July 15, 2022

Can You Run a Natural Gas Generator in a Garage?

Many people are interested in having a dedicated power source in the garage. This might make you wonder—can you run a natural gas generator in the garage? The short answer is no, it’s not safe to run a generator in the garage. Natural gas, propane, and gasoline are all popular generator fuels, none of which are safe to operate in enclosed or partially enclosed spaces like a garage.

Why You Shouldn’t Run a Generator Indoors

The dangers you’ve heard about using a gas generator in the garage may seem exaggerated, but they’re not. Here’s why running a generator in the garage is not safe:

  • Carbon monoxide poisoning: According to Generac, using a generator indoors can kill you in minutes due to the buildup of an invisible, odorless gas called carbon monoxide (CO). Data from the Consumer Product Safety Commission also reveals that 900 people died of carbon monoxide poisoning while using portable generators between 2005 and 2017. Every one of those deaths could have been prevented.
  • Toxic and flammable fumes: CO gas isn’t the only thing portable generators emit. Other fumes can be harmful to breathe in high concentrations and create a fire and explosion hazard if sparks or open flames are present.
  • Lack of ventilation: Enclosed spaces of any kind do not provide enough ventilation to run a generator safely. Opening the garage door and even setting up fans is insufficient to counteract the rapid carbon monoxide buildup that can occur.

Generator Safety Tips

The garage may seem like a go-to place for running a portable generator, but it’s obviously not a safe place to set one up. Follow these tips to operate your generator safely:

  • Place the generator on a flat, level surface at least 15 to 20 feet from any windows, doors, vents, or crawlspace entries. Aim the exhaust away from the building.
  • Allow at least five feet of clearance on all sides of the generator while in operation.
  • Always start and stop the generator with no electrical loads connected.
  • Know the capacity of your generator to help prevent overloading.
  • Use heavy-duty, outdoor-rated power cords.
  • Protect your generator from the elements to prevent shorting and rusting.
  • Never smoke near a generator or fuel tank.
  • Keep children and pets away from the generator at all times.
  • Allow the generator to cool before touching it.
  • Inspect the generator regularly and contact an authorized dealer for repairs or replacement parts.
  • Upgrade to a whole-house generator permanently installed in a safe location on your property.

As a Certified Select Generac PowerPRO dealer, Seidel Electric Inc is highly qualified to install and repair Generac generators. Our products are whole-house models designed to turn on automatically when the power goes out. With a permanent outdoor location, you never have to worry about harmful carbon monoxide exposure or other hazards. To learn more about our generator services and financing options for New Jersey residents, please contact us at (908) 362-6191.