In this article, we will tell you how to safely run a generator in a garage using DIY techniques, and what are the potential dangers of running a generator in a garage are without proper safety measures.
Running a generator in a garage is a bad idea if you don’t know the safety precautions and potential dangers of carbon monoxide.
Many homeowners opt to use a traditional or inverter portable generator as a backup power source because it is cheaper and more convenient than a whole standby generator.
While generators are pretty handy, people often forget the danger of using generators inside any enclosed space. I still remember the deaths caused by carbon monoxide released by generators back in 2017 across Central Florida
Why Using A Generator In A Garage Is Dangerous?
There are four risks associated with this situation.
1. Electric Shock:
When running the extension cords from the generator in wet conditions may put you at risk of getting electrocuted.
If you fail to ground the generator’s electrical system, the entire frame of the generator may become electrically charged and cause electrocution.
2. Carbon Monoxide:
The biggest risk of using a generator in an enclosed space let alone in a garage is carbon monoxide poisoning.
CO is a colorless, odorless, and poisonous gas that can cause flu-like symptoms, fatigue, headache, nausea, and prolonged exposure can be fatal.
From 2004 to 2013, 136 deaths occurred with the generator running in the garage. From 2013 to 2022, many more have died from CO poisoning.
According to the National Institute of Standards and Technology, a single portable generator can produce the same CO as 100 cars. Now one can only imagine how much CO can a generator emit in 10 hours.
Even the most advanced inverter generators emit a good amount of carbon monoxide. This deadly gas can find its way through shafts and vents even if the walls between the garage and the living area are well sealed.
Fortunately, I have constructed a soundproof box to suppress the noise, and all of the generators in my collection are super quiet, but noise is one of the biggest issues for any user because it affects the neighbors as well.
If you are also using a super noisy pain-in-the-ass generator, I have a solution for you. Check out my article on how to make a silencer for the generator.
Generator overheating is one of the biggest reasons for explosions. Trapped heating fumes overheat the generator engine and frame that is proper ventilation is vital.
Garages without proper ventilation can be very hot and uncomfortable to enter. You would also risk malfunctioning your generator due to overheating.
How To Safely Run A Generator In A Garage?
The point has been made clear so far that running a generator in a garage is dangerous, but there are some techniques and methods you can use to safely run a generator in a garage.
1. Exhaust Extension:
Making an extension for the exhaust is a safe method to send the heated fumes to a safe and well-ventilated area outside your home.
To make an extension, don’t use plastic or cheap aluminum. This will likely melt. Purchase a suitable coupler that screws directly to the generator exhaust, and attach a metal exhaust tube with muffler clamps. You will find it in any auto parts supply store.
Completely seal the generator exhaust with the extension tube and make sure there are no leakages.
The exhaust extension should be at least 15 feet away from your home so rout it outside.
You can also route the exhaust extension to the roof through a plumbing vent, but you would need to completely seal the plumbing to prevent rainwater.
2. Proper Ventilation:
Whether using an exhaust extension or not, open the windows and door (partially) to make your garage as much ventilated as possible.
We have to allow the natural air inside to prevent the fumes from buildup. Use an exhaust fan, it will suck all the heated fumes.
3. Electrical Safety:
If you want to power your home, turn the main power OFF to prevent backfeed. Never overload your generator for the safety of your appliances.
I would recommend using heavy-duty extension cords. No rusty inner cables, or ratty ones with a hole in them.
Worn, damaged, undersized, and ungrounded cords could cause electrocution. To prevent this, spend some bucks on good extension cords.
Can I Run A Generator In A Detached Garage?
It is not safe to run a generator in any kind of enclosed space including a detached garage. The biggest problem apart from overheating and noise is carbon monoxide.
Though a detached garage is a bit safer than an attached garage, because the chances of carbon monoxide crawling into your home are low, it is still an enclosed space so proper measures must be taken.
Install an exhaust extension and route it at least outside of your home. This will prevent fumes buildup as we have discussed earlier.
Proper ventilation is the simplest way to reduce carbon monoxide levels. Natural ventilation will blow away any residual fumes.
What Are Safe Places To Run A Generator?
If the weather is favorable, place the generator outside at least 20 feet away from the living area under any shelter or shade. It is the simplest way.
You can also build a soundproof box that will not cut the noise by a few decibels, but it will act as a shelter and protect the generator from weather and heat.
Recommended Guide: How Far Should Generator Be From House?
It is not safe to run a generator in a garage or any kind of enclosed space without proper ventilation and safety measures.
Carbon monoxide causes a lot of deaths around of globe, so never take it lightly. Either run your generator 20 to 30 feet away from the living area or use an exhaust extension to dissipate the heated fumes outside of the garage.
I would suggest building a DIY soundproof box to limit the noise, and updraft the CO because the ventilation will act as a chimney.
Always be prepared and vigilant to keep yourself and your family safe.
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Alex Black is a seasoned electrical engineer with a remarkable 8-year track record specializing in appliances, generators, and transfer switches. With extensive hands-on experience in the field, Alex possesses a deep understanding of electrical systems and their intricate workings. Throughout their career, Alex has consistently demonstrated expertise in designing, troubleshooting, and maintaining various electrical appliances.