You have likely spent a small fortune on your generator so it only makes sense to have a generator storage box or some other type of generator storage for your investment. Storing or operating your generator indoors is not a good idea. As well letting it sit outside exposed to the elements is equally a bad idea.
In this article I’m going to go over “how to safety store your generator outside” I’m also going to look at “4 generator storage options”, “preparing a generator for storage” and “keeping your generator in top working condition” so it’s always ready to serve you when you need it. I’m also going to look at “is it a good idea to operate a generator in a storage Shed?”
How to Safety Store Your Generator Outside
Generator storage ideas can range from a homemade enclosure constructed out of wood which can also be locked to secure your generator from unauthorized use and theft. Other options can be a heavy duty canopy designed to withstand the elements. There are also various types of generator covers that allow the generator to be operating while covered.
The Importance of Safe Generator Storage
Having a generator during a power outage can provide basic power for lighting and keeping your appliances running so any food in your fridge and freezer doesn’t go to waste. The generator storage you choose needs to protect your generator from rain, snow and moisture build-up that can cause engine failure and damage.
You may need to run your generator during an extreme weather event and it must be somewhere that’s not going to put your home at risk from exhaust fumes. As well most larger generators are quite loud, so having a secure place that will muffle some of the noise is ideal.
What Types of Options Are There?
Fortunately there are quite a few good options and will work for most any type of generator. If you have a generator that’s odd sized there are many universal storage options to look at. That may not be necessary as there’s lots of brand specific generator storage options you can get.
Generator storage options can be a small watertight shed that you buy or something that you can build yourself. I like the canopy styles as they offer various materials and many designs so I’m sure you’ll find something that will work for your generator.
Is a Generator Storage Option Right For Your Generator?
With the many options you’re going to want to be sure that it’s compatible with your generator. Even with the universal types make sure that it’s going to be a good fit with yours. Also make sure it’s made from good quality materials that will give you years of good service.
Top 4 Generator Storage Options
I have found these 4 options you can check out for your generator storage, if you’re handy you may want to consider building your own and I would recommend “Ryan’s Shed Plans” for a Hugh selection of storage sheds large and small. You can check out the plans here.
Number 1] GenTent Generator Running Cover… This cover has been designed to work with 100’s of different portable generators. If offers a “standard” and “extreme” depending on your needs in a generator cover.
– Easy installation using self-attaching clamps that require no tools.
– High strength fiberglass rods connect to the clamping system and can be adjusted to fit most generators.
– The coated canopies affix to the fiberglass frame providing full protection and allowing air to keep your generator running cool.
– With the “extreme Edition” it includes UV treatment and made to be used in extreme winter and cold situations.
– Fully tested in hurricane conditions with winds up to 70 MPH and large amounts of rain, it also can withstand 18 inches of snow on it.
– The canopy and other components are fire resistance.
– Uses rip-stop material and the seams have been welded.
– Design also allows water to shed and keep air intakes and engine exhaust to function as they were intended to.
– Electrical apron allows for easy access for re-fueling and for reaching all the electrical controls and outlets.
The “GenTent Generator Running Cover” is an excellent choice to keep your generator out of the elements. With 85 customer reviews and 194 answered questions and a user rating of 4.7/5 it’s definitely a good choice. You can read the reviews and see the full details and get the current price and shipping details here on Amazon.
Number 2] Classic Accessories Generator Cover… This is a great generator storage cover that won’t break the bank. Very versatile and comes in 4 sizes from medium to xxlarge. Very effective at protecting your generator from bird poop, snow, rain and damage from the sun.
It’s constructed out of water resistant durable material, it will not shrink or stretch and has elastic-shock ties that allows for fast installation and removal when needed. Only available in black and the nice thing I like about it is it comes with its own storage sack.
– Protects generator during storage or running.
– Openings for handles.
– Doesn’t cover wheels so it can be moved while covered.
– One year warranty.
The “Classic Accessories Generator Cover” has 490 customer reviews and 15 answered questions. It has a user rating of 3.9/5. At the time of writing this article the price was $20 bucks, you can get the current price and read the reviews here on Amazon.
Number 3] Backyard Basics Generator Cover… This is another basic generator storage solution that your wallet will love.
– One size of 34 inches x 24 inches x 30 inches.
– Constructed from strong PVC material that’s very strong and weather resistance.
– Soft inner layer that protects the surface.
The “Backyard Basics Generator Cover” has 138 customer reviews and 6 answered question and an overall user rating of 4/5. And for less than $20 bucks you can’t go wrong. You can see all the details and read the reviews here on Amazon.
Number 4] Leader Accessories Universal Waterproof Generator Cover… A great choice for a lower priced generator storage cover that comes with a repair kit.
– Available in 4 sizes from small to extra-large.
– Constructed from 600D polyester and given a PVC coating for long lasting durability.
– Adjustable cord and straps allow you to get a good solid fit and is really handy during winds and rainy weather.
– Air vents to allow good air circulation and reduce condensation.
– Comes with its own storage bag.
– 3 year warranty.
The “Leader Accessories Universal Waterproof Generator Cover” has a high user rating of 4.4/5 as well has 70 customer reviews and 13 answered questions. You can read the reviews and get all the details here on Amazon.
How to Prepare Your Generator For Storage
Having a generator is really handy and most of the time it will just sit, however when its needed you’ll want it to fire up and provide that needed power during an outage. Storing you generator correctly will mean it’s there to serve you. When a mayor storm takes out power lines you don’t want to start playing around with your generator then, that’s why proper storage is necessary.
Short-Term Generator Storage
Not much is needed if it’s only short-term and you know you’re going to be using it a few times, you’ll need to check the oil and keep the fuel tank full. Keep it clean and store it where it’s going to be fast access, that’s pretty well all you need to do for short-term storage.
Long-Term Generator Storage
You’re done using your generator and it’s time to put it away for long term, there are two things you’ll need to do before putting it away.
– Maintenance… Begin by cleaning the outside and then get out the owner’s manual for instructions for maintenance. You keep your car maintained so you should keep your generator maintained so it will be ready in the event of an emergency situation.
– Fuel Treatment… There’s always the option to run the generator dry so there’s no fuel in it, I don’t like this option for two reasons. One… If you need to use the generator in an emergency situation you have to get the gas and try and start it, which is usually must harder. Second… All the lines and gaskets tend to dry out making it harder to start as well.
My recommended choice is to treat the fuel with a stabilizer, this allows the fuel system to be full and prevents any moisture from getting into the system and keeps the lines and gaskets lubricated keeping the system full means you’re ready to start when you need it, no looking for fuel, just start and run.
If you’re going to treat the fuel, fill the tank and add the stabilizer and then start the generator and let it run for a few minutes. This will ensure the stabilizer has distributed throughout the entire fuel system. I recommend you get some “STA-BIL Fuel Stabilizer” for your generator and add some to your gas can too. You can check it out on Amazon here.
Keeping Your Generator in Top Working Condition
The bigger more commercial generators are diesel powered, while the generators most home owners will be using are gasoline powered. There are some generators that run on propane and natural gas, but the majority use gas. Just like any other gas powered device there is upkeep to ensure it will always be ready to supply you with power when needed.
Most people who buy generators are not mechanics, and most purchases take place after a major event and folks want to be ready for the next power outage. Here are a few reasons that can cause your generator to fail you:
– Not Running Generator… When you buy a generator or have it shipped to your home you need to unpack it and add or check oil and fuel and start it up.
– Not Broken In… Generators require a break-in time before they will give peak performance; some require the oil changed after the first few hours. Take the time to read the owner’s manual and follow the instructions for breaking-in your new generator. This will ensure it will give you many years of trouble free service.
– Bad Gas… Using old gas that’s been sitting around for months is the biggest cause of generator failures. Make sure you use fuel stabilizers to keep the fuel fresh when you’re going to be storing your generator for long periods of time. If you simple just use it and when the power comes back on and then store it without treating the fuel you may find that it will not start when you need it again.
Insuring Generator Reliability
Once you receive the generator carefully unpack it and do an inspection to make sure nothing is damaged. Follow the break-in instructions. If you find any issues with the generator now’s the time to contact the manufacturer for instructions to get warranty work done.
It’s a good idea to get into the habit of running your generator every month or two to keep it well lubricated and ready for use. Remember to use a good quality fuel stabilizer in the fuel.
Is it a Good Idea to Operate a Generator in a Storage Shed?
The short answer is NO. Generators produce carbon monoxide when there running which is poisonous; as well there is a high risk of a fire starting when used in closed quarters not to mention the noise level.
Storage sheds are excellent for storage and working in, however they have very poor air circulation because of their lack of windows that open and are not constructed to the same standards as your home.
So, Why Not Use a Generator in Your Shed?
The main reason is “carbon monoxide” also known as the silent killer, a generator gives of heat and the fuel it uses is highly explosive and in a closed space especially with dust if your using the shed for a shop, not to mention are highly noisy.
If you’re working in your shed you know the air quality is not the best and using a dust mask can help with the poor air quality. In the summer and early fall you can leave the door open, but in the winter you’re not going to want to leave the door open. The dust and gasses emitted by the generator will remain in the shed creating a very dangerous mixture.
The Risks of Using a Generator in Storage Shed
– Carbon Monoxide… Being odorless it can give you headaches, cause dizziness and eventually death. Most homes are required to have a carbon monoxide detector in them for that reason.
– Fire… Your generator provides fuel, oxygen and the means to ignite these. Manufacturers have stringent guidelines to follow and many warnings on their devices, but they can’t control what the user will do once they take the generator home.
If you’re using the shed for woodworking there’s going to be a lot of sawdust and small pieces of debris around and if you’re storing your generator in the shed without a cover it’s going to be covered in this dust as well. If your generator has a small leak of oil than that can also contribute to the fire risk.
Heat that your generator creates can also be a fire risk, some generators have sparks that come out of the exhaust and if you’re using it in a dry area outside you may want to consider adding a spark arrestor to the exhaust. The generator will have hot surfaces that can a burn injury if you accidentally come into contact with them.
– Noise… The noise that a generator emits is quite loud and the larger generators are louder. If you’re using a smaller inverter generator then the noise levels would be less. These inverter generators are good for camping or running a small appliance, they don’t have the wattage that the larger generators have for powering several appliances.
While there are things you can do to quiet down the generator it adds cost, one option would be to add a muffler to the generator which will help. In general using a generator inside a storage shed or garage is NOT a good idea. You can check out the full line of generator muffler kits here on Amazon.
I found this video that will drop the decibels of your generator by 10 points for next to nothing.
I hope you have found my article on generator storage ideas helpful, give the article a share and thanks for reading.