Home Generator Installation Requirements

If you’re looking to install a home generator, there are several things you need to consider. These include location, electrical connections, and permits.

First, the location needs to be safe and free of any obstructions. You’ll want to keep the generator away from windows, doors, and soffit vents (check your local code for the minimum requirements).


There are many things to consider when deciding on the best location for your home generator. Ultimately, the spot needs to be safe for you and your family.

It should also be accessible from all sides so that you can service the unit without difficulty. It should also be placed in a location that will allow for fresh air flow.

In addition, the placement of your generator must meet certain standards based on manufacturer guidelines and local ordinances. It is essential to work with a professional who understands these regulations and can ensure compliance.

Most manufacturers recommend that generators be located outside and placed at least five feet from doors, windows, vents and flammable material. However, each jurisdiction has its own distance rule.

Electrical Connections

In order to supply your home with emergency power in the event of a power outage, you need to connect your generator to your home’s main panel and breaker panel. Luckily, the process is relatively easy with a little bit of knowledge and experience.

Using a manual changeover switch, you can connect your generator to both your 120V and 240V load circuits. This works well when you want to feed power to specific load points like your kitchen, bedroom or bathroom.

The main drawback is that you won’t be able to use any electronic devices that don’t have a standard plug. This means that you will have to use outdoor-rated extension cords for all of your appliances, and you’ll probably have to do so with multiple cords.

There are also interlock kits that can be installed in your main panel to keep the main and generator breakers from operating at the same time. These kits are relatively inexpensive and can save you a lot of money in the long run by keeping your home and appliances safe in the event of a power outage.

HOA Restrictions/Building Permits

Depending on where you live, you may need to obtain a building permit before you can install your home generator. The HOA may also need to be informed before you begin the installation process.

Many HOA communities have reasonable guidelines for adding on utility structures like generators and HVAC compressors. These guidelines typically include the installation of a visual barrier (screen, fence, shrubbery) to hide the generator from view.

Your association should be clear within their governing documents as to whether standby emergency generators are permitted, where they can be located, and how they can be operated.

Next, you will need to submit several engineering drawings to the city planning and building departments showing property lines, setbacks from combustible walls and doors, clearance around the unit, fueling exhaust systems, and electrical single line diagrams for the generator and transfer switch. You will also need a letter from your HOA stating that they agree with the proposed installation and are aware of any restrictions.


While generators can provide peace of mind during power outages, they can also be a dangerous appliance if they aren’t used properly. These devices emit deadly levels of carbon monoxide, which can kill you in as little as 5 minutes if the levels are high enough to trigger symptoms.

To avoid this, make sure your generator is always positioned outdoors in a fully open area. It should never be operated inside your home or in areas that are attached to the structure.

Using your generator in an enclosed space or running it inside the house can cause carbon monoxide poisoning. Install battery-powered carbon monoxide detectors throughout your home or business to protect you and others from this danger.

If you need to connect your generator to a home’s electrical system, use a transfer switch. This ensures that the generator doesn’t backfeed electricity into PG&E’s power lines. This can damage the line or injure an unwary utility worker, and it could even cause a fire in the home or an explosion in the generator itself.