The weather seems to get in your way, whether you’re welding outdoors or in your garage. That’s where welding in the rain comes into play.
With the proper precautions and a little know-how, you can weld safely in any kind of precipitation. Keep reading to learn more about welding in the rain, its potential risks, and how to overcome them.
Can You Really Weld in the Rain?
Yes, you can! You absolutely can weld in the rain—particularly if you’re working outdoors in the summer or spring. Water droplets do not significantly reduce the amount of light that hits the weld joint.
This means welding in the rain is perfectly okay (like underwater wet welding). But, you should follow a few precautions to ensure that your welding session stays safe and successful, regardless of the weather conditions.
Follow these tips, and you should be welding safely in the rain in no time.
My Personal Experience from Welding in the Rain
I’ve welded in the rain many times, both at home and in the shop. I’ve even had the chance to weld in the winter! Each time, I follow the same basic precautions.
I want to do my best to ensure that my customers and I are ready for any weather conditions.
When it’s raining, I want to avoid the risk of getting wet—but I also want to avoid damaging my equipment, workplace, or weld. So I follow all safety measures.
What Are Potential Hazards of Welding in the Rain?
Welding in the rain poses several potential welding hazards. Since the weld joint is exposed to more water than usual, there is an increased risk of damage to the weld joint.
Furthermore, your welding equipment is also at a greater risk of damage from the water.
Welding in wet conditions can cause other problems like:
- Increased chances of metal rust
- More flying sparks
- High chances of an electrical shock
- Muddy work area (this makes it harder for you to see what you’re doing, which could be dangerous).
How to Protect Yourself While Welding in the Rain?
To avoid potential hazards, take extra precautions while welding in the rain.
First, you should wear appropriate protective clothing while welding, including:
- Welding apron
- Welding helmet
- Welding gloves
- Welding boots
If you’re welding outdoors, you should also ensure to protect your work area against the risk of getting wet. This means covering your work area with a tarp or other means of shielding your work area from the rain.
You should also avoid touching your welding torch during your wet welding session. It is dangerous to have an electrical shock, so don’t do that.
You can accomplish this by:
- Keeping your distance from the welding torch
- Avoiding touching the welding torch
- Preventing water from getting onto the torch by keeping it dry
- Using a splatter guard
- Using a welding shield
- Using an arc shield
How to Protect Your Equipment While Welding in the Rain?
To protect your welding equipment while welding in the rain, you’ll want to ensure that the equipment is protected from the rain. This means using an umbrella shield to cover your welding torch, a rain shield to cover your gas bottle, and any other means of protecting your equipment from the rain.
In addition to protecting your equipment, welding in the rain also means that you’ll want to protect your weld joint. Weld joints are susceptible to damage when they’re exposed to the elements.
To ensure your weld joint is protected from the rain, you must first ensure to cover it. This means using an umbrella or tarp to cover your weld joint from the rain.
(See more opinions on the American Welding Society Forum).
Welding Defects May Occur as a Result of Welding in the Rain
If you’re welding in the rain, you may encounter welding defects. Welding defects occur when the weld is not fused to the base material, as well as any root openings created in the weld. Welding defects can be a severe problem when welding in the rain.
Your weld openings may produce larger and more visible roots. Furthermore, the weld joint itself may also get damaged. This is particularly likely if your welding joint is exposed to the elements.
Other defects that may occur are:
1) Incomplete Fusion
An incomplete fusion describes a welding process that hasn’t finished. Two problems may occur from an incomplete fusion:
a) Interpass cold pass: This occurs when the filter metal cannot fuse adequately to the layer of weld metal that has previously been deposited.
b) Lack of sidewall fusion: This is when the weld metal doesn’t adequately fuse to the joint face . Such metal lacks weldability.
2) Increased Porosity (Gas Bubbles)
Gas bubbles are permanent within a welded seam and can’t be eliminated once the weld pool has cooled down. When gases enter the weld pool, gas bubbles are created.
3) Increased Spatter
Spatter occurs when weld metals splatter out of the molten weld pool and cool and solidify along the weld bead’s sides.
It is possible that the vigorous cleaning efforts to remove the spatter will compromise the integrity of your workpiece.
Tips for Welding in the Rain
When welding in the rain, you’ll want to keep the following tips in mind to stay safe and successful:
- Make sure you follow all safety guidelines and safety rules when welding in the rain (see AWS SWPS)
- Make sure your welding equipment and fuel are protected from the rain
- Make sure you don’t touch your torch during your welding session
- Make sure you don’t get too close to your weld joint
- Make sure you shield your weld joint from the rain
Although it is possible to do so, welding in the rain poses some dangers for you and your equipment.
To stay safe, you’ll want to make sure that your welding equipment and fuel are protected from the rain, that you don’t touch your torch, and that you shield your weld joint from the rain.
These precautions can help ensure that your welding session goes as planned, no matter what the weather conditions are like.