How to Run a Generator in the Rain

If you’re running your generator, chances are the weather is less than ideal. Generators are designed to keep your house powered in some of the worst conditions. But most generators are also designed to be run outside – sometimes in the middle of those bad weather conditions. In fact, you should never run a generator inside, and almost every generator’s instructions warn you not to operate it in the rain. So how do you keep your house powered in the pouring rain? Here are some tips on how to run a generator in the rain.

What Not To Do

We’ll start with some tips on how not to run a generator in the rain. Some of these tips are here to keep you from making dangerous mistakes. Others will help you get the most out of your generator and keep it running during bad weather. Whatever you do:

  • Don’t Run Your Generator Inside (Even in the Garage). It can make sense to think your generator will be fine in the garage if you leave the door up or cracked. But even with the door open, harmful and dangerous fumes can get caught in your garage. That creates a fire risk, affects the air quality in your home, and can even cause illness or death. Gas- and propane-powered generators should always be operated outside where fumes can ventilate properly.
  • Don’t Cover Your Generator with a Tarp or Plastic. Keeping your generator dry during rainy weather should never involve a tarp, plastic, or any other kind of cover. These covers can get pulled into the motor, can block the generator’s exhaust, and otherwise cause your generator to stop or even become damaged. 
  • Don’t Put Your Generator in a Covered Truck Bed. At the risk of sounding repetitive – don’t put your generator in an enclosed or partially enclosed space. It may seem like a good idea to keep the generator dry, but trapped fumes can be incredibly dangerous.
  • Don’t Leave Your Generator Out in the Rain. “What’s the worst that can happen?” An electrical fire, a short that damages your home’s power system, a busted generator…the list goes on. Always operate your generator on a dry surface protected from the rain.

How to Properly Run a Generator in the Rain

The old saying goes that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Be prepared for the inevitable – a rainy day when you need your generator to power your home. Ideally, you’ll have a flat, covered surface that is open on at least three sides for ventilation. That might be a back porch, front patio, or the underside of a deck. 

The key to safely and effectively running your generator in the rain is making sure that it is covered but well-ventilated. You don’t want to create the opportunity for fumes from the generator to become trapped. Find – or build – a spot that is convenient to your home and covered with a canopy-type structure. These spaces don’t have to be exclusively for use with your generator! You can build a pergola on your back deck or in your back yard close to the door with a cover for rainy days. If your power goes out, the pergola’s pad can become the perfect spot for your generator. 

Of course, you can avoid having to worry about where to put your generator by installing a standby generator. These beasts of power production are often housed underground or in a part of your house and are ready to power your home for as long as three weeks at a time. But if you’re sticking with a portable gas- or propane-powered generator, plan ahead to keep it protected from the rain!

Call the Generator Experts

If you have a specific question about your generator or you’re ready to upgrade, call the portable power pros at Northside Power. Our experienced team can help you pick the right generator to meet your power needs and give you advice on how to get the most out of your generator. Call or visit us today for reliable machines and service to power your family’s adventures!