Do you use a portable generator to camp off-grid or without a power pedestal hook-up? If you said “yes,” then do you know the importance of a generator cover to prolong the life of this piece of gear?
Let’s face it – portable RV generators can be expensive. So here’s what you need to know about generator covers that protect your investment and maximize the life of your portable generator.
Do I Need to Cover My Generator?
There are several reasons to purchase a cover for your portable generator:
- You aren’t able to store it inside between trips. Ensure you winterize your RV’s generator properly before covering it for winter storage.
- The generator’s design doesn’t offer any weather protection. The more you camp, the higher your likelihood of encountering rain, snow, and other weather that can damage your generator.
- You’re tired of waking up in a panic when a rainstorm blows in, and your generator is exposed outside.
- You have a louder generator. The right cover can also muffle your generator to reduce noise output.
Technician Tip: Ensuring proper ventilation is critical when covering a running generator. We’ll discuss this more below, but you cannot use a generator cover that doesn’t provide ample ventilation if you plan to use it on a running generator.
Hooking up a portable generator requires placing it at least 20-25 feet away from your RV – your RV’s 30 or 50-amp power cord is your distance guide. That often leaves it sitting in the open, exposed to moisture, dust, and debris.
Moisture causes rust and corrosion; dust and debris can cause mechanical failure. Covering your generator allows you to continue using it in inclement weather, reduces environmental exposure, and maximizes its lifespan.
Learn more about maintaining your generator.
Can You Cover a Generator While Running?
You can cover a generator with the right generator cover while it’s running. However, it must be a cover compatible with your generator’s make and model, as the manufacturer recommends.
Generator covers for running a generator are designed to ensure proper ventilation, which is vital for generator safety. This way, the top of your generator is covered while the sides are open to the air, protecting your generator from overheating and protecting the cover from heat damage.
Learn how to use and store your portable generator safely.
How to Choose a Generator Cover for Your RV
Before deciding if your generator needs a cover, consider your generator’s size and type. Smaller inverter generators can be tucked under your trailer (when they’re not running) to keep them out of the rain.
Technician Tip: Running a portable generator underneath your RV is unsafe due to the release of carbon monoxide (CO) gasses. A generator cover must allow for ventilation for the generator’s exhaust if used while the generator is running.
Larger generators are the best candidates for a generator cover. They won’t easily fit under your trailer or in your truck’s camper shell between uses, and they’re more likely to be stored outside at home. They need added protection from bad weather if you want them to last.
The right cover for your generator depends on its size, design, and intended use. The manufacturer is your best resource for compatible cover models. Most manufacturers also offer covers specifically designed for their generator models.
When it comes to intended use, consider whether you need a generator cover for long-term storage or weather protection when your generator is running.
A cover for long-term storage can boast a simpler design. You need something that slips over your generator and secures easily to offer protection in wet conditions. It can be secured with a pull-string strap or an elastic band.
A cover for a running portable generator requires a design that maintains proper ventilation for your generator to run safely. It’ll need some sort of frame to extend beyond your generator’s dimensions and sides that fold or roll up for ventilation. It’s a small covered home for your generator that secures to the generator’s frame to keep it out of the elements.
Discover Camping World’s selection of RV generator covers.
FAQs About Generator Covers
Here are a few more things you need to know about generator covers.
How To Cover a Generator in the Rain
The best way to cover a generator in the rain is to use a generator cover. Alternatively, you can utilize a tarp if you don’t plan on running it. If you’re boondocking and need to run your generator in wet weather, your best option is a generator cover with roll-up sides.
However, that cover style may not be available for all models. You may place your generator under an elevated tarp or pop-up canopy in adverse weather, provided you retain the manufacturer’s recommended amount of air space around it. Still, this approach comes with significant safety risks.
Ensure you’re aware of these portable generator safety tips.
Can You Cover a Generator With a Tarp?
You can wrap your generator in a tarp for long-term storage, but not if you plan on running your generator. Setting up an elevated tarp over your generator provides some protection but not as much as a well-designed generator cover.
There are also considerable safety risks to stringing a tarp over a running generator. You’ll need to ensure proper air space around all sides. Most generators require at least five feet of clearance on each side, but this can vary based on the manufacturer.
You must also be 100% confident in your tarp’s security. If it falls while your generator is running, it presents significant safety risks for your tarp, generator, RV, and campground neighbors.
Technician Tip: Inspect your generator monthly when wrapped for storage. Rodents can chew through a tarp or cover to access your generator. Once inside, they can soil everything, chew up wiring and fuel lines, and pack it full of nesting material.
Learn how to winterize your generator before covering it.
Your safest choice to protect your generator from the elements is to purchase and use a compatible generator cover. Explore Camping World’s complete selection of generator covers.
Do you have any questions about generator covers? Share in the comments below.