Cheap generator question (what if it rains?)

I have a 3500 watt Chinese generator. Seems ok, runs fine. It says not to run it during wet or rainy conditions. That's reasonable I guess, since I don't want electricty flying all over. But, if I happen to have a power blackout and it's raining for a day or two, I figured that maybe I could throw a tarp over the deck in the backyard and let the generator run underneath it? The deck has about four feet of ground clearance and extends far enough from the house so I'm not worried about carbon monoxide.
I have power cords back there that power the fountain and even a heated birdbath during the winter, and those are fairly unprotected from the rain/snow. Those don't short out the house (GFI of course).
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dgk wrote:

Just put a sheet of plywood or metal sheeting on it with a cement block to hold it. Should be fine. On mine, the plastic gas tank covers the entire top.
--
All is as it is.

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I put mine under the garage over hang. Transfer box is right next to panel near the garage opening. May get a few drops but remains dry. If need be, I can close the garage door leaving generator outside, of course.
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If you're not worried about CO poisoning, other problems to consider would be if there would be enough Oxygen to run the generator after the space fills with CO and will the heat from the Generator cause any fires or other problems. I am not sure you can back feed into a GFI, but if you can, you should be good to go.
Also, usually a generator of that size will have 220. You might want to think about using that by installing a breaker and outlet. My 3500 (4000 peak) has a RV plug. I run mine in my detached garage with the doors open and backfeed 220 into the house. By putting 220 into the house, everything will work except the Water heater and cloths dryer.
Hank
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On 4/5/2011 5:45 PM, Hank wrote:

Apologies to the regulars for restarting a perennial no-win thread, but not only NO, but Hell No!. Never backfeed with a 'suicide cord' or whatever. If you are too cheap to set up a proper transfer switch, put pigtails on your furnace and well pump, etc, and run a PVC pipe with a threaded cap through the band joist above the sill, and pass an extension cord down into the basement to run critical systems.
Do it right, or don't do it.
--
aem sends...


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aemeijers wrote:

You make a good point, but sometimes the perfect is the enemy of the merely good enough.
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My apologies for even mentioning it. Of course you are correct for 99.99999% of the population.
Hank
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wrote:

Sorry, didn't mean to imply that I was going to backfeed into the house current. I just meant that I already have unprotected (outdoor rated) extension cords back there and that isn't a problem during rain or snow. My plan was to run one or two high-rated extension cords from the generator to inside the house and plug stuff into those.
An electrician has already installed a switch on the furnace to use either house current or power from an extension cord.
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Extension cords are molded plastic/rubber, and sealed from moisture.
The generator head on your cheap chinese unit is NOT sealed from moisture.
Big difference. Can you see it?
All you need to do is shelter the generator from the rain. It's not rocket science. Your tarp idea will work fine as long as it is not smothering the generator and there is a way for the exhaust to escape.
An umbrella is another alternative, as would be a purpose built shelter, a piece of steel roofing material, or a pop-up canopy. It can be as crude or as sophisticated as you want as long as most of the water stays off the generator.
Whatever you choose, odds are good that you'll be using the generator during a storm where there are high winds. Make sure you secure your shelter against that wind.
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On Wed, 6 Apr 2011 14:00:07 -0700 (PDT), snipped-for-privacy@rochester.rr.com wrote:

Right, but the cord plugs into an outside outlet and a multiple-outlet plugs into the other end of the cord. Then onto a timer, fountain, birdbath, lights, and even a useless mosquito trap. While all are designed for outside use, none is really sheltered from the rain. Water can certainly get into the outlets or the spaces between the plugs.
I worried about that at first, and even taped a sheet of plastic around the outlet so that it would stay dry. But the connections between all the other devices were essentially open to the weather. Only once has the GFI outlet tripped in the two years since I had it installed. I would think that all those connections being open would short out something but it doesn't seem to do so.
I'd be a bit nervous running the generator on morning like today, where it wasn't even really raining any more but it was very foggy and you can just feel the water in the air. Still, if folks here say to just keep the rain off of the generator, that's ok by me.
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dgk wrote:

You can always put it in the garage and pipe the exhaust outside. Or put it in the basement and pipe the exhaust into the chimney. If it's good enough for the wood stove it's good enough for the generator.
--
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Could someone post a photo of "electricty flying all over". I bet that would look awesome.....
(Of course if it's a Chinese generator, it probably wont even start).
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I believe he mentions the outlet by way of indicating that the area stays dry enough to not be an issue for other power outlets. Not because he is thinking about backfeeding with it. Which woul not work anyway because it's a 110 outlet.
Most people do what lsmft suggested. A piece of plywood on top of it works fine. Under your deck would wor ok too if you do something to protect an area above it like a small tarp. Just about all these have a muffler that is "directional", point it out.
On backfeeding. Glad to know I'm in the .0001 percentile of something.
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I have one in my head- and I can't believe I can't find a similar one on Google. 40 yrs ago I was on a telephone line crew waiting for the power company to finish hooking their crap to a pole. 2 guys in rubber suits working the line hot were outlined perfectly by an aura of electricity.
Jim
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wrote:

http://www.erh.noaa.gov/pit/images/hair.gif '
http://stormtrack9.freedomblogging.com/files/2008/06/dangerous1.jpg
In the pictures above, the young woman and her friends were severely injured by lightning just a few seconds after this picture was taken. Notice that no rain was falling, clearly illustrating that lightning can strike up to several miles away from the thunderstorm.
http://paphysicalscience.wikispaces.com/Electricity
Red headed girl touching what looks like a Van de Graff generator. Lightning hitting (and lighting up every branch) on a tree.
http://comingbackalive.com/images/cba/people/puzzles2.gif
Ouch! Man's torso showing scars from lightning strike.
-- Bobby G.
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On 4/6/2011 12:05 AM, Al Capone II wrote:


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vqgNrj6oEdc

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IG7PQOQEFmg&feature=related

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C-UTYzfNjKM&feature=related

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_FsRZ-I9_F0&feature=related

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LtBwkAtThK0&feature=related

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Au1nJ-2zg0w&feature=related

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My deck has about 6 feet of ground clearance. I'm storing my son's riding mower under the deck, up against the house.
I attached a 2 x 4 to the underside of the joists about 5 feet from the house. I then used some spare sheets of Fiberglass roofing like in the link below to build a "roof" over the mower. One end of the panels are attached directly to the joists near the house, the other ends are attached to the 2 x 4, resulting in a sloped roof.
The roof basically hangs off the bottom of the joists.
I covered the mower with a tarp but it's made it through a fall and a winter and not one drop of water has hit the tarp. I've even got some kindling for our firepit on top of the mower and it stayed perfectly dry throughout the winter.
Fiberglass roofing sheets:
http://www.woodweb.com/knowledge_base_images/zp/home_built_solar_kiln_03.jpg
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On Thu, 7 Apr 2011 13:03:29 -0700 (PDT), DerbyDad03

But it all just sits on dirt that can get wet right? I wanted to put my mower under the deck as well but worried that just being out in the damp would cause it to rust even if no rain fell directly on it. It's a small electric mower since it's a small backyard.
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The dirt never gets wet. It's graded away from the house, so the front part under the deck does get wet, but it drains out into the yard, not back towards the mower.
It stays dry under the mower.
Sure, I guess there's some moisture coming up from the ground naturally, but I'm not going to worry about that. Hopefully my son will be back in a house real soon and he can take it back.
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