Portable Generator Safety for Wet Weather

Power outages can occur at any time and for any reason. Whether it is due to natural disasters such as hurricanes, earthquakes, wildfires, inclement weather like Winter storms, torrential downpours, or even man-made disasters such as a traffic accident knocking out power to the grid – power outages can significantly impact your business, from negatively impacting operations, halting operations completely, or can even create unsafe working conditions.

If your business is in an area that is commonly affected by power outages due to natural disasters or if you’d like to safeguard your business in case of power outages, there are a variety of backup power solutions available. When it comes to generators – there are usually two main options to consider, such as stationary and portable generators.

Stationary generators, as their name states – are installed either inside a business facility within a dedicated generator room or outside the facility in close proximity, but far enough away from the building to ensure a safe outdoor installation.

For businesses that either cannot accommodate the space to install a stationary generator or are in an area that is not regularly prone to power outages – portable generators may be a better fit.

Portable generators can be delivered on-site and connected to the facility to provide backup power when needed, then picked up and sent back to a generator rental dealer when power has been restored to the main utility grid.

While portable generators provide convenience to short-term renters, there are a few items to consider before going ahead and committing to a rental. One of the key items to keep in mind is that using a portable generator is not as simple as plug and play. Your facility needs to be properly setup to accept portable generator power and all connections to ensure safe operation and another important item to consider is operational safety. Safe operation of a portable generator ensures that there are no risks or potential dangers to you and your employees, as well as those that may be in close proximity of the portable generator rental.

Can You Run a Portable Generator in the Rain?

Commercial/industrial grade portable generators are built to face to elements. Due to the design and construction of the generator paired with the enclosure, these generators have been built with rugged durability. Though these commercial grade generators are produced to face the elements, it is important to keep in mind that generators produce powerful voltage. When combined with wet conditions, running a portable generator can lead to dangerous results electrocution or even explosions. Rain can also ruin a generator if vital components are exposed, so it’s essential to be careful when using the equipment during storms, especially if you’re renting it.

Ensure the portable generators are placed outside your building with enough space for proper ventilation. Keep the generator on high, level ground and only allow authorized personnel to operate or go near it. You might protect the generator with safety barriers so general employees and visitors can’t access it.

Safety Tips for Using a Portable Generator in Wet Weather

It is important to always follow generator safety precautions, especially when you’re experiencing rain, snow, ice, flooding or wet ground.

When it comes to working with any type of equipment, it is extremely important to ensure all safety precautions and protocols are being followed to ensure there are no accidents that occur. While there are many important factors to consider when renting a portable generator, here are a few tips to keep you and your employees safe and your generator running in wet weather:

1. Place the Generator on the Right Surface

When using a portable generator, you should place it in a location where the ground is stable and even. If your rental or portable generator is for a short-term project, installing cement pads might not be the best option. Instead, you could set it in a parking lot or concrete work area, or you could put it on top of gravel to ensure proper drainage. Always be sure to place blocks behind the wheels to prevent the generator from rolling away!

When moving or installing a portable generator, survey the area and choose the highest, most level ground possible.

2. Install an Automatic Transfer Switch (ATS)

An automatic transfer switch (ATS) works by prompting the generator to run when power loss from the main electrical utility is detected. When power is restored to the grid, the ATS will prompt the generator to disconnect.

The transfer switch separates the generator from the power line, keeping utility workers safe from back feeding. While there are manual transfer switches, an ATS is ideal in places that experience regular power outages. The advantage of an ATS where a manual transfer switch (MTS) is that an ATS works automatically, while an MTS – as its name states, must be switched on physically in person. If the power outage is due to inclement weather such as a hurricane or blizzard, personnel may be unable to make it to the facility in order to run the generator.

3. Follow Personnel Safety Tips

Always follow general personnel safety tips when using generators in wet weather. For example, never operate your generator with wet hands or when standing in water, even if the equipment is dry. Follow diesel generator safety tips, such as disconnecting from the electrical circuit before fueling and keeping a fire extinguisher close by.

Connect all cables from the building to the generator in a dry area, such as a garage, service bay, or any dry work area that is considered safe. Ensure the door panels and access to all the electrical and mechanical components are closed before moving the generator outside. Most importantly – never run a portable generator in an enclosed area. Generators produce emissions that are harmful to breathe in. Running a generator indoors within an enclosed space can result in carbon dioxide poisoning.

Additionally, only use your generator for power if the inside of your facility stays dry. Don’t use power from your generator or grid if water levels rise above electrical outlets, baseboard heaters and entry points. If flooding occurs, turn off your breaker box and your facility’s power before standing water or rain prevents you from reaching it. Also be sure to alert your local utility company.

4. Work with Professional Generator Dealers

Working with a professional generator dealer can take a lot of headaches and guess work out of the equation.

Portable generator rentals undergo a lot of strain and experience high usage. It’s important to work with a dealer that services and maintains their portable generator units regularly to ensure your rental won’t fail on you when you need it most. When working with a generator dealer, be sure to check and make sure to review any generator service clauses that may be in the rental contract. Dealers that often specialize in generator rentals routinely inspect, service, and maintain their units at no cost to you, because rentals are their primary business. This means that you may not be charged for regular wear and tear of the generator that comes from usage since that is the dealer’s responsibility and you may only be paying for the rental itself, including any setup or delivery fees associated with it.

When it comes to a portable generator rental, be sure to work with a generator dealer that is capable of delivering, unloading, installing a generator for your site, and picking the generator up when the task is completed. Generator dealers who can handle these tasks cut out a lot of groundwork, bring down additional costs, and usually only charge a fair fee to include these items in the rental contract. This removes the need for you to rent a truck/work with a trucking company, figure out how to unload the generator, and figure out if you require an electrician to help set it up, and then figure out how to return the generator back to the dealer. When working with a generator dealer, be sure to go over these items, as they may be able to provide most, if not all these services to you to make the process as simple as possible.

As mentioned earlier, reliable generator dealers routinely service and maintain their portable generator units to ensure the generator is mechanically sound and able to provide power. This is because most generator dealers that focus on rentals need to keep their portable generators operational in order to continue renting out the units, but be sure to review your rental contract and make sure that you will have a functional generator you can rely on throughout your rental contract. This includes, but is not limited to generator inspection, repair, or replacement should the need arise. A simple fact is that sometimes, however rare it may be, generators that have been regularly maintained can fail, so it’s important to ensure that you will have options for repair or replacement provided by the dealer to minimize any downtime that could prove detrimental. Be sure to review any and all associated costs that could be incurred in these situations and speak with the dealer to see what is included or what might be itemized as an expense.

When working with a generator dealer for a rental, it’s important to understand the setup and installation process. While portable generators themselves are great solutions due to the ability to be delivered to you and picked up when finished, they are not a simple plug & play solution. If you’re looking for a portable generator rental for your business or facility, it’s important to keep in mind that researching portable generator rentals should be conducted before you actually need it. As stated earlier, portable generators are not simply plug and play solutions. The building or facility must be properly setup beforehand to ensure that it can properly accept generator power. This is often done by a master electrician, but many dealers are able to send out their own team to handle the process for you. This is especially true in cases of emergencies. It’s important to go over the details with the generator dealer and ensure that any questions you may have will be answered.

There are many factors involved when working with a commercial-grade portable generator rental. While this covers items that are usually discussed, there are many more items to consider before renting or even operating a portable generator rental.

If you have questions, would like to learn more about portable generator rentals, or would like some consultation, feel free to reach out to us at Woodstock Power Company!

Give us a call or send us an email: 610-658-3242 or sales@woodstockpower.com

Additionally, you can fill out our Contact Form with any questions or inquiries and our representatives will get right back to you.


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