Portable generators are certainly useful to own. If you experience a power outage during bad weather, they are instrumental. They keep your important appliances running when needed.
While generators are useful to have, they are not always safe to use in bad weather conditions. Given that they are electrical items, they can be dangerous to use in rain or snow if they are not covered.
In this article, we will be discussing how to safely run a portable generator in wet weather. We will be focusing specifically on using a generator cover, tent, or enclosure.
It is worth noting that using a generator in bad weather, even if it is covered over correctly is not recommended. Extreme caution should always be taken.
Using A Portable Generator In Wet Weather
Typically generators are unsafe to use in wet weather. However, this is referring to leaving your generator running outdoors while exposed to the elements.
As your generator is an electrical item, it is dangerous for it to come into contact with water. This can cause your generator to break. Water, when mixed with electricity can cause electrocution. This is very dangerous, and in some cases, a generator can even cause an explosion or fire.
Extreme caution needs to be taken when using a generator in general and even more so when there is adverse weather. In the vast majority of cases, it is not recommended to use a generator in the rain or snow, due to how dangerous it can be.
The water will likely cause damage to your generator and any of the connections or outlets attached. Not only will this break your generator, but it can cause problems with the electrics in your home. However, there are ways to make this process safer.
Ways To Make Using A Portable Generator In Wet Weather Safer
While there is no way to completely enable safe portable generator use in wet weather, there are a few different steps you can take to protect your generator as much as possible.
The main way you can do this is by purchasing either a generator tent, cover, or enclosure. While these can still potentially allow water to reach the generator, they will keep your generator as dry as possible when used correctly.
It is worth noting that generator sizes do vary. Given this, we would recommend that you measure your generator and take note of the tent or cover measurements before purchasing. You will also need these measurements if you are planning to build or make a cover for your generator.
Can I Use My Generator Inside?
You may be thinking that bringing the generator inside when there is snow rain or a hurricane would be a good idea. While this will protect the portable generator from the rain, it can be fatal to you and your family.
The majority of portable generators use gas to power them. If this gas is pumping into a room it can prove to be fatal and poisonous. Gas generators should never be used indoors.
While you can purchase solar-powered generators, they should remain outdoors and should not be brought inside.
Building or Purchasing A Solid Cover For Your Portable Generator
Having a solid cover for your generator is the best option. This will enable your portable generator to be covered completely and is the best way to keep it protected from the elements. They are a lot more sturdy than a tent or cover.
You can choose to purchase a solid cover for your portable generator, or you can build one yourself. Some professionals will offer the service of building a custom shelter.
While you can purchase steel and the materials you need to build your own shelter, if you are not experienced in this, hiring a professional is the best idea. While this is the most expensive option, it will provide the most secure protection.
These covers can be made out of strong plastic in addition to steel. Alternatively, you could purchase an outdoor enclosure or shed to place your portable generator in.
Here are a few suggestions:
This is a good-sized shed that could be adapted to store your generator.
While it is more expensive in comparison to a cover or tent, it will keep your generator more protected. You will need to allow the heat that the generator creates to escape, however.
This is another good choice. It is a good size and should be able to house the majority of generators. It is a good price but will need to be modified slightly to allow heat to escape and to safely store a generator.
While these options are great, having a custom made generator enclosure is the best option. When installed it is more difficult to move the generator, however, which could be a problem if you take the generator camping for example.
If you are interested in building your own enclosure or shed, here is a useful YouTube tutorial to inspire you when creating your own.
Generator Tents and Covers
While generator tents and covers are not the most secure in adverse weather, they can be useful. Generator tents and covers allow you to move your generator to different locations with ease in comparison to an enclosure that remains in one place.
When purchasing a generator tent or cover, you will need to ensure that you are purchasing one that is waterproof and of good quality. While a cheaper cover is a tempting option, it is unlikely to provide all of the covers your generator needs.
The generator tent or cover will need to cover the generator completely, while still allowing heat from the generator to escape. This will prevent the generator from overheating and breaking.
The tents and covers will ensure that the parts of the generator that should not get wet remain dry. You should always ensure that there are no holes or splits in the tent before using it.
Tents will typically have a triangular shape and resemble a tent, whereas a cover is more square in its shape and fits around the generator. Here are some examples of good quality generator tents and covers:
Champion is a popular generator brand and their generator cover is particularly durable.
While this is not the cheapest of options, it is good quality. It is waterproof and provides natural airflow.
This is a reasonably priced generator cover that will protect you from rain and snow.
It comes in two colors, gray and tan. It also helps to promote natural airflow.
This is a square generator cover that is universal. It should fit over the majority of generators. It is very reasonable in its price and it is water-resistant.
It comes with a three-year warranty. It is suitable for use in the snow and rain and is a good choice for those of a budget.
This is another very reasonably priced generator cover that is great for those on a budget. It is universal and is made out of durable polyester fabric. It is safe to use in the rain.
In addition to purchasing a tent or cover for your generator, you can choose to create your own. If doing so, you will need to ensure that you are using durable materials that will keep the rain and snow from damaging your generator.
We would only recommend creating your own generator cover if you are certain that it will be safe. Purchasing a generator cover or tent is the safer option.
We hope that you found this article informative. As you can see, while it is not recommended to use a portable generator when it is raining snowing, or if there is a hurricane if you ensure that the generator is covered it is possible if needed.
We would always recommend that you ensure that your portable generator is suitably covered before running it. You will also need to ensure that it is properly ventilated.
In addition to this, never bring your generator inside as this can be dangerous. Always exercise much caution before turning the generator on.