Many people run their generators inside their home, garage, or shed because they’re worried about the weather or about theft. But running your generator inside can quickly turn deadly – you should never run your generator inside under any circumstances!
Instead, the solution is to protect your generator from any conditions outside and to secure it against potential thieves. Checkout a handful of tips and tricks you can use to keep your generator safe while using it.
Protect Your Generator from Any Weather
There are two goals for protecting your generator from rain and snow. The first is to protect the generator itself, including exposed engine parts and wiring. The second is to keep moisture out of the outlet panel so that you don’t run a risk of electrocution.
The best way to protect your generator from rain and snow is to create an outdoor shelter for it. This structure can be temporary if you only use your generator in bad weather occasionally, or you can invest in a more durable and sturdy structure for long-term use.
There is a huge variety of pre-designed generator shelters available on the market. Some of these are lightweight, portable tent-like structures, while others are more rugged metal boxes that you can put a generator inside. If you opt for any of these pre-designed structures, make sure that the structure offers plenty of room for air flow and that there is a place for exhaust to escape.
Check out this awesome DIY shed below!
You can also easily build your own shelter using materials you likely already have around the house. For a one-off solution, simply hang a tarp between trees or fenceposts and place your generator under it. Alternatively, you can use scrap wood or PVC piping to build a small structure with a tarp roof that is custom-fit to house your generator.
Whenever building your own generator housing, keep in mind that your generator needs to be far enough from the house that exhaust fumes won’t enter through a window or get sucked into your home’s air intakes. Also beware that exposed engine parts are hot enough to burn through a tarp, so it’s never a good idea to simply drape a tarp over your generator.
Unfortunately, any shelter will have a tough time keeping your generator fully dry in windy conditions, when snow and rain are blowing sideways. In this case, you should orient the generator so that the outlet panel is facing away from the wind and will be better protected from moisture.
Securing Your Generator Against Thieves
Thieves present another threat to your generator, especially if you’re leaving your generator outside overnight during an extended outage. While thieves can be hard to outsmart, you can make stealing your generator difficult and time-consuming enough that it’s simply not worth their effort.
The first thing you can do to protect your generator is to keep it out of sight. Whenever possible, move your generator into your backyard or out of sight of the street in order to run it. If thieves don’t know you have a generator to begin with, they won’t come trying to steal it.
The second thing you can do to counteract theft is to securely lock up your generator. To do this, you’ll need a length of chain, a sturdy lock, and a fixed point you can lock to. If you don’t have a point on your house or a large tree that you can run a chain around, you can even lock your generator to a spike driven into the ground.
Most bike locks and other small locks won’t stop thieves – and many won’t even slow them down. So when choosing a lock, it’s important to opt for a lock that requires serious effort to cut or drill through.
If your generator has removable wheels, taking them off while you’re using the generator is another way to discourage thieves. If the generator is impossible for one person to lift, or is going to force multiple thieves to move extremely slowly, that can be enough of a disincentive for them to leave your generator alone.
Finally, one additional measure you can take to secure your generator is to install a home security system. Advertising that you have a security system will not only keep thieves from even coming to your house in the first place, but also alert you – and potentially the police – if someone does try to steal your generator out of your yard or garage.
Having a system for protecting your generator in any weather conditions and from potential thieves ensures that you won’t have to think twice about making use of your generator. It also means that you’ll never be tempted to run your generator inside, which can endanger you and your family.
While there are plenty of pre-designed options available for both weather protection and security, it’s easy to design your own systems that custom-fit your generator and your home.