Losing power is often due to severe weather, such as hurricanes, rainstorms, or winter weather. These weather events can lead to flooding, making operating a generator for backup power more complex and potentially dangerous.
Running a generator in the rain, snow, or wet ground requires plenty of caution. Water can ruin the outlets and wiring of your generator and work its way into the fan, alternator, and fuel, causing further damage.
To stay safe and avoid a flooded generator, use these electrical safety guidelines:
- Don’t run a generator in the rain, unless it’s covered or enclosed. The enclosure should be specifically designed to protect your generator from the elements while also allowing exhaust to escape.
- Follow the same precautions in the rain, snow, ice, flooding and when the ground is wet.
- Install your generator away from low points in your yard where water pools.
- Pour a concrete pad to keep your generator off damp ground and away from standing water.
- If flooding seems likely, turn off your home’s power at your breaker box before standing water or precipitation prevents you from reaching it.
- Install a transfer switch so you don’t need to use extension cords in wet weather.
- If extension cords are unavoidable, use grounded (three-prong) extension cords to protect against electrical shock and damage to appliances or electronics.
- Don’t operate your generator, or any appliance, with wet hands or when standing in water. Follow this safety precaution even if the generator is dry.
- Use your generator to provide power only if the inside of your home remains dry. If water levels rise above baseboard heaters, electrical outlets, or other entry points into your home’s wiring, don’t use power from the grid or a generator.