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Old 12-14-2010, 01:23 AM   #1
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Default Question about generators

We bought our first house about a year ago and there's no alternate heat source (fireplace, wood stove) other than electric heat. So, we went out and bought a generator.

I know I can't run it in the garage (attached garage) so it needs to be outside, but it says in the manual not to run it in the rain or snow. Where I live, this is sort of a problem. The power usually doesn't go out unless it's storming. I have a patio, but no cover over it. Anywhere I'd have to run this would be out in the open.

I'm thinking about building a cover to go over it, but I could use some advice from some of the brains bigger than mine. My first thought was just to use plywood or OSB to make a box that would fit over the generator with openings for extension cords and exhaust and a lid that would open to allow easy refilling of the fuel tank. What concerns might I have with this? Will this cause problems with air circulation? Is there a risk of fire if the sides and top of the box are near the generator engine? The generator is a 3200W gasoline model.

I'd like to build some sort of housing for it for both protection from the elements and to help quiet it down when it's running. And ideas or suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

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Old 12-14-2010, 03:05 PM   #2
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Well I'm not an expert on this, I'd watch out making too small of a box. Something over it would be good. I'd be tempted to run it in the garage near the door with the garage door open.

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Old 12-14-2010, 04:15 PM   #3
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I run mine right outside of the garage door with the garage door shut....no cover and the door dulls the sound pretty well.

My rule is that the power has to be out a minimum of 6 hours or so before I consider turning on the generator. Usually the storm is over and done with at that point (hence I don't worry about a cover).

At the 6 hour mark the power probably isn't going to come back on for some time (1-2 days) and so I use the generator to power the critical stuff (well pump, furnace, refrigerator). I fire it up to warm the house, cool the refrigerators/freezers, and fill the well pump tank, then I shut it back off again. If the storm was still raging, I'd probably bring the generator back in after running it. As I said, the generator usually doesn't get pulled out until post-storm.

Another tip....don't run high-amperage appliances at the same time you run things with solid-state electronics, including your furnace. High-amp appliances (say a well pump) kicking on will cause the voltage to spike, and will fry things that run on a circuit board. We'll run our well pump first, then turn everything else on.

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