Generator in Rain

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  #1  
Old 10-31-12, 10:12 AM
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Generator in Rain

I have a ridgid 6800 watt generator and a ten circuit gen tran manual transfer switch. I have seen many warnings to not use my generator in the rain. From what I understand the reason is so electrocution does not occur if water gets into any of the outlets. I did not want to build a shed because of price and I am afraid that my engine gets to hot and the wood shed will catch on fire. I was wondering since I use the 30 amp 240 volt outlet can't I put a weatherproof cover on the outlet on the generator and this will solve my electrocution issue? Or does the rain and snow where I live in PA affect another part of the generator?
 

Last edited by mopar969; 10-31-12 at 12:06 PM.
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  #2  
Old 10-31-12, 12:52 PM
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Clean water is actually a pretty poor conductor of electricity, not that it's a good idea to mix water and electricity.

You should protect the generator not so much as to protect the outlets, it's more to protect the generator itself. Most use a fan to draw air over the generator head. Any heavy rain will then bring water into the generator itself. Some have brushes, some have inverters, almost all have voltage regulators. Electronics don't like getting wet.

If you have GFCI outlets, or any gauges on the generator, they may not be "weather resistant" as well and susceptible to water damage.

You don't need water getting into the fuel either. Most generators seem to have the fuel tank mounted over the engine.

You don't need to get fancy. A simple "lean-to" design may be all that you need. If you do get heavy rain though, raise it up off the ground some.

Don't run the generator in an enclosed area.
 
  #3  
Old 10-31-12, 04:01 PM
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Is there any cheap durable designs that you know of. I pull the generator in and out of the garage and run the cord under the garage door. So I would need a design that I can easily lift and move in and out of the garage. Let me know of any ideas
 
  #4  
Old 10-31-12, 05:43 PM
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I had a set of old sawhorse brackets that I used and some plywood on the sides. The plywood is short, it stops about a foot off the ground. The sides are open so that I have plenty of ventilation and the exhaust isn't a problem. It's about 3' wide so it does overhang the generator. A filler piece covers the gap when the sawhorse is spread but allows for a little ventilation at the top.

You only really have to keep direct rain off of it. A little water won't hurt it.
 
  #5  
Old 11-01-12, 05:10 AM
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I'll be putting together my generator dog house this winter once I get some time.
It'll be a simple box, about the size of a garbage bin (guessing 3'x5', 4' tall). Going to make three sides hinged so when I need to use it, simply open the sides. When I don't need it, a pad lock will keep it closed.
Shouldn't be much more then a few 2x4s and a couple sheets of plywood.

I'll try to find some time and create some quick sketches and post them.
 
  #6  
Old 11-01-12, 05:53 AM
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I run mine in the shed, last time for 16 hours straight. Of course I did not build the shed just for that, it worked out this way. Just prop the door and point the generator muffler out. Never a problem. They are not big fire hazards, if you use common sense and take certain precautions.
 
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Old 11-01-12, 07:58 AM
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I run mine in the shed, last time for 16 hours straight. Of course I did not build the shed just for that, it worked out this way. Just prop the door and point the generator muffler out. Never a problem. They are not big fire hazards, if you use common sense and take certain precautions.
That is what I am doing currently with mine in the garage. The only issue is I only have the bay door and it's a swing door, so full open or full closed and it faces north.
Going to put the generator dog house beside the house so It can be plugged into the house, and keep the noise away from the rest of the house/yard.
 
  #8  
Old 11-01-12, 08:20 AM
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I don't want to build a shed or other shelter for it because I have no room in my driveway. I have ran the generator in the rain once before but I payed a nice price for my genny so I want it to last. I think my best bet is to have my two sawhorses and a piece of wood to go over top of the generator. That way I can move them easily out of the garage when using the generator and back in the garage when it is not in use. My question is what clearance should I have for the sides and top so my wood sawhorses and wood sheet will not catch on fire? I don't know about the generators you have but my gets pretty hot even in the cold winter.
 
  #9  
Old 11-01-12, 08:26 AM
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Also I wanted to double check that it will be okay to just cover the top of the generator only. Or does anybody have reasons why the sides should be covered? P.S. I was thinking about using my two wooden saw horses and a 6x4 foot sheet of 1/2 inch plywood?
 
  #10  
Old 11-01-12, 09:01 AM
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If you are just dragging the gen out in the rain a piece of plywood and sawhorses would be fine.

If you cut a sheet of plywood in half and install a pair of folding table legs it would take no space at all.
The rest of the sheet could lean up against the wind.
 
  #11  
Old 11-01-12, 09:29 AM
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As GregH stated, it should be fine with that setup.
With three sides open, you shouldn't have any fire risk.
 
  #12  
Old 11-01-12, 09:33 AM
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Tie it down with concrete blocks.
 
  #13  
Old 11-01-12, 04:54 PM
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Does anybody know if the rain is coming sideways will that affect the generator since all sides are open. I am just double checking because if the rain is being blown sideways by the wind alot of water can hit the generator.
 
  #14  
Old 11-02-12, 06:07 AM
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Should be ok with rain coming in the side, but I'd consider laying a piece of wood or tarp on the affected side or move the whole thing closer to a building that should affect the rain/wind direction a bit.
 
  #15  
Old 11-02-12, 10:20 AM
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Extend the cover far enough to the sides or ends of the generator so that the driving rain will not hit the machine.
 
  #16  
Old 11-05-12, 07:39 PM
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I may be alone on this but I have a lean-too type covered firewood storage. I put my gen perpendicular to the shed with the muffler facing pararell to the pile. I then ran a tarp from hooks on the supports of the shed roof to some poles that I rigged lke spinnaker poles on a sailboat. Kept the gen dry and water running down the tarp. The winds just puffed the tarp but had plenty of room to exit. Ran for 6 days that way with no problem. (now keeping fingers crossed for new nor"easter)
 
  #17  
Old 11-06-12, 07:54 AM
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Great topic and thread. I've been wondering the same for a long time now, and have been researching as well. I've run my genny in the rain several times before learning thats not a good idea. I too plug mine into a transfer switch outlet box. Funny since many times you need it, its raining or snowing.

I tried running mine under my deck and surrounded by house walls on two sides. Last week with Sandy I learned it was probably too close to the house and some exhaust probably got in (prob through a dryer vent). So tough to get coverage from the house safely from exhaust. Especially if you plug into an outlet box on the side of the house like me. So can be a challenge to keep it covered and far enough away from any doors or windows.

I like the idea of a simple plywood and sawhorse cover. For me, my deck above is large enough that i think Im going to use a series of tarps above and on the sides of the genny that i can pull down if rain is coming in sideways (I did learn that you dont want rain getting on the genny, even on the sides). And still keep it far enough out, and point the exhaust pipe out away from the house. Also will plug up the dryer vent to be safe (just need to remember to unplug it later )

Oh, and I noticed you mentioned running a cord under the garage door. just make sure its not keeping too much open space to allow exhaust to get into the garage.

great thread. I'm just a DIY'er the above is just my 02 cents!
 
  #18  
Old 11-12-12, 07:41 PM
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Generator Shelter

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Here’s my generator shelter, made in part from wood (including pressure-treated 6 by 6 beams) that were washed into my field during Hurricane Irene.

Since I took these pictures, I have added two more louvers for additional ventilation. I have also lined the back with scrap metal for fire protection, which is probably overkill. The machine doesn’t seem to overheat in this shed, which is about 5’ by 5’ by 5’.

I always run the generator with the front door open. If the weather is clear, I pull it out onto the drawbridge/front gate. If it's raining or snowing, I run it about a foot inside the front of the shed.
 
  #19  
Old 11-12-12, 08:08 PM
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Awesome job placekicker. Looks very clean and functional.

As for the rain.... my gennys are in the rain all the time. Sometimes even snow. I've never covered them. They are the commercial grade Hondas. When they dry off I'll polish the tank and lightly oil the bare metal tubing frame. Still look like brand new.
 
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Old 11-12-12, 08:09 PM
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Very Nice. Thanks for posting.
 
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