A portable generator is must-have equipment, especially in areas where weather events affect the power supply. With a reliable portable generator at hand, you don’t have to worry about your food going bad in the refrigerator or your inability to power your heating or cooling system. The generator will provide you with backup power until they restore your main utility line. There is a need to know how to build a portable generator enclosure.
It is a pricey investment that you ought to safeguard. You don’t want to wake up in the morning to find your appliances not powering while the generator is missing. If you’re thinking of taking good care of your portable generator, you need to house it in a portable generator enclosure. So, how do you build a portable generator enclosure? Read on to learn more on why you need a generator enclosure, factors to consider, and insightful tips for making one.
Why Should You Build a Portable Generator Enclosure?
There are many reasons you should shelter your portable generator in an enclosure or box. Here are the best reasons for investing in a portable generator enclosure.
If you live in areas with extreme weather, having a shelter for your generator is very helpful. An enclosure protects your generator from getting wet or corroded. If you leave it open, your generator will be exposed to rain, snow, and hail. It will also be vulnerable to strong winds that can blow debris or dirt into the electrical components of your generator.
A portable generator creates at least 70 decibels of noise. Unless you are ready to live with the constant roar of your generator, enclosing it is an effective way to minimize its sound level. It will still be loud, but not as loud if you leave it outside the house. The enclosure acts as a muffler.
No risk of theft:
A portable generator enclosure provides security for your equipment. If you reside in a region where break-ins are common, keeping your generator out of sight is an excellent good way to secure it against thieves or intruders. It is easier to protect the generator when it’s not placed in the open.
Creating some extra space:
If you use the generator for camping or tailgating, having a portable generator enclosure saves you some space. You can put up the chamber in your parking area and leave the generator inside until it’s needed.
Improve aesthetics of your home:
The sight of a plain portable generator may not be appealing. Luckily, you can improve this appearance by investing in an enclosure that blends with your environment and is pleasing to the eye.
It is cheaper than buying:
It will cost you less to build your generator enclosure than buying one. Furthermore, you have the freedom to modify it to suit your interests. Modifying an already made portable generator enclosure may be challenging. Save on costs by building your portable generator enclosure and enjoy modifying it to your taste.
Video Showing How to Build a Portable Generator Enclosure
Types of Portable Generator Enclosures
There are two varieties of enclosures that you can consider for your portable generator.
Pre-made portable generator enclosures
You can invest in a pre-made portable generator enclosure. This comes in different shapes and sizes, depending on the brand of your portable generator. To get an enclosure that will fit perfectly, read the owner’s manual for your machine to know its measurements.
Enclosures built from scratch
If you want to save money, why not consider building one yourself? It’s easy and fast to make your portable generator enclosure. There are many online designs that you can use as your guide. You can also modify these designs, depending on your needs and skills with tools.
For these compelling reasons, you should invest in a portable generator enclosure without hesitation—especially if you plan on using the generator for many years.
Factors to Consider in Building a Portable Generator Enclosure
This is perhaps the first factor you need to consider since your budget plays a significant role in choosing your enclosure materials. If you are on a tight budget, build one using basic wooden boards, but if you want something more durable, opt for steel or aluminum frames. Remember, this is a worthy investment that you are protecting, do not be afraid to spend on the enclosure.
It is essential to check the size of your generator before you start building an enclosure. You don’t want to build an enclosure only to come and realize that it is too small for your generator to fit. You can check the generator instruction booklet for information about its dimensions. If you are using a wheeled generator, make sure that your chosen enclosure allows it to be wheeled in and out with ease.
Take note of where you will locate the enclosure before you start the construction. An ideal location should be where the ground is level, solid, and dry. If possible, place it in an area where you can quickly hook up the electrical connection. Areas to avoid locating your portable generator enclosure include;
- Areas with high humidity and wet grass
- Areas that get too much sun
- Areas that are direct to the windows and doors of your house.
- Close to any flammables
Type of materials to use:
The enclosure material you choose should be sturdy enough to hold your generator. It also has to be weather-resistant and noise-proof so that it won’t disrupt the peace of those around you.
Portable generators produce heat during operation. An enclosed generator must have at least one vent to let out the hot air. If your enclosure has walls, you can attach a vent or make small gaps in the wall surface large enough for ventilation. If the design of your enclosure is too small, you may include an exhaust fan.
A Step-By-Step Guide for Building a Portable Generator Enclosure
Before starting the construction of your shelter, make sure you have all these things ready:
- Measuring tape
- Circular saw
- Power drill
- Half-brad nails
- Wooden boards
- Aluminum sheets
Step 1: Measure the generator’s dimensions and draw a plan on paper or use design software.
You can base your measurements on the instructions in the generator manual. Still, you should consider adding an extra space of eight inches around the generator to give you room for electrical cables.
Step 2: Build the floor base according to the dimensions in your plan in step 1.
Then cut wooden boards to fit. Make sure that the floor is solid and dry. You should consider placing levelers under your wooden boards so you can easily adjust them if necessary.
Step 3: Build the back and sidewalls of the enclosure.
The height should be enough to allow for proper ventilation from the top and sideways. To prevent the boards from vibrating or rubbing against each other when you start up your generator, space out wooden boards in between each other.
Step 4: Attach a ventilation grill (with fan) on one side of your generator enclosure.
You can also opt for fresh air louvers. Make sure that it is in a place where there is adequate air circulation. Avoid placing the enclosure where there is obstruction of airflow, such as walls or any other objects.
Step 5: Attach the door to your generator enclosure and make sure you build a lock for extra security.
You can make a lockout of a lightweight steel bar or a heavy-duty padlock. The locks are ideal for preventing unauthorized access to the generator, especially if you have kids around your home.
Remember to install the hinges and handles on your enclosure’s door before attaching them to the enclosure frame. The size of the door should be broad enough to offer optimal access to the generator whenever the need arises.
Step 6: Attach any fixtures you find necessary.
Such as shelves for storage or hooks from which you can hang tools or accessories.To avoid direct water contact when it rains, try to build the enclosure with aluminum sheets on top and slant enough for water to drain down.
Step 7: Test your enclosure for ventilation and security by connecting the generator to it.
Turn on the generator and make sure no sparks are flying out; this means that air is flowing freely. Use a multi-plug outlet with a high amp circuit breaker (150A) to supply power to your essential appliances for extra safety.
You can make several modifications to your portable generator enclosure, including designing it into different colors. This is an effective way of beautifying your portable generator if it isn’t aesthetically pleasing to you. Once you build your enclosure, make sure that you test it before moving the generator into it.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Can I build my portable generator enclosure?
Yes. You can build your enclosure as long as you have a list of materials you need to obtain, such as wood planks, screws, and nails, hinges, and latches. Remember to keep your safety in mind at all times, especially if you have kids who might be attracted to the unit’s bright colors.
2. What materials should I use when building a portable generator enclosure?
A portable generator enclosure can be made from many types of materials. The most common materials are wood, but you can also use metal and even plastic. Aluminum sheets are the best choice for material because they do not rust or corrode as steel or iron can. This prevents your generator enclosure from looking rusted after time, which looks very unprofessional. Wood material works well because it is inexpensive and easy to work with using common tools.
Metal is sturdy and can hold the weight of your generator, but it is costly to use. It also requires welding to put together, which makes it difficult for homeowners to build themselves.
3. How much will it cost me to build my portable generator enclosure?
A sturdy generator enclosure made from suitable quality materials will probably cost you over $500. If you plan on building your own, set aside an extra one hundred dollars as a safety net in case unforeseen expenses crop up during the construction process.
However, if you want to make a simple enclosure for a small portable generator, $200 may be enough. This price includes buying simple materials that you can use in the enclosure’s construction.
4. How do I know that my portable generator enclosure is up to code?
Your local fire department will tell you what enclosures and enclosures you can use for your generator. You should also check on the safety features of the chamber, which includes proper ventilation and at least one window. Always ensure the positioning of the generator’s enclosure does not direct the fumes to your house.
5. How do I clean the generator’s enclosure?
You should always clean the enclosure whenever you are servicing your portable generator. Use a mild detergent solution to wipe the enclosure. Do not use bleach or very corrosive chemicals on the metal parts. It’s also best to avoid silicone sprays as silicone can cause damage to the generator if it makes contact.
6. How much does a portable generator cost?
A portable generator will cost between $400 and $1300. Portable generators made by reputable manufacturers come with a warranty of up to 10 years. When buying a portable generator, make sure that the design is suitable for your needs. Buying from a reputable manufacturer reduces the risk of purchasing faulty quality products. If you decide to build your enclosure, make sure you follow the set safety guidelines and test out your enclosure before setting up your generator in it.
In conclusion, a portable generator is a must-have piece of machinery that can provide you with electricity when your main power supply is unavailable. It comes at a high price, and proper care and maintenance are needed to ensure that it serves you for many years. One of the best ways of taking care of this piece of equipment is by building it an enclosure. These enclosures should meet the safety requirements set by your local fire department and should provide adequate ventilation.