Can I Run A Generator In My Garage?

No! This is not safe and can result in tragic results. A lot of people do not realize that a generator emits the same kind of exhaust that a vehicle does. This exhaust is known as Carbon Monoxide and it is a colorless, odorless, and poisonous gas. Let me ask you a question, would you sit in your garage for an extended period of time with your car running? Of course not. After only a short while you would begin to feel the effects of the monoxide. The very same principle can be said when it comes to portable generators. Remember folks, that generators have engines too and they emit exhaust just like your car does. There are stories that I hear on the news of folks putting generators in their living room closets, in their basements, or garages. All of these can result in tragedy. It may not be convenient to setup your generator outside during the cold of an ice storm, but it is ABSOLUTELY necessary!

Let me ask you this, would you want to risk your family’s safety by assuming that the generator running in your garage is venting all of the monoxide outside and not into your home? I know I certainly wouldn’t.

Below is a quick Dos and Don’ts when it comes to running and placing your generator:


  1. The generator should be run outside of the building you are aiming to power.
  2. The generator should be at least fifteen feet away from the building. Some people recommend twenty feet, but use your best judgement here.
  3. The generator should be run in a dry and well ventilated area.
  4. The generator’s exhaust should be pointed AWAY from your home, garage, or whatever building you are trying to cool.
  5. When using a generator ensure that you have the carbon monoxide detectors installed in your home and that their batteries are up to date. In my family we have three to four portable monoxide detectors in each room to ensure that there are no accidents.

Do Not:

  1. Do NOT run a generator in your basement.
  2. Do NOT run a generator in your closet.
  3. Do NOT run a generator in your garage.
  4. Do NOT run a generator in your detached building.
  5. Do NOT run a generator inside your home with the windows open. The air flow from the windows is NOT enough to negate the carbon monoxide flooding your home.

If you suspect that you are suffering from carbon monoxide poisoning then exit the area immediately and either have someone take you to the hospital or call 911. Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning can mimic symptoms of the Flu. These can be a dull headache, blurred vision, confusion, vomiting, dizziness, and overall weakness. Please be vigilant of these symptoms when using generators and have that portable carbon monoxide detector in the same room you are.

Lastly, if you want to read more about generator safety please check out our Generator Safety Guide by clicking here.

Thanks for reading,

Alec Johnson


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