Where you place your standby generator determines how safe and efficient the generator is. Below are some of the factors that determine the best location for a generator.
Existing Service Panel
You should place the generator relatively close to the existing electrical service panel. Take the generator too far from the panel and you will spend a lot of resources (think cables and labor) to send power from the generator to the panel. Don't forget that the longer the electrical cable, the higher the power losses. The risk of a mishap also increases with the generator’s distance.
Other Utility Equipment
Many utility companies specify how close their equipment should be from other utility equipment. For example, an HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) company may specify how far you should locate the generator from the HVAC's outside unit. Listen to these recommendations because they are created for your own safety as well as the efficiency of the equipment.
In addition to the above two considerations, you should also consider traffic density around the location you are targeting for the generator installation. The generator should not be located somewhere with a high foot, animal, or vehicle traffic. You increase the risk of an accident, which may cause injuries or damages if you install the generator in a high-traffic area.
General Wind Direction
Consider the general wind direction in your home’s environment before you install the generator. Once you know how the wind usually blows, install the generator so that the wind will blow the generator’s exhaust fumes away from the house instead of towards the house. That way, the wind won't blow dangerous fumes into your house.
Another safety measure is to place the generator away from the openings in your house. Don't place the generator close to the doorways, windows, soffit vents, or any other openings in the house. Otherwise, a draft might blow the generator's fumes inside the house, which will affect your indoor air quality.
A standby generator runs a combustion engine, and a combustion engine needs air to run. Therefore, you should place the generator somewhere with adequate air circulation to provide it with the combustion air. Otherwise, you will starve the generator of the air and its efficiency will suffer. For example, don't let an overhang or vegetation starve your generator of air.
Most modern generators are fairly quiet so you don't have to worry too much about the issue of noise. Still, the level of noise your generator may create depends on various factors, such as the generator's age, size, and make. If you have a relatively loud generator, place it somewhere it won't disturb the neighbors or your household members.
For example, if you have a noisy generator and you are a light sleeper, don’t install the generator right outside your bedroom wall. Such an arrangement can leave you exhausted every day from lack of adequate sleep.
Rules and Regulations
Lastly, you also need to mind any rules and regulations that govern generator placement or electrical wiring in your area. Such rules and regulations typically include the National Electrical Code (NEC), local building codes, and homeowner's association rules, among others. Otherwise, the relevant authorities may force you to relocate your generator after installation.
You need a professional's input when you create a plan to install a generator or if you have installed one on your own. At In Phaze Electric Inc., we understand all about standby generators and their placement for creating maximum safety and efficiency. Give us a call so that we can help you choose and install a standby generator for your house.