Since portable generators run outdoors, they can be at-risk for experiencing some of the elements. The question is: Can a generator get wet? The answer is No. Generators should not get wet. If your generator is at risk of getting wet, you need to utilize a generator shelter to ensure dry running conditions for safety.
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Why Can’t a Generator Get Wet
A generator should not get wet because this becomes a major safety issue for you, the operator. Since portable generators use electric plugs, you can be a danger of electrical shock when water makes contact with a live electrical connection through the plug. Using a GFCI outlet if possible is a great idea because it will automatically shut off if it detects contact with water at all.
The generator can also become damaged if water makes contact with any of the electrical components within the generator. In general we always say it’s never a good idea to use your generator in wet conditions.
How Can I Keep My Generator from Getting Wet
Now that we’ve established that it’s never OK for your generator to get wet, we need to cover how to properly keep an outdoor portable generator dry.
Keeping your generator dry is much easier with the help of a generator shelter or cover. When thinking about building or buying a portable generator shelter you need to consider the following:
- Size: Make sure the interior is roomy enough for your generator to fit. Give yourself room to refuel, perform maintenance, and easily get to the cords and exhaust.
- Ventilation: Your shelter must have proper venting to allow both heat and exhaust to escape. Overheating of your portable generator can cause it to shut down, as well as other mechanical issues.
- Coverage: The whole point in this instance is to keep the generator from getting wet, so we need to focus on this part. Rain doesn’t just come straight down. High winds can blow rain practically sideways. Because of this it’s critical to make sure your shelter covers a wide area.
What to do if My Generator Gets Wet?
If your generator does get wet, you need to first assess how wet it is and go from there:
Rained on or general contact with water
Odds are, this is what happened to you and thankfully it isn’t too difficult to fix. If your generator gets wet here’s what we suggest:
- Let it sit
- Hopefully you can afford to wait and just let it sit in a warm area to dry off first.
- Dry it off
- Like we mention below, you can use some indirect heat and even cool air to help speed things along. The key is to get it as dry as possible before turning it back on.
- Run it
- First make sure your generator is safe from rain or snow, and not in danger of getting wet again. Now it’s time to run your generator. Running your generator will warm up all the components and really help to speed up the drying process. Now you’re good to go!
It’s important to not make a habit out of getting your generator wet, following these steps and repeating the process. Even with just a bit of water off and on it can wear and tear on the components of your generator. Make the mistake once, get a shelter, and try to not get it wet again is our best advice.
Completely submerged in water
If your generator somehow gets completely submerged in water, the process is a bit longer. You’ll need to start disassembling your generator and drying each part out as best as you can. You should use indirect heat and let the parts dry at warm temperatures. Using a heat gun for instance is not advised as it can actually melt some elements in the unit.
The drying process can also be sped up by using cool air to help the water to evaporate. Even something like a leaf blower can assist in the drying process.
Can a generator get rained on?
No- a generator cannot get rained on because of the various electrical components that make up a portable generator. Water and electronics don’t mix and can shock you and/or harm your generator long-term.
Can a generator be stored outside?
Yes, generators can be stored outside if you take the proper precautions and provide a shelter for your generator to ensure it will stay dry.
Can I use my Generator During a Storm?
Yes, this is a very common time to use a generator when the threat of a power outage is possible. This is the reason you got a generator in the first place! What you need to do build or buy a generator shelter like we’ve outlined above.
Can my Generator get Snowed on?
No, you should not run your generator while it is snowing, or if there is snow on it. Snow provides the same threats as rain, but at a tad slower rate. Wet is still wet and we strongly advise not exposing your portable generator to snow.