Installing a standby generator isn't as simple as plugging in a toaster. Most electricity-fearing homeowners either bribe a buddy or hire a Preferred Installer to do their handy work.
If you lack the tools or talent or both, here are several things to consider before starting the installation process:
A standby generator installation will cost somewhere between a friendly favor and a few thousand dollars, depending on who you know.
You can usually get a good price by comparing 3-5 quotes. Sometimes, however, it can be worth paying a little extra to hire an installer who will meet your expectations.
We get a lot of questions about whether or not you need a permit. We can say with 100% certainty that the definitive answer is... Maybe.
Your best bet is to contact your local municipality to determine if you need a permit. If you hire an installer, they will secure the permit for you. Remember to allow a few days to a week for the paperwork to pass through the bureaucracy at City Hall.
When it comes to where to install a generator, safety comes first. Install your generator in a safe location that won't pose a carbon monoxide threat to your family or neighbors. You should also obey local ordinances, which your installer can help explain.
Lastly, cost and efficiency are quite important. Installing close to your gas meter will increase fuel efficiency and may reduce installation cost.
Small air-cooled standby generators are equipped with a composite base on the bottom, so you are not required to pour a concrete pad.
At a minimum, the surface should be flattened before being raised by at least 4 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.
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.
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.
There is a lot involved in the installation of a standby generator, and the job requires tools and know-how that most homeowners do not possess. Having the installer there to do the job certainly helps put your mind at ease, but it's also nice to know what to expect.