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Can you run a generator in the rain?

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If you’ve ever suffered a power outage for an extended period of time, you know how frustrating it can be. Portable generators can be a lifesaver in these situations, providing much-needed electricity for things like lights and refrigerators. 

But what happens if the weather takes a turn for the worse? Can you still use your portable generator safely in the rain? The answer is yes, but there are a few things you need to keep in mind.

In this article you’ll find out more about running generators in wet weather and what could happen if you don’t follow the proper precautions.

We look at whether rain will ruin a generator, what happens if it gets wet, and how to run a generator and protect it in wet weather. 

If you’re thinking about purchasing a generator, you’ll want to make sure that you understand the proper way to store and use it.

We’ll cover what you need to think about throughout this article. You’ll also find some useful tips on storage, generator covers, and the correct placement for them.

Will rain ruin a generator?

Depending on the type of generator, you may be able to run it in the rain. Portable generators, for example, usually have weather-resistant covers that protects the engine and electrical components from the elements.

However, running a generator in wet conditions can still be dangerous. Slips and falls are a common hazard, and electrical shocks are also a serious risk. If you need to use your generator during a rainstorm, be sure to take the following precautions to stay safe.

portable generator set up in rain

Take these precautions when using a portable generator in the rain

Set the generator up on a dry, level surface. If possible, place it under an awning or shelter to keep it dry.

If you’re using the generator outdoors, make sure it’s at least 20 feet away from any building. This will help prevent deadly carbon monoxide poisoning from fumes seeping into your property.

Before running the generator, read the owner’s manual to be sure it’s safe to operate in wet weather. Some models are not designed for use in the rain and can be damaged by exposure to moisture.

Also, only connect appliances and cords that are rated for outdoor use. Don’t plug the generator into your home’s electrical outlets, as this could create a deadly electrical hazard such as a “backfeed” of electricity that puts anyone who comes into contact with the outlet at risk of electrocution.

In addition, it puts strain on the generator and could cause damage to your home’s electrical system. If you must use a generator during a power outage, be sure to consult an electrician before connecting it to your home’s wiring.

Contact Solent Power today, to make sure your generator is up to date with its servicing and maintenance.

What happens if a generator gets wet?

A wet generator can ruin the engine, so it’s important to keep it dry. If the generator is outdoors, make sure it’s on a dry, level surface. If it’s wet, you can try to dry it off with a towel.

If the ground is wet, you can try to raise the generator off the ground using blocks or boards. If the generator is in an enclosure, make sure the enclosure is dry and well-ventilated. If the generator is wet and you can’t dry it off, you may need to replace it.

For anyone who relies on a portable generator, the threat of bad weather is always a concern. After all, if the generator gets wet, it could be ruined and cause a serious interruption in power.

So, what should you do if you’re expecting rain?

The first step is to make sure that your generator is properly covered. A generator cover will help to protect it from the elements and prevent water from getting inside.

If possible, try to position the generator under an eve or other shelter to further reduce the risk of exposure to the rain.

In addition, it’s important to regularly check the electrical components of your generator to make sure that they are dry and in good condition.

If any of the components are wet, they could short circuit and cause expensive damage. By taking these precautions, you can help to ensure that your portable generator will be able to weather any storm.

How do I protect my portable generator from rain?

There are a few measures you can take to lower the risk of bad weather causing you a problem.

First, make sure that your portable generator is properly grounded. This will help protect against electrical shocks. If you’re using a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) or residual current device (RCD), be sure to test it regularly.

Make sure it’s well ventilated

When you’re running the portable generator inside make sure there’s plenty of ventilation to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning. Remember to never refuel a running or hot genset. And always consult the owner’s manual before operating a portable generator. 

Second, keep your generator dry. If it gets wet, it could short circuit and cause a fire. If you must use your generator in the rain consider using a generator tent or generator enclosure.

These are specially designed to protect your generator from the elements, and can be found at most hardware stores. Alternatively, you can cover it with a tarp or other waterproof material.

Just be sure to secure the cover so that it doesn’t blow away in the wind and rain. By taking these simple precautions, you can help ensure that your generator stays dry – and safe – during inclement weather.

generator fumes

Beware of harmful fumes

Don’t run your portable generator inside your home. The exhaust fumes can be deadly. You must provide adequate airflow for the generator by operating it outdoors.

A minimum of 5 feet (1.5 meters) of space should be between the generator and any doors, windows, or vents leading into your home.

Additionally, the area around the generator should be clear of any flammable materials. We suggest keeping it at least 20 feet away from your property. This will help prevent carbon monoxide poisoning.

Finally, make sure you have a generator that’s rated for the amount of power you need. Overloading it can damage the generator and put you at risk for an electrical fire. When in doubt, consult the owner’s manual or a qualified electrician.

If you follow these safety tips, you’ll be able to use your portable generator in the rain without any problems.


Where do you put a generator during a storm?

During a major storm, it’s important to have a portable generator on hand to provide backup power. However, simply putting the generator in the garage or shed is not sufficient.

The generator needs to be placed in a well-ventilated area that is protected from the elements. Many people choose to build a DIY enclosure out of wood or metal.

The enclosure should be large enough to allow for proper ventilation, but small enough to be easily moved if necessary.

It’s also important to place the portable generator on a level surface, away from any wet ground. If the ground is too wet, it can cause the generator to overheat.

If you don’t have an enclosure, you can also place the generator on a steal platform or in a dry area such as a garage.

Once the generator is in a safe location, make sure to plug it into a surge protector to prevent damage from lightning strikes.

Keep it ready for action

In addition, it’s important to keep the fuel tank full so that the generator is ready to use at a moment’s notice

Finally, make sure whatever the solution for your own enclosure, it’s secured so that it won’t blow away in heavy wind or rain.

By following these simple tips, you can keep your generator safe during adverse weather conditions.

Can you leave a generator running unattended?

No, you should never leave a portable generator unattended while it’s running. If you need to leave the area for any reason, be sure to shut off the generator and disconnect it from all power sources.

If you must leave the area while the generator is running, be sure to have someone else stay with it who knows how to operate it safely.

Leaving a portable generator unattended is not only dangerous, but it’s also illegal in many areas.

The dangers of carbon monoxide:

Portable generators produce deadly carbon monoxide gas, and it is important to ensure that the gas does not build up to dangerous levels. If you need to leave your generator unattended, there are a few things you can do to stay safe.

First, make sure that the generator is properly ventilated so that the exhaust gases can escape. Second, keep the generator away from any open windows or doors to prevent the gas from entering your home.

Finally, consider investing in a carbon monoxide detector, which will give you an early warning if the gas level starts to get too high.

Let it cool before you refuel

Additionally, it’s important to never refuel a running or hot generator. Doing so could result in a fire or explosion. The heat from the engine and exhaust can cause the fuel to ignite, leading to a dangerous fire.

The fuel vapour that is generated when refuelling can be explosive if it comes into contact with a spark from the engine. For these reasons, it is always important to shut off the generator and allow it to cool down before refuelling.

It’s better to be safe than sorry

If you need to leave the area where the generator is running, it is important to shut it off first.

However, if you will be gone for a short period of time and there is a sprinkler system or transfer switch in place, it may be safe to leave the generator running.

In any case, it is always best to err on the side of caution and shut off the generator before leaving the area.

How far from house should generator be?

One key safety consideration is how far the running generator should be from a building. Portable generators should be operated at least 20 feet from a building, in an open area, to ensure that the exhaust fumes don’t build up and pose a danger to those inside.

Additionally, the portable generator should be placed in an area where it can get natural cooling airflow. Placing it too close to a house or other structures can block airflow and cause the it to overheat.

It is important to use a heavy-duty extension cord that is rated for outdoor use. The cord should be long enough to reach the outlet, but not so long that it becomes a trip hazard.

Keep it level and dry

It’s also important to choose a level spot with good drainage, and to make sure the unit is properly protected from natural disasters and wet conditions.

A generator tent, generator cover or steel enclosure can help to prevent rain and snow from damaging it, while a permanent enclosure can provide additional security.

If you’re going to choose a generator cover over steel enclosures, be sure to get the correct size to the generator to operate effectively.

Finally, it’s important to keep it well away from any power lines, as contact with live wires can be extremely dangerous. 


Portable generators can be a lifesaver in an emergency, but it’s important to know how to run a generator to use them safely in wet conditions. Contact us today, to find the best generator suitable for you.

In this post, we’ve looked at the dangers of using a portable generator in the rain and offered some tips to run a generator safely.

You should now understand how to use your generator safely and what do do to protect your own safety in heavy rain and strong wind. How best to store them, whether you should cover them, and how far away from your property you should store your generator.

Natural disasters, disruptions to the grid power, and power outages do happen, so being prepared to ensure your own safety and keep your generators safe is essential.

Paul Phelps Solar Power Owner
Paul Phelps
Paul is the MD of Solent Power and specialises in emergency power solutions, helping to protect your facilities from power loss. Get in touch with us today to discuss the different power brands that we can offer and how they can suit your needs.
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