Can You Use A Generator In A Walmart Parking Lot

If you are in an RV or living in a van, then a generator is a necessity that you might be bringing along for the ride. You realize that you need somewhere to use it, and a public place like Walmart may be an intelligent stopping point. Before you start your generator, ask: can you use a generator in a Walmart parking lot?

There are no universal rules about using a generator in a Walmart parking lot. Do you research the store you are at and the local laws before running a generator. 

You might think that you can use a generator anywhere you want, but that might not be the case in all places. Learn more about the rules to using a generator in a parking lot and some tips that will help you when you do use your generator. 

Can You Run A Generator In A Parking Lot

Yes, you can run a generator in a parking lot. 

Generators that you run in parking lots are called portable generators. These generators run off gas, propane, or even diesel, meaning you can make power wherever you go as long as you have fuel. 

Portable generators are great since they allow you to make power for:

  • Making coffee
  • Running the air conditioning
  • Using a heater
  • Making food

Generators generally have to be on a flat, solid surface. This means that you cannot use them while on the road, so you need to stop using them.

Parking lots are a great place because they are generally in visible places, have wide open space, and usually do not have strict policies regarding stopping or staying overnight. Parking lots also do not charge a fee as campsites or truck stops would. 

Policies vary based on store, but most Walmart stores allow you to park overnight and use a generator, especially if it is a 24-hour store. 

8 Tips For When You Are Using Your Generator At Walmart

Sometimes using a generator in a parking lot is necessary. Use some of these tips when running a generator in a parking lot to ensure everything goes smoothly. 

Follow The Rules

Before running your generator, you should look into the rules if possible.

Some parking lots will have signage stating that you cannot use a generator.

While you might want to take your chances and use it anyway, it may be best to find a different location where you will not get in trouble. Serious consequences may not happen, but I am never one to tempt it!

Call Ahead If You Can

If you’re following the rules, then there is a chance that you have already spoken to the store about what the rules are.

While you’re on the phone with the store employee or manager, let them know details about your stay like:

  • How long will you be staying
  • How many people are staying with you
  • If you have any animals
  • Where you are from and where you are going 

Turn Your Generator Off When You Don’t Need It

Only use your generator when you need it, and turn it off when you do not.

Turning your generator off when it is not in immediate use is a great way to avoid paying too much attention to yourself while in a parking lot. 

Plus, a constantly running generator will be loud and will be more of a bother to you than anyone else! 

Park As Far Away From The Storefront As Possible

Park toward the back of the lot when you are using a generator.

A generator may produce toxic fumes depending on the type of generator you are using. No one wants to smell that while running an errand at Walmart.

Parking toward the back of the lot where fewer cars are courteous to other shoppers.

Try Not To Take Up Spaces That Paying Customers Use

Similarly, don’t take up parking spaces other paying customers use.

Once again, park toward the park of the lot, especially if you plan to stay overnight in the parking lot without going inside to purchase anything.

This will also ensure that you do not upset the store by being in the way of those who are there to shop.

Point The Generator Away From Your Van Or TV And Other Customers

As mentioned, generators are powered with fuel and can smell.

You do not want that smell going into your RV or van, and you also don’t want that smell wafting toward shoppers.

The best place to put your generator is downwind, so it blows in a direction that is away from most people.

This can be an annoying extra step, but it also means that customers won’t complain to store management about the smell. 

Use Signage To Show That You Are Using A Generator

Put out a sign that warns people that a generator is in use.

You don’t have to spend an arm and a leg getting a fancy sign for these purposes. 

Write a message on a piece of paper or cardboard alerting people to use a generator.

There likely won’t be anyone near your generator, but I would much rather be safe than sorry and avoid any injury.

Do Not Overstay Your Welcome

Finally, do not overstay your welcome while you are using a generator.

I would not recommend staying in a parking lot for more than a day or two – three days maximum. 

The store may be letting you use the parking lot as a kind gesture, but if the store manager notices that you are in the parking lot and running a generator for long periods, the store manager may expect the worst and ask you to leave.

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