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How to Cool a Portable Generator

Keith Allen

Portable generators, small scale electric generators powered by a gas, propane or diesel engine, are usually air cooled. The natural flow of air around the unit is adequate to cool the generator if it is in the open. However, some owners add structure or shelters around the generator to reduce the noise of the operation. In those cases additional cooling capacity is sometimes necessary

  1. Open up the area above the portable generator allow more air circulation. According to the Frequently Asked Questions segment of Generator Ace website portable generators cool themselves using the principle that hot air rises. If the air heated by the generator is allowed to rise cool air is pulled in around the base of the generator. If a top is necessary for a generator cover make sure to include a top that is removable during operations.

  2. Install grill work or other air ventilation fixtures around the base of the enclosure. Place window screen or similar material over the openings of outdoor generator housings. This prevents intrusions from insects or other animals. Keep the screens clear during the operation of the generator. Drill or cut openings in the bottom portion of any generator cover used indoors where insects are not a problem.

  3. Remove the cover over the portable generator to provide complete air circulation. This will increase the noise level but provides adequate cooling. Additionally, household fans can be set up and pointed at the portable generator to provide additional air movement and cooling.