Protect Your Generator While Running

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Protect Your Generator While Running

Table of Contents:

  1. Introduction
  2. Understanding Generators
    1. Importance of Reading the Manual
    2. Power Outages: The Need for Generators
  3. Can You Cover a Generator While It's Running?
    1. Protecting the Engine from Moisture
    2. Consequences of Covering a Running Generator
      1. Overheating and Fire Hazards
      2. Airflow Issues
      3. Electrocution Risk
  4. Types of Covers for Generators
    1. Airtight Wrapping for Portable Generators
    2. Metal or Plastic Covers
    3. Generators Canopies
    4. Storing Generators in Wooden Sheds
    5. Storing Generators in Garages
  5. Safety Tips when Operating a Covered Generator
    1. Location and Placement
    2. Refueling Process
    3. Operating in Freezing Temperature
    4. Installing Electric Panels
    5. Using Pugsy Electrical Safety Device
  6. Top Covers for Portable Generators
    1. Tarp Cover
    2. Portable Generator Covers/Tents
    3. Gen Cabin
    4. Protective Shield and Cooling Fans
  7. Conclusion

Can You Cover a Generator While It's Running?

Generators play a vital role in providing backup power during emergencies or power outages. However, there is often confusion surrounding how to safely use and maintain a generator. One common question that arises is whether it is possible to cover a generator while it's running.

When it comes to generators, it is crucial to familiarize yourself with the manual and understand how the different parts work. This knowledge can go a long way in preventing accidents and ensuring safe operation. Whether you need to find shelter during a storm or simply don't have access to electricity, generators serve as a reliable power source. But can you cover them while they're running? Let's delve deeper into this topic.

Protecting the Engine from Moisture

It is possible to cover a portable generator with airtight wrapping, especially when it is turned off. This type of cover helps minimize the amount of moisture in the environment and protects the engine from rusting and other damages caused by exposure to oxygen. However, when a generator is running, it is a different story.

Consequences of Covering a Running Generator

While generator covers are designed to protect the equipment from external elements, covering a running generator can lead to several potential consequences and hazards.

Overheating and Fire Hazards

It is not advisable to cover a generator while it is in operation. If the cover obstructs the cooling vents, the generator can overheat, potentially causing an explosion or fire. One possible solution to mitigate this risk is to spray a clear coat on the sides of the generator, making it more heat-resistant. However, this solution has its downsides, as the generator may become unable to absorb the sun's energy. In such cases, it is better to move the generator out of direct sunlight to regulate its temperature.

Airflow Issues

Covering a generator can restrict airflow, leading to overheating issues. Whether the generator is covered or not, it is important to ensure proper ventilation to prevent overheating. Restrictions in airflow can result in the generator malfunctioning or shutting down unexpectedly.

Electrocution Risk

While generators should always be covered when not in use to prevent accidental electrocution, it is crucial to uncover them during operation. Running a generator with a cover poses a serious risk of electrocution. The cover can trap electrical currents and create dangerous situations. It is advisable to keep the generator uncovered and maintain a safe distance to prevent any accidents.

Types of Covers for Generators

Now that we understand the risks associated with covering a running generator, it's important to explore the various types of covers available for generators to ensure their protection and longevity.

Airtight Wrapping for Portable Generators

When a portable generator is not in use, it can be covered with airtight wrapping to minimize moisture exposure. This helps protect the engine from rust and other issues caused by oxygen permeating the spaces. However, it is important to ensure there is no excess humidity nearby, as this can still affect the generator's performance and durability.

Metal or Plastic Covers

For generators used in construction sites, small commercial operations, or industrial settings, it is common to provide metal or plastic covers. These covers allow for sufficient airflow to keep the generator cool and protect it from harsh weather conditions and small insects.

Generators Canopies

Generators canopies are designed to provide protection from the elements, such as rain and wind. They are particularly useful for portable generators. While they may have size limitations, they offer significant benefits during inclement weather. It is advisable to use a canopy cover when operating a portable generator outdoors.

Storing Generators in Wooden Sheds

While storing a generator in a wooden shed is possible, it is crucial to ensure proper ventilation and protection from sunlight. Wooden sheds can offer protection from rain and snow, but precautions must be taken to prevent overheating and exposure to the sun's rays.

Storing Generators in Garages

Storing generators inside a garage is not recommended due to the dangers associated with carbon monoxide emission and lack of ventilation. Garages can pose significant risks, such as the presence of water on the floor or ceiling and limited oxygenated airflow. It is best to find an alternative storage location away from living spaces.

Overall, it is essential to use caution when handling generators. Understanding the risks and following proper safety protocols can ensure a safe and reliable power supply.

Safety Tips when Operating a Covered Generator

Operating a generator requires careful attention to safety measures. Here are some essential tips to keep in mind:

  1. Location and Placement: Position the generator in a well-ventilated area, away from windows, doors, and living spaces. Ensure proper clearances to prevent obstructions and fire hazards.

  2. Refueling Process: Refuel the generator before or after use, ensuring it is turned off and cooled down. Prolonged refueling can impact the generator's performance and cause damage.

  3. Operating in Freezing Temperature: When operating a generator in freezing temperatures, consider running it at lower speeds to prevent overstressing the engine. Running at a lower speed can help increase efficiency while avoiding potential damage.

  4. Installing Electric Panels: Installing an electric panel can be beneficial in managing the generator's power usage. However, it is crucial to monitor your home's electrical consumption to avoid utility billing problems.

  5. Using Pugsy Electrical Safety Device: Consider using a Pugsy, an electrical safety device that shuts off the circuit in case of excessive current flow. This device helps minimize the risk of electrocution and fire hazards.

Top Covers for Portable Generators

To ensure maximum protection and longevity for your generator, consider using a top-quality cover. Here are some options to consider:

  1. Tarp Cover: A tarp cover provides protection from rain, wind, and dust. It is suitable for covering a portable generator while it is being used. The tarp can be easily removed to allow sufficient air circulation without getting wet.

  2. Portable Generator Covers/Tents: These covers are specifically designed to protect generators from adverse weather conditions. They come in permanent and temporary versions, depending on your needs. Additionally, these covers help regulate the generator's temperature during cold weather.

  3. Gen Cabin: A Gen Cabin provides ample ventilation, reducing the risk of condensation and maintaining a suitable temperature. It offers protection against the elements and is particularly helpful during winter months.

  4. Protective Shield and Cooling Fans: Installing cooling fans on top or sides of the generator, along with a protective shield, can help regulate its temperature. These accessories serve to prevent overheating and protect the generator from external elements.


Using a generator can be a lifesaver during power outages or emergencies. However, it is crucial to understand the appropriate usage and safety precautions associated with generators, including the question of whether you can cover a generator while it's running.

While covering a generator when it's not in use helps protect it from external elements, covering a running generator can lead to serious consequences, including overheating, fire hazards, restricted airflow, and electrocution risks.

To ensure the longevity and proper functioning of your generator, you can use various types of covers, such as airtight wrapping, metal or plastic covers, generators canopies, or store the generator in wooden sheds. However, it is crucial to maintain proper ventilation and consider the specific requirements of your generator.

By following safety tips and using high-quality covers, such as tarp covers, portable generator covers/tents, Gen Cabins, or protective shields with cooling fans, you can maximize the performance and reliability of your generator while ensuring the safety of those around it.

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