Can You Weld In The Rain
Welding can be safe when done indoors especially when everything about your machine is hooked up properly and without any damage to its cables. But when welding is done outdoors and it’s raining, I should say you are putting yourself at high risk and that is mainly from getting electrocuted. So obviously even the answer to the question can you weld in the rain seems possible, the hazards always remain high.
According to OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) which is a US government agency that oversees the safety and health of workers in workplaces, there is no law that prohibits people from welding in the rain. However, it would be the employers’ problem if something bad happens to their welders and no employer would want to endanger his employees’ lives and face consequences under the law.
On the other hand, not all welders are doing their work under employment which means anyone can weld anywhere they want even under the rain. The only thing they need to do is to take a lot of safety precautions, secure their machines, and wear rain gear which as much as possible should be waterproof and fireproof.
What Could Happen When Welding in the Rain
We know that electricity is an excellent conductor of electricity. If you see in the movies somebody throwing a plugged hair dryer into the bathtub full of water and the person inside the tub got electrocuted, that could also happen if a broken welding cable gets soaked in the puddle and you are standing next to it without rubber boots on.
Water could also seep even through the smallest opening of your machine and when this water gets into the circuitry anything that this water touches will be grounded. Consider that you are following safety precautions, welding in wet conditions will still present a bit of trouble.
The danger with water is that it travels fast and you won’t feel it especially if you are wearing thick rain gear. It can flow toward you at speed, can be driven by strong wind and will present danger while welding.
Also, any amount of water that could get inside your welding machine by any means may mean trouble. Because once it gets into your machine or inside your torch cable and into your clothes you become part of the circuit and electricity can flow through your body.
So are there any ways that can keep you safe from getting electrocuted while welding in the rain? Yes, there are a few but these are not always 100% safe.
Precautions When Welding in Wet Conditions
One of the most effective ways of protecting yourself from getting grounded or electrocuted if you are welding in wet conditions is wearing protective gear designed to be waterproof or at least water-resistant. Some people suggest wearing welding rain gear or two but actually, there are only rain gears for working under the rain and not particularly for welding.
On the other hand, rain gear can also be considered a welding rain gear if it can make you safe from being grounded in a wet environment. Such gear can be any waterproof or flame-resistant jacket or raincoat, a pair of thick insulated water-resistant welding gloves, and waterproof welding boots with thick insulated soles to insulate yourself from the wet ground. However, these are only advisable to use if you are under a shed and on a high ground where the rain would not be able to reach you or your machine.
So what’s the use of a welding rain gear then?
This can protect you from getting electrically shocked if ever you touched or stepped on a live wire that is soaked with water. Like the raincoat which should also be non-flammable, this can insulate parts of your body from stray grounded wires. The rubber boots can also insulate your feet from the wet ground in case a live wire lays on the ground. The thick rubber gloves can prevent electric shock if you happen to accidentally hold a grounded metal or your torch gets grounded.
But still, the main point here is, you must always “keep yourself dry” even when you are fully covered up with welding rain gears because these can be less effective once you get soaked with water. There is no perfect welding gear when welding in wet conditions. Although there are welding gears for welding underwater, these are designed and specialized for such a specific working environment.
Another precaution you must also remember when welding in the rain is not to replace welding electrodes without wearing your insulated gloves and avoid standing over wet surfaces.
Is It Possible to MIG or TIG Welding in the Rain?
Welding in wet conditions is not really an advisable thing to do. But if an urgent need calls for it and the rain seems not stopping for a long time, then you have no choice but to think of ways on how to MIG weld in the rain.
So what should you do to lessen or eliminate the danger of getting grounded? Consider the following:
Now that you know how to possibly MIG or TIG weld in wet conditions, I would also like to suggest one best way to avoid getting the jolts and can still weld. So the following is my suggestion.
Best Alternative to MIG and TIG Welding
Consider using oxyacetylene welding. MIG and TIG welding may be your favorite welding methods. Yet, its welders are designed only for indoor work so their cables may put you in danger of getting electrically shocked when accidentally exposed to wet conditions. So why not try oxy welding?
Can you weld in the rain using oxy welding?
Yes, because this type of welding doesn’t need electricity but uses a combination of oxygen and acetylene to produce extreme heat that welders use either for welding or cutting metals.
You can weld low carbon steel, cast steel, low-alloy steel and wrought iron using oxy-acetylene gas. All ferrous metals with low carbon and alloy mixture can be welded with oxy gas.
Although this method of welding has been caught up by more modern welding methods such as MIG and TIG welding, oxy-acetylene welding is still popular when the need for welding in the rain arises.
Welding in wet conditions may include plumbing applications, repairing of automotive, and artisan welding. Artisan welders are welders with specialized skills and they work not only in various industries but they are the experts for emergency welding calls regardless of weather conditions. Aside from these, oxy welding is still extensively applied in shop work and outdoor welding.
There’s nothing more important than keeping yourself safe when welding. And though I don’t recommend welding in wet conditions, if the needs call for it, you better take some good advice. Don’t forget to be ready with the welding rain gear stuff because these can be your lifesavers.
And going back to the question “can you weld in the rain”? Yes, anybody can. But always remember that this could be risky. If you are in welding for hire business and need to do outdoor welding and under the rain, try to talk to your client also if he or she can help you make ways to make your job safe.
Or better yet consider oxy-acetylene welding if possible