Installation requirements for standby generators

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Installation requirements for standby generators
Learn the installation requirements for standby generators. (light image by timur1970 from

Installing a home standby generator is an excellent way to ensure that you always have the electrical power you need to power your home in case of a weather emergency, power outage or terrorist attack. There are a number of types of standby generators which you may choose to install, and there are a number of specific requirements for installing a home standby generator that must be considered before you begin work. Keep in mind that with any electrical work, you may be required to have permits or other legal documents from your local area before installing a standby generator.


One requirement of a standby generator installation is selecting the proper location for the standby generator. Most whole-house standby generators are fairly large and heavy. They must be installed on a flat, level surface which is set up to allow water to drain away from the base of the generator to prevent rust or corrosion. You will want to locate your generator pad near the fuel source for the generator, whether it is propane, natural gas, or some other fuel, so that plumbing it in will not be a chore.


Another important consideration when installing a standby generator is to make sure that the generator's exhaust is as far away from areas of potential ingress into the living space as possible. All fossil fuels create carbon monoxide when they are burnt, and you do not want this poisonous gas entering your home through a loosefitting window or furnace intake pipe while the generator is running. Check your local codes to see how far the exhaust must be located away from windows and other potential areas where gases could enter the home.

Transfer Switch

You will also have to install a transfer switch between your home electrical circuitry and the generator. This will prevent backfeeding, which occurs when the generator's power bleeds off into the power lines, and which can be dangerous to power company employees attempting to restore power. This will also allow you to disconnect power to the generator when it is not in use so that your home's electrical system is not receiving double-power from the generator and the electric wiring from the street when the power is restored.

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