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Natural disasters tend to cause a lot of problems. When using a portable generator as a backup power source after a loss of power from a storm, you might run into an additional problem.
Typically, it’s not safe to use generators in wet weather, rain, or snow.
Often, these conditions are unavoidable and they often occur when you need the generator’s power most. Is there a solution?
Can you run a generator in the rain?The short answer is yes, you can run a generator in the rain so long as you have a special cover to shelter it from getting wet. However, you should be extremely careful when operating a generator in the rain.
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All manufacturers typically state very strongly and clearly that their generators should not be used in rain or other wet conditions.
The reason is largely a safety issue.
Generators produce powerful voltage and when you add wet conditions, this could lead to electrocution or some kind of explosion.
It could also result in permanent damage to your generator.
If any moisture were to get into the outlets, it could be disastrous.
It’s important to protect your generator from exposure to moisture for safety reasons but also to keep the generator in ideal working condition.
Options For Safely Using a Generator During Wet Conditions
Rain and snow can’t be avoided yet you sometimes have a desperate need for power during these conditions.
You might be relieved to learn that there are a few options for safely using your generator despite wet conditions.
Purchase a special cover
GenTent Safety Canopies (click here to check the latest price on amazon) are one example of a way to protect your generator from the elements while letting you safely operate it.
The GenTent canopy protects and waterproofs all of the sensitive areas that you don’t want to get wet.
This special canopy doesn’t interfere with the portability of the generator so you can easily install it and take it down for transport to different locations.
You might think that any kind of cover like this would lead the generator to overheat but the GenTent canopy maintains the kind of airflow you want and promotes natural cooling.
It can handle strong winds up to 70 MPH so you should be safe even in hurricane or blizzard conditions.
The GenTent is a pretty ideal product and it’s very reasonably priced.
Being able to use your generator safely even in wet and stormy conditions is priceless.
- Safely run your portable generator outside in any wet weather - rain, snow, ice, sleet, and wind.
- Waterproof and sheds water away, prrotecting sensitive electrical areas, large door for easy refuel.
- Patented design maintains generator natural cooling air flow; keep generator portable.
Another option is a steel enclosure. (click here to see a steel enclosure kit on Amazon )
These do provide a safe way to operate the generator but they are quite expensive and they do generally require professional installation.
You may need to lay a pad of cement to install the enclosure on.
In addition to the possibly prohibitive price, another big downside to a steel enclosure is that it is not portable.
It’s fine to use at home but if you want to be able to take your portable generator to different locations, you’ll be stuck without a safe way to power it in wet conditions everywhere else.
You can find similar enclosures made from retrofitted plastic.
These tend to be a bit cheaper than the steel ones but there is a serious concern that the sheds will lead to overheating or possibly even fire.
Build your own enclosure
For the DIY crowd, another option is to build your own enclosure.
You can find a number of tutorials online that will walk you through how to make your own enclosure.
This tutorial teaches you how to make a wooden “doghouse” style enclosure with venting to prevent overheating.
DIY Generator Cover
The video above shows you how to make a portable tent that folds up using PVC pipe and tarp.
For this kind of homemade tend, it’s a good idea to place the generator and tent on top of a piece of dry wood when using it in wet conditions.
If you’re in a pinch and don’t have time to build a more permanent enclosure or tent, you may be able to rig up a quick canopy using some canvas tarp.
Just make sure that there is no way that moisture will be able to get inside any of the sensitive areas of the generator.
When building your own enclosure to use during wet conditions, it’s important to remember a few things:
- the sensitive areas of the generator, especially the outlets, must be 100% protected from moisture
- you need to maintain some kind of air flow through ventilation of some kind or you will risk overheating
- make sure your enclosure can handle the elements, including strong wind
- make sure your enclosure is portable
Whether you purchase a product like the GenTent Safety Canopy or build your own enclosure, using a generator during wet weather can be a safe and easy experience.
As long as you take the proper precautions, there’s no reason you can’t use your portable generator during a storm.
That’s great news because we often need generators more than ever during storms!
Have you ever used something like the GenTent canopy or a DIY enclosure with your portable generator during rain or snow? How did it go?
If you’ve built your own enclosure, let us know your best tips in the comments.
Last update on 2020-08-03 Affiliate links & images from Amazon Product Advertising API