The Truth About Running a Portable Generator in the Rain (2023)

Nowadays you see them almost everywhere; portable generators. They are useful for a variety of applications, including home use during a power outage and commercial backup power. However, what still worries many potential users: one of them is the weather.

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You could be in danger if you run a generator in the rain. After all, it is an electronic device that mechanically generates electricity to operate electrical equipment. Isn't it like we could turn on the exhaust or add a roof to keep it dry?

Well not exactly. However, there are some concerns when considering running a generator in the rain. Before you start using any of these devices in harsh conditions, it's important to understand why. Let's look at this frequently asked question about running a generator in the rain.

Can I run a generator in the rain?

It is dangerous to operate a portable generator in wet weather unless you have a good quality tent, shelter, plywood, or materials to cover your generator. Operating a generator in wet weather carries the risk of electrocution or damage to the generator, so it is necessary to place it in a dry location.

Always make sure the surface around the generator is dry before starting it and keep an eye out for approaching storms or even hurricanes. Generators can be beneficial for providing power in emergencies, but they still need to be cared for properly.

The dangers of running a generator in the rain

Most people know that running a generator in the rain can be dangerous, but many don't realize how difficult it can be. Here are some dangers to be aware of:

electric shock

Even if the generator is turned off, contact with a damp or damp generator can kill. The high voltage generated by alternators can cause electric shock or explosion if moisture gets into the plug or seeps into the motor.

Properly grounding your generator reduces the risk of electric shock. A portable Ground Fault Circuit Breaker (GFCI) is the best way to ground it. Learn more about grounding portable generators.

Even if you run the generator on dry ground with a GFCI, you can still get an uncomfortable jolt if you stand in a puddle. The generator must be stored with a canopy or elements for the protection structure to avoid getting wet and protect itself.

fire hazards

You may still be at risk if you have protected your generator. Without proper ventilation, generators will not work effectively and can even catch fire from the heat. Similarly, overfilling with fuel such as gas or gasoline near the generator or overloading is also a potential fire hazard.

The Truth About Running a Portable Generator in the Rain (1)
(Video) Running your generator safely during a storm

In these situations, having a fire extinguisher in your car can reduce the damage but not eliminate the threat. It's okay to leave a portable generator out in the rain when not in use, but long-term problems such as: B. More maintenance and more problems can result from exposure to the elements.

That is why we recommend that you purchase or build a cover for your backup generator.

generator failure

Dual fuel capable generators are not designed to run on water. Suppose water enters any part of the generator. In this case, certain components could go bad and cause irreparable damage, forcing you to buy a new generator and incurring a replacement cost of $500 or more.

Tips on how to safely operate a generator

If you have a generator, it's important to know how to operate it safely. Here are some tips and a solution you could try:

Do not run your generator in the rain or near water.

You may have heard that water is an excellent conductor of electricity, but that is not true. Pure water does not conduct electricity because it does not contain electrons.

Natural water, such as rain or the water from your swimming pool or sprinkler system, is made up of sediment and minerals that ionize water molecules, making them conduct electricity. You can get a nasty electric shock if you touch any of the generator's electrical components with wet hands.

It would be even worse if the generator was standing in a puddle of water while it rains on you and it.

Keep your generator outside and away from your home

Generators are often placed indoors during a storm, but that's a risky proposition. Even the most ventilated places are not safe for generators. The Consumer Product Safety Commission warns that we are inadvertently putting ourselves at risk by placing our generators too close to or inside our homes.

While they may seem safety conscious, people inadvertently increase their risk of carbon monoxide poisoning by placing their generators close to home. When generators burn fuel, they release toxins, including monoxide.

Inhalation of these vapors will cause suffocation and subsequent loss of consciousness. The closer your generator is to your home, the more likely it is that you'll be exposed to carbon monoxide poisoning, which is why you should get a CO detector to assess emissions levels.

Never plug your generator into an electrical outlet

"Feedback" is a dangerous phenomenon that can permanently damage your electrical system and cause potentially fatal electrocution to anyone touching generator wires or working on main power lines. Avoid this process at all costs as it is very dangerous.

The Truth About Running a Portable Generator in the Rain (2)

Can I run my generator in the rain if it is covered?

If you want to run your generator without worrying about it getting wet, you'll have to pay a bit more for a cover than cheap non-running generators. You won't get much support running your generator set in the rain with a cheap basement cover.

Here are some of the best covers you might want to try and everything you need to know about these covers:

(Video) Generator Safety Running In Rainy, Snowy Conditions

GenTent 10k Generator Tent Barrel Cover

This generator cover, a product of the engineering line manufacturer, is designed to protect all types of generators between 3,000 and 10,000 watts.

The company claims that this generator tent is the only product on the market that keeps generators running safely in inclement weather. It has been tested for wind speeds of 70 mph, 12 inches of rain per day, and 18 inches of snow per day.

Even in hurricane conditions, this generator tent keeps your engine running at peak performance thanks to its optimal airflow. Waterproof cold tear resistant seams ensure this cover will last for years.

It's expensive equipment, but spending a hundred bucks on a proper generator cover will save you money in the long run.

IGAN Generator Shop Barrel Cover

The IGAN Generator Shop Running Cover is 100% waterproof and built to protect the most vulnerable areas of your machine from the harshest weather conditions. This heavy-duty canvas cover with a stainless steel frame is available for portable generators from 3500W to 12000W.

The canopy's strong construction prevents it from collapsing in heavy rain or snow, or being blown away by high winds.

IGAN Small Inverter Generator Tent Cover

The inverter generator tent cover provides complete protection from the elements while allowing enough natural air to keep the machine cool in its vents. Its unique design protects the machine when operating from 1,000 to 2,300 inverter watts, regardless of the weather.

This generator tent cover is made of a heavy-duty canvas reinforced with strong metal frames and fiberglass support poles to withstand harsh weather conditions. It's relatively inexpensive, has a 3-year warranty, and is a good option if you don't want to build your own generator shelter.

This is only suitable for fully enclosed generators, not frame portable generators. It's a great starting point if you don't want to build a generator shelter.

How to run a generator in the rain

It is important to protect a generator when it rains. You can use one of three options: steel body, plastic scale, or pop-top. This type of cover will work well for most generators.

Although you always need to protect yourself from injury, you can build your enclosure. In any case, you should take safety precautions. In this post, you will learn how to safely generate electricity while it is raining.

electric shocks

If the generator outlets get wet, the consequences can be serious. A GFCI is usually included with portable generators to prevent accidental electrocution.

The Truth About Running a Portable Generator in the Rain (3)

If water enters the panels, the risk of electric shock is significantly increased. Using an earth leakage breaker, the outputs of this device will shut off if they get wet.

(Video) GenTent - Protect Your Generator from Rain, Wind, Snow, and Storms!

plastic flakes

It is important to consider the size of the generator when determining how much to spend on a generator shed. Many of the plastic sheds that house generators are quite expensive. However, they are a good option if you want things that are sturdier than cloth or plastic sheeting.

You can find a wide variety of generators that work effectively in a plastic shed like this one. Beware of cluttered cabinets, as generators tend to overheat after prolonged operation.

A plastic screen can melt through the generator surfaces or someone can be seriously injured if touched.

pop up awning

If you have a generator, these are among the easiest to protect. It is easy to use but relatively weak and cannot protect against rain hitting sockets. The wind easily damages these canopies. Also, these awnings can be difficult to install on driveways, limiting the space you have to use them.

The Truth About Running a Portable Generator in the Rain (4)

You can get one of these for cheap as long as you want the fabric and frame to be of a high quality. It's fine, but we strongly recommend getting the recommended coverage.

steel box

When working with outdoor generators, one of the most effective ways to protect them is to house them in steel enclosures. This prevents overheating and allows optimal operation. When using steel casings, make sure the casing is assembled by a professional.

A proper foundation is also crucial. Certain generators can only be used in these cases. If you have a generator that won't work with it, keep reading because there are other ways to protect it from the elements.

generator covers

Protecting your generator in the rain is a terrible decision. Covers can be a simple answer to this problem. You can use a waterproof cover like the ones I described above to protect your generator from all weather conditions and ensure trouble-free operation at all times.

You can waterproof and protect your generator anywhere you want. In addition to being able to move the generator while the cover is in place, you don't have to worry about it overheating since most covers come with natural cooling options.

The elements

Shield all the most sensitive areas of the generator. Plugs are the most critical components, but not the only ones. If you reduce overheating with excellent airflow and shelter from high winds and other elements, you'll be fine.

The Truth About Running a Portable Generator in the Rain (5)


Running a portable generator in the rain is not as dangerous as you think. While it's true that you should take precautions to avoid electrocution, the risks are relatively small as long as you follow basic safety guidelines.

If you are operating a portable generator in the rain, you must ensure that the generator is properly grounded. Also, you should keep the generator dry and away from open flames. By following these basic safety guidelines, you should be able to safely operate a portable generator in the rain.

(Video) Can I run a generator in the rain?

Frequently asked questions

What happens if it rains on my generator?

A generator exposed to the elements can rust and eventually stop working. Over time, iron or steel that has been exposed to water and oxygen can corrode and weaken, a process known as rust.

Rain can cause rust to build up on the internal parts of a generator, which can accelerate the deterioration of the unit and ultimately cause it to stop working. This can be avoided by keeping the generator indoors during inclement weather and keeping it in excellent working order through routine maintenance.

How do I protect my portable generator from the rain?

There are several ways to prevent rain damage to your portable generator:

– Protect your generator from the weather and other elements by using a generator cover. Try to get a cover that is waterproof and made of a strong material.
– Keep the generator dry and protected from the elements by storing it in a dry, covered place, such as a garage or shed, when not in use.
- Keep your portable generator dry by placing it under a canopy or other covered structure if you must operate it outdoors. If there is a generator nearby, make sure the canopy is large enough to completely enclose it and is securely attached so it won't be blown away even in high winds.

Where do you put a generator during a storm?

The safe use of a generator requires certain precautions and recommendations issued by the National Weather Service. Keep the generator at least 20 feet from all building openings, including windows, doors, and vents.

As a result, there is less chance of carbon monoxide poisoning from generator exhaust coming into the home. Also, the National Weather Service recommends against using a generator indoors (even with the doors and windows open).

(Video) DIY Portable Generator Rain/Snow Shelter

This is because the gases from the generator can still be harmful to nearby people and animals. Using a generator indoors without proper ventilation is dangerous.

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