Rain can damage a generator and lead to electric shock. However, generators should also not be used indoors due to the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.
Millions of people in Florida remain without power after Hurricane Ian devastated coastal communities in the state’s southwest.
Ian made landfall as a Category 4 hurricane Wednesday afternoon, causing catastrophic storm surges, winds and flooding across the Florida peninsula.
As Florida residents go without electricity, Google search data shows people are asking if they can run generators in the rain to power their home.
Should you use a generator when it rains?
No, you should not use a generator in the rain unless you have a canopy or other suitable cover.
WHAT WE FOUND
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) says you should never use a generator indoors or in enclosed spaces like garages and basements. This is due to the risk of carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning from toxic engine exhaust.
Those who use a generator to power their home during a power outage should run it outside on a dry surface and not use it in the rain or wet, OSHA and the Red Cross say. Rain can damage the generator and/or cause electric shock. You should also avoid touching the generator with wet hands or working on its electrical components while wet or standing in water, as there is a risk of electric shock.
More from VERIFY: Yes, water was “sucked” out of Tampa Bay by Hurricane Ian in a phenomenon called “reverse storm surge.”
To protect your generator from getting wet, you can use a canopy or other cover. One option is a tarp held up by poles, the Red Cross says. The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) says people should operate generators “under an open, canopy-like structure on a dry surface where water cannot reach them or puddle underneath or drain away.”
Consumer Reports also recommends buying a generator tent that protects it from rain but is well ventilated to keep the machine from overheating. However, you should not use your generator in the midst of severe weather such as a hurricane as the cover could be blown off exposing the machine to heavy rain.
More from VERIFY: No, a Facebook post claiming that people can get $3,000 to help clean up Hurricane Ian is not legitimate
According to the CPSC, outdoor generators should be placed at least 20 feet from your home. People should close windows and other openings in the generator exhaust path and ensure that the exhaust gases are directed away from the home and other buildings.
Generators should also be located well away from windows, doors, and air vents that could introduce carbon monoxide into the cabin. Anyone experiencing symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning, including dizziness, headache, nausea, and fatigue, should get fresh air and seek medical attention immediately.
Here are some additional Red Cross, CPSC, and OSHA generator tips and warnings:
- Turn it off and let it cool down before refueling. Gasoline spilled on hot engine parts can cause a fire.
- Use the generator fuel recommended in the instructions or on the generator label.
- Plug appliances directly into the generator or use a heavy-duty, outdoor extension cord rated at least for the sum of the appliance loads in watts or amps.
- Never attempt to power your house wiring by plugging the generator into a wall outlet. This poses a risk of electric shock.
- Do not overload a generator. This can lead to overheating, creating a fire hazard. Overload occurs when the total wattage of equipment connected to the generator exceeds the capacity of the machine.
- Look for signs that your devices have gotten wet. Do not touch wet devices that are still connected to a power source.
More from VERIFY: Hurricane Ian: Fact-checking images and videos claiming to show scenes from the storm
Want something VERIFIED?
https://www.king5.com/article/news/verify/extreme-weather-verify/running-generator-in-rain-after-hurricane-not-safe-electrocution-risk/536-fcb078b8-2c87-407f-ab3f-a82bc6a65af4 It’s not safe to run a generator in the rain