Portable generators in the market today are well-engineered and can withstand both human-caused and natural troubles.
Since generators can withstand all weather conditions, you might wonder if they are waterproof. Unfortunately, generators are not 100% waterproof, and running them in snow or rain is unsafe.
While some manufacturers advertise models to run safely in all weather conditions, it’s best to remember that water and electric-powered generators don’t mix.
Read on to learn how you can operate your generator in bad weather that is characterized by snow and rain:
Can a Generator Stay Outside in the Rain?
It’s best to understand that there are significant differences between whole-house and portable generators. Whole-house backup generators are made with protective covers that keep them safe in snow, rain, or sleet, making them the best option for providing power to the entire home during an emergency.
On the other hand, you shouldn’t use a portable generator without a cover in the rain. Therefore, it’s critical to find out whether you can run a portable generator in the rain before purchasing one and using it during stormy weather.
Most manufacturers will clearly state that a portable generator isn’t designed to be used in wet or rainy weather because the water can damage the generator and pose a safety risk to anyone nearby.
Check this too: Generac Generator How to & Troubleshooting Guide
Always remember that generators operate by burning flammable fuels. They are also designed to produce powerful voltage, and when moisture gets into the outlets or seeps into the garage, it might result in an explosion or electrocution. Therefore, don’t allow a portable generator to operate uncovered in the rain or to get wet.
Do You Need to Cover a Generator in the Rain?
Generators produce a large amount of voltage; therefore, if moisture enters their working parts in any way, it might cause electrocution or, even worse, an explosion.
Since you can’t bring generators inside, or use them outside in rainy weather, don’t think they are useless. Instead, you can devise certain methods to ensure continuous power backup with extreme care.
If you can build a strong and waterproof generator shade to protect the generator, you can use your generator for the long-term, with an uninterrupted power supply outside.
If you get a generator shade or shelter, look for the following three features:
- Fire resistance
- Protects all parts of the generator from water
- Allow quality airflow
- Prevents overheating
Sometimes it becomes crucial to use the generator during bad weather. In such cases, you need a waterproof tent or cover to protect the generator from rain currents or other major rainstorms. If the cover is not 100% waterproof, it can damage the generator or cause an explosion.
How to Cover Your Generator in Rainy Conditions
You can cover your generator in wet or rainy conditions by using these techniques:
A steel enclosure is a safe system to protect the generator; however, it’s expensive and requires professional installation. For some steel enclosures, you might also need to lay a cement layer to install the enclosure.
If you opt for a steel enclosure, it’s best to ensure the generator doesn’t overheat. Therefore, it’s best to use louvered openings that allow quality airflow and prevent overheating.
While a steel enclosure provides complete safety, it doesn’t offer portability. Moving the generator in a steel enclosure becomes quite impossible if it has a base cement layer. Therefore, you must use the generator in wet weather without any safety or remain stuck at home.
A generator canopy is a great way to secure the generator from wet conditions. It protects your generator and all its components from dust, raindrops, and other harmful particles while allowing it to operate safely.
A generator canopy is ideal in extreme weather conditions because it can handle strong winds of up to 70 mph; therefore, you don’t have to worry even if there’s a hurricane. You can also use a generator canopy to cover inverters, portable, or industrial generators.
The canopy doesn’t affect a generator’s portability; you can easily install it and still take down the machine to whatever location you want.
It’s also great to note that a generator canopy allows proper airflow and prevents overheating. This is because they are made in a way that they always maintain quality airflow and promote natural cooling.
Custom DIY Generator Covers
Custom DIY generator covers can be effective; however, you need to know what you’re doing; otherwise, the cover might not be properly waterproofed or have the right ventilation, resulting in the generator overheating.
Retrofitted Plastic Enclosure
You can also opt for a retrofitted plastic enclosure to cover your generator. While this is a cheaper solution, there’s a grave concern that the cover might overheat due to reduced airflow and can even catch fire.
Can You Run a Honda Generator in the Rain?
Honda generators are not waterproof; therefore, it’s best to avoid using them outdoors when it’s raining. It’s best to avoid using Honda generators in a wet environment because they aren’t waterproof.
Can You Run an Inverter Generator in the Rain?
Inverter generators use a computer-controlled inverter to provide usable power, making them lighter, quieter, and more efficient than open-framed models. In addition, adding an inverter ensures less fluctuation in the current of the power generated, just like a regulator.
It’s not advisable to run an inverter generator in the rain because if water enters any parts, it can lead to electrocution or an explosion.
However, if you want to use an inverter generator in the rain, you can secure it using a generator canopy. With such a cover, you don’t have to worry about rainy or wet conditions when using your inverter generator.
Can a Portable Generator Be Left Outside?
A portable generator is a great investment whether you live in your RV, are a homeowner, or use a generator when camping. However, it can also present a storage problem if you’re not using it, especially if you live on a property without good storage options.
Additionally, placing your portable generator outside is advisable to keep your loved ones safe from carbon monoxide. However, harsh weather conditions can damage your portable generator if it remains outdoors without a proper overhang or coverage. Storing a generator outdoors is risky; however, you can make it work by adequately covering it.
If you leave your portable generator outside, ensure it’s in a dry spot, away from direct sunlight, and won’t get hit by falling branches.
It’s okay to store your portable generator outside as long as you take appropriate measures to protect it. For example, storing your generator outside is generally acceptable if you keep it covered to prevent damage from wind, rain, flying, and falling objects.
Here are some short-term and long-term storage options when leaving your generator outside:
Short-Term Outdoor Storage (One Month or Less)
When storing your portable generator outside on a short-term basis, you’re assuming that you might need it at any point. Therefore, it’s best to ensure the generator is ready to go when needed. Here’s how you can store a generator in the short term:
- First, dust your generator off and ensure it stays clean.
- Remove any large debris or equipment from your generator’s direct path so you can get to it easily.
- Take time to clean off any grease, grime, or old stains.
- Next, ensure that you change the oil on your generator.
- Next, carry out a more detailed visual inspection of the inner working of your generator to ensure the wiring is intact.
- Finally, fill the fuel tank to ensure you have some gas on hand if needed.
Long-Term Outdoor Storage (More Than a Month)
You can make the following preparations if you won’t use your generator for an extended period and you want to get it ready for long-term storage:
- Thoroughly dust off and clean your generator. You won’t use the generator for a while; therefore, it’s best to ensure that you clean it up and it’s ready for your next use.
- Carry out a thorough inspection of the inner workings of your generator. This process involves removing the outer cover of the generator and inspecting the inner workings to ensure that everything is intact and no major repairs are needed.
- Add a stabilizer or drain the fuel tank. Draining the fuel tank ensures that it doesn’t go bad, which causes big problems if you try to start it up.
- Store your generator in a safe place outside. When choosing a spot for storing your generator, ensure that it’s away from limbs or trees that could fall on top of it. Also, it would help if you kept your generator covered to protect it from snow and rain.
Where Should You Store Your Portable Generator?
The best place to store your portable generator is in a dry place protected from outside elements. Rain, snow, and heavy winds can harm your generator; therefore, it’s best to avoid them. You can store your portable generator in some of these places:
Garage or Shop
If you have a garage or shop where you park your vehicles and store your tools, then you shouldn’t have issues including a generator in such a space. Shops and garages offer protection from the elements, and some even have air conditioning, which is better for your generator.
RV or Work Trailer
A covered trailer or RV you don’t use frequently is an excellent storage option for your generator. However, don’t store your generator in the RV if you plan to go camping with it. Generators are bulky and difficult to move depending on their size; therefore, they might become an obstacle during camping preparations.
Lean-To or Garden Shed
A garden shed will not offer weather-proof protection for your generator; however, it will keep it from the direct impact of heavy winds and rain. While this option isn’t as good as storing your generator in a garage or shop, it’s better than leaving it completely outside. If you opt for this solution, wrap your generator in a protective cover to keep it as dry and safe as possible.
Can You Cover a Generator With a Tarp?
A generator cover helps protect it from moisture or dirt that might affect its operation. Full-cover generator covers are meant to cover your generator during storage; however, some can stay in place while the machine is being used.
Check this too: Why is My Generator Running but Not Producing Power?
If you are likely to use your generator in the rain, you can create a quick canopy with a canvas tarp. However, it’s best to ensure that moisture doesn’t get into the sensitive sections of the generator. Additionally, ensure that the tap doesn’t completely enclose the generator.
Generators are not 100% waterproof; however, you can use them in the rain with proper care and attention. It’s best to ensure that you use a good protective cover with good ventilation to cover your generator and keep moisture away.