A home generator is a great investment, but it should be placed correctly for the best results. The right position will save you money in the long run, and ensure your home and equipment stay safe during an outage.
A generator needs to be installed at least five feet away from windows, doors and air intakes. It should also be positioned at least 18 inches from the closest wall.
Locations to Avoid
When choosing a home generator location, be sure to consider the requirements of your local building code and manufacturer specifications. In general, a generator should be no closer than 18 inches from the home and not more than 60 feet away from windows, doors and fresh air intakes. This distance is important to ensure a smooth and efficient operation.
The best location for a generator is where prevailing winds can blow the exhaust away from your home. This will minimize a host of problems, including carbon monoxide emissions and overheating.
A well-chosen generator location will also save you money on installation costs. It should be situated close to the electric meter and natural gas meter, allowing for easy access. It should also be located in a stable and well-drained area that is not prone to flooding. Lastly, it’s worth asking the installer about the most efficient way to connect your home’s main electrical panel to the back of your generator.
Whether you have a standby generator or an electric or gas backup unit, you need to meet local code and safety requirements for proper placement. Clearances vary by jurisdiction, but generally include a minimum of 18 inches from flammable materials or a detached structure such as a shed, garage, fence, etc.
This will help keep carbon monoxide exhaust away from windows, doors, vents and soffit areas (check your local code for exact clearances). It also keeps your gas and electric meter from contacting the generator, a potential fire hazard.
The generator should also be located far enough from your house so that prevailing winds don’t blow the exhaust inside your home through open windows or doorways. This will limit the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning to your family or your neighbors.
The final step is to consult with your local building code authority. They have the final say on your installation and can resolve any conflicts between local ordinances and your manufacturer’s installation instructions.
If you live in an area where noise restrictions apply to home generators, it is your responsibility to make sure that your generator doesn’t violate the law. If it does, you could get a cease and desist order or a fine.
In some areas, second offenses can be as high as $1,000 “per day.” It’s also a good idea to take the necessary steps to soundproof your generator and make sure that it doesn’t exceed the noise limit.
A generator’s sound level will vary depending on several factors, including its type, size, fuel source, and exhaust direction. It may also be subject to local codes that require it to operate at a low decibel level so as not to disturb neighbors.
The most effective way to reduce the noise from a generator is to construct an enclosure using soundproofing acoustic blankets. These soundproofing blankets will significantly lower the noise from a generator by 12 to 15 decibels depending on what materials are used.
When home generator location requirements are met, the next step is to ensure that your generator is installed correctly. This is important because it will affect the safety of you and your family.
Always check with your local building code authority to make sure that you meet all applicable installation requirements. They have the final say on generator installation, including what kind of clearance you must have around the machine.
NFPA recommends that all generators be installed where the prevailing wind will blow away exhaust, as this can help prevent fumes from entering your home. This is particularly true if you live in an area that experiences strong winds.
Also, never backfeed a generator into the electrical system of your home or other structure. This is a dangerous practice that can energize the wiring systems for great distances, presenting an electrocution risk to you, utility workers and other people.