Aug 01, 2022
If you recently purchased a generator for your home or are considering installing one, but you’re wondering is it okay to run a generator in the rain, you’ve come to the right place. We’re not going to beat around the bush on this one. Electricity and water don’t mix well together at all, and if you attempt to mix them, then electrocution and generator damage are both likely. If you’re wondering, “Can a generator run in the rain?”, the answer is “absolutely not,” for most models.
Most generators are not waterproof and should not be operated during a rainstorm. The only possible exception to this is if you have a fully covered generator that’s completely protected from rainfall and has plenty of air circulation. In any other scenario, generators should not be operated when the environment is wet. Otherwise, you put yourself, your family, your home, and your generator at serious risk.
What Does a Generator Do?
Your home can’t run without electricity. It’s what keeps your lights on, your plumbing working, your HVAC unit powered, and most other things in your home operational. Without electricity, your home can’t function how it's designed. Unfortunately, power outages are a very real possibility and can leave your home without electricity for hours, if not days or weeks at a time in severe situations.
While your municipal power supply is vulnerable and susceptible to failure, installing a home generator can help ensure you have a backup supply of power when needed. Generators provide several benefits to residential homes, including but not limited to the following:
- Backup power supply during a power outage so your home is never without electricity
- Can provide stand-alone power, or work together with the municipal power supply as needed
- Provide savings on energy bills when switching to the generator power during peak electrical demands
- Provide efficient power to the home at no extra cost
Can a Generator Run in the Rain Under Any Circumstances?
Since generators are often used to supply power to a home during municipal power outages—and since these power outages are likely to occur during a storm—it’s normal to ask, “Is it ok to run generator in the rain?” You may be wondering “Are generators waterproof?” or be trying to figure out if there is any circumstance where running a generator in the rain is permissible.
The most accurate answer to these questions ultimately depends on the type of generator you have or plan to get, but in the majority of cases, it is entirely unsafe to operate a generator in the rain. The only way to make this situation safe is to cover or enclose the generator so it is fully protected from water infiltration but can get the necessary airflow. However, not all enclosures are appropriate for generators, and since generators need to sit on a flat, dry surface, not every location is ideal for them either. Always be careful and follow the manufacturer's directions when enclosing or covering your generator.
A generator needs to stay dry but it also requires good air circulation to operate. Without proper air circulation, it will overheat and build up carbon monoxide emissions, presenting serious dangers for you and your home. Never bring your generator inside your home (or inside your garage), even in an attempt to protect it from the rain. Doing so presents life-threatening risks. Your generator could overheat and will build up dangerous gasses without proper ventilation.
If you’re wondering “are generators waterproof?” then know they’re likely not. Even “all-weather” generators should not be used in the rain since they aren’t 100 percent waterproof. All-weather units can provide serious electrocution risks when exposed to water.
How to Protect Your Generator from the Rain
Wet Weather Cover
A wet weather cover is a great way to protect your generator, especially if you only use it a few times in the year. This is a temporary solution but suitable for keeping your generator safe from inclement weather. Keep in mind that you shouldn’t simply use a tarp from your local hardware store, but rather use a waterproof cover manufactured for your generator. These wet weather covers are designed to keep water and moisture out while allowing proper airflow and exhaust. It will keep your generator dry and ventilated.
When purchasing a wet weather cover, be sure it’s the right size and shape for your generator model to ensure a secure fit.
Permanent Generator Cover
A permanent cover for your generator is the ideal solution if you use your generator regularly. If it’s your permanent backup power system or if it provides supplemental power to your home, a permanent cover can help save you the time and mental stress of needing to put on and take off a wet weather cover. It is also more durable.
When building a permanent cover for your generator, it’s important to pick the right location. Settling your generator away from your home to prevent toxic fumes from seeping into your home is a necessity. You can build your cover out of any material that will prevent water from seeping in—wood or even brick. Make sure to properly research the construction or hire a professional to install a permanent generator cover for you. It must allow proper air circulation and ventilation so it doesn’t overheat or build up harmful fumes.
Schedule a Service with CroppMetcalfe
If you’re looking to install a new generator or if you need maintenance on your current unit, reach out to CroppMetcalfe for assistance. We can help you determine the best place for your backup generator and assist you in building a cover to keep your unit protected from bad weather. Reach out to us for any of your electrical service needs.