Can you run a generator in the garage?

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You’ll agree with me that a generator is one of the most important equipment to have in your home. This is because it is a very good back up power source that will always come through for you whenever you experience a power outage.

There are various types of generators that you can choose from which include gas, Diesel and propane generators. For sure, they do come with a number of differences that make each one of them unique from one another. However, one thing that remains a constant is how to use these generators in a safe manner. This is because as much as these equipment are of much benefit to us, they can also be equally dangerous when they are not used in the right manner.

You should not run a generator in your garage because it produces carbon monoxide which is a harmful gas especially when constantly inhaled in an enclosed space. This gas is odourless therefore, you may assume that it is not harmful to your health however, it causes dizziness, vomiting and it may even make you unconscious. You should ensure that the garage door is completely open if you really have to run the generator in your garage so that there can be enough ventilation.

What are the risks of running your generator in the garage?

Electric shock

Generally, it’s advisable that you always plug in your home appliances directly to the generator as it is a much safer than using an extension cord. However, there are high chances that you may be forced to use an extension cord when you run your generator in the garage. Unfortunately, extension cords are not immune to wear and tear as they usually start having cuts especially after they have been used for a very long time.

These cuts make the use of an extension cord very dangerous as it exposes live wires that may electrocute you when you accidentally touch it. In addition to this, it also puts your children at very high risk especially if they are not aware of the dangers of playing next to a generator. Another risk that comes with using an extension cord is that the live wires may also be exposed to water especially if you use the generator when it’s heavily raining.

Rain water may easily flow and get its way into the garage and collect inside the generator and cuts in the extension cord which will put you at risk of getting electrocuted as well. Therefore, you should always ensure that you use a heavy duty extension cord that doesn’t cut easily and comes with all three prongs. The third prong plays a very key role in extension cords as it reduces the chances of you getting shocked whenever you touch the extension cord.

Excessive exposure to carbon monoxide

When a generator is running, it constantly produces carbon monoxide which may give you headaches or even make you unconscious when you inhale it for a long time. Therefore, running the generator in your garage will trap this carbon monoxide in the garage and once it gets too much it will escape and start filling the house. Once this happens, it will lead to a lot of discomfort in the house as you and your family members won’t be able to breathe properly.

Carbon monoxide is a colourless and odourless gas however, it is very harmful especially when inhaled in large quantities by kids. This is because children normally fall unconscious when they inhale too much carbon monoxide and you may be forced to take them to hospital for further medical attention. This will also be pretty costly as you will have to pay all the medical bills while they are in hospital. Therefore, you shouldn’t run the generator in your garage as most garages don’t have enough ventilation for the carbon monoxide to be released to the atmosphere.

A summary of the risks of running a generator in the garage and the possible solutions:

Risk
Solution
Electric shock
You should basically ensure that you use a heavy duty extension cord that is in good condition and free of cuts. In addition to this, you should also use an extension cord with a third prong as it will reduce the risk of you getting shocked.
Exposure to carbon monoxide
You should avoid running the generator in your garage or an enclosed space as there won’t be enough ventilation. It is better to place the generator in an open space so that the carbon monoxide being produced can be vented to the atmosphere.

How to run a generator safely

The safest way to run a generator in your home is by placing it at least 20 feet from the house. You should also ensure that the exhaust is facing away from the house in order for the carbon monoxide to be directed away from the house. As we have seen, running a generator in an enclosed space is not advisable. Therefore, you should always set up your generator in an open space where there is enough ventilation in order to reduce the risks that come with the generator.

It is also important to note that you should place the generator on top of a concrete slab so that it doesn’t soak standing water whenever it rains.

Conclusion

Without doubt, it is not advisable to run your generator in the garage. This is because it produces carbon monoxide from the exhaust which is harmful to your health. In addition to this, running your generator in the garage may force you to use an extension cord which puts you at risk of getting electrocuted.

FAQs

Which is the best place to run my generator?

You can run your generator in any open space in your home however, it is recommended that you place it at least 20 feet from the house.

What is the maximum number of hours that the generator can run overnight?

Most generators will work efficiently for up to 8 hours before you are required to fuel them again.