to either use a cover for your generator or put it in a place that will protect it from the rain.

Generator Covers

You need to cover a generator if you're going to be running it out in the rain or snow. You can either buy a generator cover specifically made for your model of generator, buying a generic one that will cover your generator or make one yourself.

We recommend using a normal canopy that is open on all sides as your generator cover. This does two things, it protects the generator from the rain or snow and it allows plenty of air to flow around the generator, letting the exhaust safely blow away. This is a great idea if you already have a canopy that you can set up in the yard but it leaves the generator open to windblown rain and snow.

 

A pop-up tent canopy is pretty cheap and it could be build without extending its legs which would provide more cover for your generator from wind-blown rain and still give the generator plenty of airflow.

The thing to remember with generator covers is that they have to be able to protect the generator from rain and snow, let the engine get enough air to run properly and hold the cover off of the engine's exhaust so it doesn't melt or catch on fire. The covers that fit tightly around your generator are great for protecting it when it's in storage but they're not for use while it's running.

 

Where is the Best Place to Put a Generator

One of the things that really get people when they buy a generator, is trying to figure out a good place to put it. It can be pretty frustrating.

When you're looking for a place to put your generator you should try to follow these guidelines as best as you can:

Place your generator on a flat, level surface outside that doesn't collect water. Never try to run your generator inside your house!

Carbon monoxide poisoning can happen in as little as 5 minutes. Run your generator at least 10 feet from your house (20 feet away from any doors, windows or air intakes).

Don't put a generator under an overhang, in a breezeway or in areas where snow drifts can occur.

Don't place a generator near flammable materials or fuel.

Finding an area that meets all of these criteria can be almost impossible for some people. Keep these guidelines in mind when you're looking for an area to put your generator and use commonsense when you're looking for an area that works for you.

 

How far away from the house does a generator need to be?

The first thing you should be concerned about is the possibility that carbon monoxide can get into your home if you put it too close to doors, windows or air intakes. Carbon monoxide is a colorless and odorless gas that displaces the oxygen in an area. You can also choose to use a battery-powered carbon monoxide detector with your portable generator so you would always have one available when you use it.

 

If you search around to find out how far away a generator needs to be away from your house, you're going to find a lot of different answers. The best answer I can find is to keep a generator 10 feet away from your house and 20 feet away from any doors, windows or other areas that can let carbon monoxide in.

 

Where should a generator be placed in a storm?

Portable generators shouldn't be used during hurricanes and other strong storms. It's almost impossible to protect them during strong storms.

Imagine trying to rely on a homemade tarp cover over your generator during 70+ mph winds. It's probably not going to go very well.

Any storm that threatens your home is going to make it very difficult to use a generator during that storm. Instead, keep your generator in a safe place that won't be affected by the storm and have it ready to start up as soon as the storm has died to a level that allows you to get your generator running safely.

 

What Should You Do if a Generator Gets Wet

Wet generators pose a shock and electrocution hazard if you're trying to plug or unplug items when they're wet. Wet generators should be allowed to dry off before you use them.