Whole House Generator Installation Guide

Whole House Generator Installation Guide

What to Expect When Installing a Standby Generator

Jared, the Generator Expert
Generator Expert

You may have witnessed or experienced power outages from storms, failing electrical systems, or even scheduled utility blackouts and decided that it’s time to buy a home standby generator to backup your home and family.

Before you take out your tool belt and cargo pants, though, understand that installing a standby generator isn’t a weekend DIY project. It could take weeks or months from the time you order the generator, to the moment it’s installed.

We’ll walk you through everything you need to know before installing a home standby generator so you’re not caught off guard. If you’re still not sure which generator is right for your home, check out our complete standby generator buyer’s guide.

Installing a Generator

Ordering Your Standby Generator

It’s no surprise that the world has experience manufacturing and shipping challenges since the pandemic. Sometimes it’s better, sometimes it’s worse, but it’s definitely not normal.

You may find a standby generator that’s in-stock today. At the same time, the one you need may have a lead time of days, weeks, or even months. You need to be flexible and realistic in planning your installation. If you absolutely need it by a certain time, start shopping now. Our generator experts are standing by (pun intended) to help you learn our offers and find the best one.

Compare Installation Quotes

When you order your standby generator from us, you’ll have a couple different options for installation. We always recommend comparing 3-5 installation quotes to find the best price, which is why we have a preferred installer network. When you order, you can include a request to have 1-5 installers in our network contact you with an installation quote.

Transfer Switch

In select markets, we also offer our own professional standby generator installation for one convenient price that takes care of every step in the process. This is the best solution for busy people who don’t have time to shop around.

Finally, perhaps you already know or have an installer of your own that you trust. Just make sure they are professionally trained so you can easily get a permit, register your warranty, and have total confidence in the job.

Obtain Permits

Just like you can’t just put up any fence you want, most municipalities will require you to obtain a permit before you can install a standby generator. Specifically, electrical permits are almost always required because most of the work is electrical.

Your professional installer will take care of obtaining the permit. Usually, the permit application has a fee that will simply become part of your total installation cost. Depending on your municipality, it may take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks to get the permit, so be patient.

Select Your Installation Location

When it comes to locating your home standby generator, safety comes first.

Install your generator in a safe location that won't pose a carbon monoxide threat to your family or neighbors. That means never inside and at least five feet from any windows, doorways, or soffit vents (check your local code for exact requirements). Also, never install a generator beneath an overhang, in a breezeway, or in an area that collects snow drifts.

Ideally, installation should be done near the electric and gas meter. This way, your gas piping doesn't have to run as far, reducing friction in the pipes and providing a more consistent fuel supply to the generator. Installing closer to the utilities can also help to cut down the cost of materials and installation.

The local building code authority will have the final say on where and how your generator is installed, so consult your installer to find out what the requirements are before selecting a location.

Prepare the Surface for Your Generator

Once you've decided on a safe and suitable location for your standby generator, use some spray paint to mark where it will be installed. You can find the exact dimensions for your standby generator in your owner's manual.

Small air-cooled standby generators are equipped with a composite base on the bottom, so pouring a concrete pad is not required. At a minimum, the surface should be flattened before being raised by at least four bags of level pea gravel. If you want to raise your generator another level, we recommend placing a GenPad between the pea gravel and your generator to keep it level and secure.

Receive the Generator Delivery

Getting a thousand-pound generator off the back of a semi isn't easy. Be sure to order lift gate service, so the truck driver can safely lower it to the ground.

Inspect the package, before signing, to ensure it wasn't damaged during delivery. When your installers arrive, they'll use straps to pivot the generator onto the pad.

Have Your Professional Install the Generator

Once you've chosen an installer, acquired permits, picked out a location, prepped the surface, and received your delivery, you'll be all set for installation.

Again, Electric Generators Direct now offers professional standby generator installation in select U.S. markets, taking the burden of finding a qualified installer off your shoulders and guaranteeing a job well done.

Stay Backed Up

The entire length of a home standby generator installation process can take weeks or months depending on generator availability, installer schedules, and the permitting process in your municipality.

The important thing is to plan ahead and know what to expect. When it's all over, you'll have safe, reliable backup power for years to come.

 NEXT: Check Out the Best Whole House Generators

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Jared, the Generator Expert
Generator Expert
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