Choosing a location for your new home standby generator is usually straightforward, but there are factors you must consider. Good locations for your generator placement are one that allows it to operate efficiently and safely without endangering the lives of people living in the house. Always install standby generators outdoors on stable ground that does not flood. The exhaust gases produced by a generator contain deadly carbon monoxide and that is yet another consideration for location.
Minimize costs by placing the home backup generator as close to the existing electrical service entrance as possible without getting too close. Gas and electric utility companies require specific clearances between their equipment and the equipment belonging to other companies or the homeowner.
Some general guidelines include placing your standby generator where prevailing winds will blow the exhaust away from the home. Keep the generator away from bedrooms, living areas, and where the noise won’t bother your neighbors. All locations must be at least five feet away from openings such as windows, soffit vents, and doorways.
Never locate the generator under an overhang, in a breezeway, or in recesses blocked by trees, shrubs or other vegetation. Also avoid areas subject to snow drifts and protect the generator from pets, animals, people, and traffic.
Never locate the generator anyplace that might allow exhaust gases to accumulate, under a roof of any kind, or inside any kind of building.
Some localities require a concrete pad for the generator to sit on. Others allow generators to sit directly on a bed of gravel or pea gravel.
A bed made from compacted sand with pea gravel on top makes a good pad. Remove the sod and dirt to make a rectangular shaped hole as large as required and six inches deep. Add a three-inch layer of damp sand and compact it. Make a 2-by-4 frame from cedar or pressure treated lumber to help enclose the gravel and keep it on the pad. Level the frame with a spirit level and fill it with pea gravel. Now you’re ready!
Even when local codes require a concrete pad, it is still a good idea to build a base of compacted sand and set a frame on top of it. Level the frame and fill it with concrete. Also once it hardens and cures, it’s ready for the generator.