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A while back I was doing some welding for a friend for an outdoor job and I noticed it was raining outside. The thought quickly popped in my head if it was safe to MIG weld in the rain.
Can you MIG weld in the rain? Welding in the rain is not safe and may result in a simple shock to possible electrocution in some server cases. Welders produce a current and if it should happen to ground out it may hurt you severely. Just remember to take proper precautions or avoid the situation altogether.
While this may not be safe to do this also does not mean that it is not impossible to do as well. In this article I’m going to share some do’s and don’t along with some safety advice and what you should do if you are welding in the rain.
Is MIG Welding in the Rain Safe or Not?
When it comes down to it water and electricity don’t mix. All it will take is one wrong move and you could get hurt. This is way you want to take all of this very seriously.
When it comes down to it a MIG welder is full of electricity and the last thing you want to do is get water on your welder, the welding gun, and most importantly you.
The reason I found for this is because a welder works a lot in the same a circuit does. As the wire moves through the lead and the weld gun it brings a positive charge.
Once this positive charge strikes the surface which is the negative side of the circuit it passes through the base metal to the ground clamp completing the circuit.
Side Note: If the ground clamp is not attached to base metal or a metal table that you are welding on it won’t complete the circuit and won’t produce an arc.
The problem with welding in the rain is that it could cause the welder to ground in other ways since water conducts electricity.
For example, if you’re welding outside in the rain and you are standing in a water puddle and the ground clamp is laying on the ground it can produce an arc that could pass through you instead.
This is just one way you could get shocked by a welder. The thing is you may not have an option if you have to weld in the rain.
For example, maybe you work on a farm and you need a piece of farm machinery to get a job done and you can’t bring it indoors. This means you’ll have weld in the rain.
The question then becomes how should you protect yourself while welding in the rain.
How to Protect Yourself While Welding in the Rain
So now that we know welding in the rain is dangerous here are few things you can do to protect yourself.
#1 Postpone the Job
The best thing you can do in this situation is to postpone the job altogether. I know this isn’t possible in all situations if you have a job that requires you to work outside such a farmer or someone who might work in a shipyard.
However if your welding something like a car frame in your spare time I would hold off until the weather gets a little better.
#2 Bring it Inside if You Can
However if you can’t postpone the job look for a way to bring the job inside out of the rain if possible.
Welding indoors allows you to control the environment better and will also produce better weld since you won’t have to deal with things like the wind blowing your shielding gas away.
However I know this is always possible because somethings are just to heavy or big to move and bring inside.
#3 Use the Proper Gear
If this is your situation then you’ll want to make sure you have the proper gear before you start welding. This means having the proper work boots with thick rubber soles to insult you from the ground.
If you’re standing in water you may want to consider wearing rubber boots to avoid any chance of grounding out.
You’ll also want a dry pair or thick welding gloves to help insulate your hands from the welding gun. If it’s a heavy rain you may want us a thick rubber glove.
Finally you’ll also want to be wearing dry close if possible.
#4 Check Your Lead and Ground Clamp
Your next step is to check your weld lead and ground clamp cable for any cracks or tears. All of your electricity passes through these cables and if any of these ares are exposed they could result in you getting shocked.
To fix this either replace the cable or wrap it in electrical tape. Also make sure neither of these cables are laying in water.
#5 Use a Cover
Another option you could do is use a cover while you are welding. Something as simple as an umbrella or a plastic tarp could solve this problem.
This will also help keep the weld surface dry and give a weld that penetrates deeper and looks better.
Also try to cover up the welder as well it may or may not produce a shock but the rain can also also do a lot of damage to your welder as well.
#6 Review Your Surroundings
Finally, take some time to review your surroundings before you start welding. Look for things like water puddles to avoid or stuff you should not be touching while you
Know where you are going to stand and how you are going to complete the job before you start. Having this plan in place will protect you and keep everyone safe.
Can Welding Attract Lightning
Simply put welding in a lightning storm is a bad idea. Like all electricity, it’s always connecting from a positive charge to a negative charge and the last thing you want to is increase those chances of getting struck.
While there is no saying whether or not you’ll be struck by lightning when welding in the rain it’s almost as silly as holding a steel rod up in the sky during a storm.
You might get lucky and not get struck but do it enough and those odds increase.
One final word of advice on this, if you work a job and your foreman is forcing you to weld in a lightning storm take my advice and don’t do it. It’s your life and a nothing like that is worth dying for.
How Bad Could You Get Hurt by MIG Welding in the Rain
In most cases, if you’re MIG welding in the rain you’ll likely only get a slight shock but even this can be dangerous. For example, if you’re someone who has a pacemaker then it’s probably not a good idea to use a welder.
Side Note: I am not a medical expert nor an electric expert. Please follow all recommended guidelines and consult these experts or any other experts before you attempt to weld in the rain.
In the worst cases, you could get struck by lightning or if the welder would happen to ground out severe enough it could result in death.
I’ve personally been shocked a few times over the years by my welder and if you weld long enough it will likely happen to you at some point.
#1 What kind of welding rain gear should you wear? Leather gloves and apron work as great insulators as long as they don’t get wet. Otherwise, you may want to use thick rubber gloves and boots.
#2 What should you do if your welder gets wet? First, shut the welder down. Make sure it’s not sitting in any water and is completely dry before restarting. Also, make sure you are not wet while handling the welder.
#3 Can you electrocute yourself with a welder? A welder can shock you but it depends on where it comes from. It’s a primary shock that comes from a component in the welder it could be anywhere from 110v to 600v.
So have you ever had to MIG weld in the rain and if so what did you do to protect yourself and say safe?