Can You Run a Natural Gas Generator in a Garage?

Jun 3, 2024

Have you ever wondered if it’s safe to run a natural gas generator in a garage?

Indeed, it might seem like a convenient option, especially during bad weather…

However, it’s crucial to understand the risks and safety guidelines associated with placing a generator in a garage.

Understanding the Risks of Running a Generator in a Garage

The primary concern when you run a generator in a garage, or any enclosed space, is the risk of carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning.

Like all combustion engines, natural gas generators produce carbon monoxide – a colourless, odourless gas which can be lethal if inhaled in sufficient quantities.

This means that the short answer is “No, you shouldn’t run a generator inside a garage.“.

To understand the reasons behind that answer, let’s dive into the risks you run by doing that.

Ventilation Matters

However, ventilation is the key issue when considering placing a generator in a garage.

Gas generators need plenty of fresh air to operate safely. Without proper ventilation, carbon monoxide can quickly build up to dangerous levels.

But even with the garage door open, there might not be enough air circulation to disperse the CO produced by the generator.

Safety Precautions and Alternatives

Outdoor Operation: Running a natural gas generator outdoors – far from windows, doors, and vents that can let CO into your home – remains the safest option. Position the generator at least 20 feet from the house to minimize the risk of carbon monoxide infiltration.

CO Detectors: If you must use a generator near your home, install carbon monoxide detectors on every level of your home, especially near sleeping areas. These devices can offer a critical early warning when CO builds up.

Professional Installation: Consider having a permanent standby generator professionally installed. Standby generators are typically installed outdoors and come with automatic CO shutoff features and proper ventilation systems to ensure safety.

The Dangers of DIY Installation

While it might be tempting to set up a generator in a garage for convenience, the risks often outweigh the benefits. Consequently, improper installation can lead to dangerous situations, including fires and CO poisoning. Here are some reasons why:

Inadequate Ventilation: Many garages are not designed to provide the necessary airflow for safe generator operation.

Close Proximity to Flammable Materials: Garages often contain flammable materials like gasoline, paint, and solvents, which could pose additional fire risks.

Building Code Violations: Interestingly, running a generator in a garage might violate local building codes or safety regulations.

Conclusion: Play It Safe

Even though you can run a generator in a garage, it is highly discouraged due to the risks involved.

Therefore, consider safer alternatives like outdoor operation or installing a professionally fitted standby generator.

If you’re considering a generator for your home and want to ensure it’s done safely and in compliance with all regulations, contact Beattie Dukelow Electrical. As an authorized dealer and installer of Generac Generators, we provide expert services in and around Prescott, Ontario. Get a quote today and ensure your home is equipped with a safe and reliable backup power solution.