How to run a generator in the rain?

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Quite often you have to run a portable generator when it is raining. In case you want to try moving the generator inside in the hope to protect it from adverse weather conditions, I strongly advise you from doing that. Running a generator inside is dangerous for your health and sometimes life. Any kind of internal combustion engine power generator is releasing a significant amount of carbon monoxide.

It is easy to set up a generator close to your house or camper and use the extension cord to connect your equipment. But, all of sudden, heavy rain or snow could easily damage your generator or even put you in danger.

Can you even run the generator in the rain? How to protect your generator when it is raining? How to store a portable generator outside? Let’s find out the answers to all these questions.

Can a generator run in the rain?

Absolutely yes. The generator can run in the rain and even during storms. In fact, if you’re using the generator as backup power, you will inevitably face the need to use it when it is raining outside.

The question is – how do you protect your generator from getting wet and getting damaged because of heavy rain? It is a rather expensive piece of equipment that can also become dangerous when too much water gets on top of it.

Can a portable generator run in the rain?

Again, the answer is yes but with a few precautions. Even though it is a portable generator that is smaller than its standby counterpart and is meant to be moved around for camping, partying, or non-frequent usage as a backup, it will also need a rain cover. So, keep that in mind, and don’t forget to always carry suitable rain protection for your portable generator.

Can gas generators run in the rain?

These types of generators are the most popular ones and they can run in the rain similarly to any other type of power generator. As long as you cover it from rain, you can rest assured the gas generator will operate safely and reliably in rain.

Can you run an inverter generator in the rain?

An inverter generator is more efficient and quiet compared to a conventional generator. You can easily set it up outside and use it in rainy weather.

The only difference when running an inverter generator in the rain is that you will need to purchase a special type of tent cover.
A standard tent will not fully cover the inverter device. That’s why, if you’re buying a ready-to-use tent or canopy, you will need it to be bigger than the standard size such that your inverter will be fully protected with a waterproof cover.

What can happen if the generator gets wet?

As soon as enough water gets into the generator’s control panel or its power outlets, be ready for a short circuit. In most cases, this will do permanent damage to your generator. This will only happen if it is running, otherwise, when there is no current present in the generator, there will not be any immediate consequences.

Wet generator
Wet generator

Having said that, you should never attempt to start the generator after it’s been seriously exposed to rain or snow. By doing so, you are at risk of being electrocuted.

Besides the obvious dangers of being hit by an electric shock, if you step close to the wet ground with a soaked generator that is running, your appliances that are connected to it might also get damaged if the generator is wet.

How to cover the generator in the rain?

Running a generator in rain is absolutely possible with certain measures put in place. In order to run a generator while raining, you are going to need to cover it. Anything from DYI solutions (made of metal, plastic, wood, etc.) is going to work, as long as your generator is reliably covered with some room left for ventilation and exhaust.

Generator rain cover metal box
Generator rain cover metal box

Here is a list of generator covers that you can use:

Any of mentioned above will work. As long as your generator is protected from above, and, ideally from those sides where the power outlets and control panel are, it can be safely run during the rain.

How to Run a Generator In the Rain?

Now, as we have figured out how to cover a generator from bad weather, and we are sure that we can run it in the rain, I have prepared a short guide on how to do it properly.

Here is how you should run a generator in the rain:

  • Step 1. Choose a flat place a bit higher from the ground level (to make sure water can’t accumulate under your generator forming a puddle)

  • Step 2. Put your rain cover on your generator.

  • Step 3. Place a generator and its cover on the spot from Step 1.

  • Step 4. Connect your electric equipment to a generator using the waterproof extension cord.

  • Step 5. Run your generator and enjoy using it during the rain.

You should always use a flat space and waterproof cords with waterproof connectors with ground wire included.

How do you cover a generator in a storm?

When a severe storm is coming, it is best to cover your generator with something that will protect it from rain and wind. The easiest way to do this is by using a metal case. The ideal case should be heavy enough to prevent the wind from moving it back and forth, while also protecting the generator from showers.

Depending on the storm’s severity, other types of cover that work from rain would also work in case of a storm. Just make sure the cover is strong enough to withstand gusts of wind, while also providing good water protection.

Can you cover a generator with a tarp?

You can cover a generator with a tarp as long as it is waterproof. However, you should be aware of the fact that water from rain will form and accumulate under the tarp if you don’t put something underneath to protect your generator from direct contact with the ground or floor.

Waterproof tarps work well for covering generators in case you are out of other options and need a quick solution.

Another precaution when using a tarp cover is that you must not allow it to tightly cover your generator. This equipment needs ventilation and a way to evacuate the carbon monoxide. So, just wrapping it with a tarp won’t work. You are going to need to build some sort of metal or plastic frame around the generator, and then, attach the tarp to this frame.

Can you store a generator outside?

If you don’t have the possibility to store your generator indoors, then you can leave it outside as long as you cover it from rain.

The rain cover is important even when the generator is turned off. If you leave a generator under constant rain, you will soon have to dispose of it. Corrosion from constant contact with water and air will quickly destroy the main components of the generator.

Make sure that the place where you are storing is flat and a bit higher from the ground so that water doesn’t accumulate and damage the generator. Also, make sure that your cover can protect the generator from severe storms. So, the best is to use a metal box if you want to safely store the generator outdoors.

Storing a generator outside
Storing a generator outside

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