Can I Use a Generator in My Apartment?

Generators are a great way to prepare for emergencies. Whether you’re facing power outages or natural disasters, having a portable power source on hand is always a good idea.

However, if you’re living in an apartment, you might be asking, “Can I use a generator in my apartment?” If that’s the case, then you came to the right place.

In this post, we’ll be discussing everything you need to know about using a generator in an apartment. We’ll also provide some alternatives and tips on safely using a generator indoors.

The information contained in this post is for informational purposes only.  It is not legal advice.  You should seek the advice of a qualified legal professional before making any decisions relating to the topics covered by this article.

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Are Generators Allowed in Condos and Apartments?

Unless your apartment lease specifically prohibits it, you can use a generator inside your apartment or condo. However, you should make sure that the generator will not be so loud as to disturb your neighbors and is emission-free and safe for indoor use.

In other words – avoid gas generators. These include any backup generators running on gasoline, diesel, or natural gas.

This type of generator produces toxic emissions and is typically loud. For this reason, most landlords won’t allow them inside their properties. Plus, you could die…so there’s that. More on that later.

That said, many apartments already have backup generators in place if power goes out in the building. Your best bet is to get in touch with your property manager about this concern before purchasing your own.

Why Are Gas Generators Discouraged in Apartments?

Experts discourage using gas generators indoors because of the safety hazard that goes with them. They can pose serious risks and endanger lives if improperly used.

In fact, a data report from the CPSC revealed that over 700 people died from using portable gas generators inside their homes from 2011 to 2021.

On this note, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) voiced their concerns regarding the indoor use of portable generators.

Safety Risks

Here are a few things to keep in mind when using gas generators:

  • They produce carbon monoxide, an undetectable poisonous gas that can cause severe tissue damage or death.
  • Gas generators use flammable fuels, posing a considerable fire risk when stored inside apartments and condos.
  • Using gas generators indoors, such as in garages, basements, and apartment buildings can lead to carbon monoxide buildup.
  • You can only use gas generators outside, at least 20 feet from the building, with the engine exhaust pointed away from house openings and vents.

Noise Issues

Another reason why gas generators aren’t allowed inside rental units is the noise that comes with them. You might end up disturbing your neighbors and violating your lease agreement.

Alternative Options for Gas Generators

Luckily, there are several generators to choose from aside from gas-fueled ones that are safer and quieter. For this, we recommend portable power stations and solar power generators.

Portable Power Station

Portable power stations provide backup electricity using rechargeable batteries. They follow the same concept as power banks but with a larger capacity and higher power output.

These portable generators can power small appliances, phones, computers, and light. They also have AC power outlets, which makes them convenient to use.

Another advantage of battery-powered stations is that they can store electricity for long periods. Depending on the wattage, they can provide a few hours up to a few days of power.

Solar Power Generator

A solar power generator is your best choice if you’re looking for the safest, quietest, and most cost-effective option. As the name suggests, this generator uses solar panels to collect power.

The greatest part about solar power generators is that you don’t need to pay for the electricity they store. They produce no sound or toxic emissions, so they’re safe to use in an apartment.

Another advantage of this type of power backup is its lightweight build. You can easily carry it with you wherever and whenever you’re in need of an additional power source.

Safety Tips for Using a Generator Indoors

Whether you’re using battery-powered, or solar-powered generators, it’s always a great idea to familiarize yourself with the best practices for using one.

  • Keep the generator dry at all times and away from damp surfaces.
  • Never touch the generator with wet hands to prevent electrocution. 
  • Avoid plugging generators into wall outlets to power your home, as this is extremely dangerous and illegal in several states.
  • Keep and operate the generator under the shade to prevent overheating.
  • Plug your appliances directly into the generator or use heavy-duty extension cords with watts matching the appliances.

Finally, never hesitate to ask a professional. If you’re unfamiliar with the system or mechanics of generators, get the nearest electrician to assist you.

Final Thoughts

We need electricity for many aspects of our daily lives, so having a backup power source can be extremely helpful.

That said, your and your neighbor’s safety is crucial when considering getting an auxiliary power source for your apartment. For this reason, we recommend using solar and portable generators.