Proper placement of your generator is more than just throwing your equipment down in your yard and calling it good. Many factors can affect your safety, health, and wellbeing.

To start, the strategic placement of your generator requires close attention to regulations and requirements from:

There are also considerations to ensure you’re not inhaling the dangerous fumes generators put off.

Below we navigate the most important considerations when placing your generator and where to turn to for help if you’re unsure how to place your generator correctly.

Regulations and Requirements for Your Generator Placement

NFPA Codes

NFPA 37 is a highly detailed mandate for the installation of generators at your home. View the document below to understand the full scope of distant requirements:

Utility Codes

The gas and electric company in your area will have specific clearance requirements for standby generators. For example, in particular counties of Connecticut, new installations must adhere to the following rules:

Local Codes

Every city and county will have different building codes and inspection requirements for the placement of your generator. But, across the board, you can expect to see governance on nuances like if your generator needs to sit on a concrete pad or not.

Even with extensive research on local codes in your area, finding reliable information can be a trick. To ensure you’re compliant, work with a professional who knows how to work with local building departments, and understands local building codes.

Manufacturer Requirements

In addition to local or federal ordinances, there are standard regulations homeowners should follow. For example, most manufacturers will state that your generator should always be located outside and placed at least five feet from doors, windows, and vents, and flammable material.

If the distance requirements differ between your manufacturer and local guidelines, go with the greater measurement as a safety precaution.

Other Considerations for the Placement of Your Generator

Beyond mandated considerations, the strategic placement of your generator can help reduce installation costs, optimize your generator’s efficiency, and protect your health.

Fuel Source

Odds are, you will need a professional to come in and create a power source for your standby generator. The location you select for your generator may have an impact on your overall installation costs.

If you can, install your generator near your gas meter so that you don’t need as much piping to fuel your generator. Not only will this improve the consistency of the fuel supply to your generator, but it will also reduce the material and labor required to install your generator.

Weather

Protecting your generator from the elements is one way to extend its lifetime, but will also play a role in how well you standby generator functions. For example, if you’re trying to use your generator in the thick of a snowstorm, but snowdrifts obstruct your generator, you may experience low performance. Other obstructions, like vegetation in your yard, can also impact the performance of your generator.

Finally, mind the fumes. If you live in a particularly windy area, strong gusts of wind can bring exhaust and fumes into our home. Protect your air quality by positioning your generator in a location that blows away from your home. Remember, generator exhaust contains carbon monoxide. So, placing your generator in an area that makes you vulnerable to its fumes can be more than a nuisance, it can be a health issue.

On the same note, it’s also important not to place your generator under casing like an awning, which can trap exhaust and create a buildup of fumes and exhaust.

Noise

Standby generators are typically noisy. By placing one near your bedroom, living room, or your neighbor’s house could become bothersome to your family and neighbors. Try placing your generator in an isolated location to reduce noise pollution.

Preparing the Site for Your Generator

After you’ve selected the best location for your generator, you’ll need to determine if you need construction and grounding to secure the machine.

In most cases, small, air-cooled generators will come with the necessary attachments to quickly and easily place your generator as a DIY project.

For larger, liquid-cooled machines, you’ll need to pour a concrete pad. If you know how to pour concrete, you can do this on your own. If not, it’s best to call in the pros to ensure you get the job done correctly the first time.

Here is a great video to watch if you need help preparing the foundation for your standby generator.

Risks of Improper Planning

Proper planning for the location of your generator helps you stay compliant with federal, state and local ordinances.

But, most importantly, it helps you keep your home and your family safe and comfortable. Because there are a number of hazards associated with a generator, double and triple check the placement of your generator, so you have a firm grasp on safety.

generators new haven, ctJust like any appliance in your home, maintaining your generator helps prevent it from breaking down or needing untimely repairs. The more attention you give your generator, the longer it will last, and the better it will function. In fact, did you know that a properly maintained generator lasts twice as long as one without annual routine maintenance?

To maintain a high level of efficiency, consider these six tips for maintaining your generator.

6 Tips for Maintaining a Generator

1. Change the Oil

One of the most important ways to maintain your generator is to change its oil regularly. How often you need to change the oil will depend on several variables, including:

Industry experts recommend changing the oil every 50 to 200 hours of operation based on the above factors. For instance, newer, state-of-the-art models may require fewer oil changes because they burn cleaner than older models. But, if your generator operates in an environment with a lot of dust or contaminants that can mix with your oil, you may need to increase the number of times you change the oil.

Need to know how to change the oil in your generator? Watch this video to see the process:

Additionally, if your generator is brand new, it’s common for manufacturers to recommend an oil change after the first eight hours of use. By changing the oil immediately, you can ensure your generator is free from contaminants that may have gotten into your system during manufacturing or shipping.

2. Keep it Clean

A generator works from the rotor and stator, two parts located inside your generator, working together to create electricity.  When in operation, it’s typical for rotors and stators to collect dust, debris, and other contaminants.

If you allow your generator to build up too much grime, your rotor and stator can won’t generate energy as efficiently as possible. It’s also likely you’ll burn the two parts out faster than average.

To eliminate debris, you must clean the air filters in your generator. And, regardless of how often you use your generator, it’s recommended to check the air filter for dust weekly.

If you live in a particularly dusty area increase the number of times you check your generator. These precautions will ensure you’re generator is ready to use when you need it most.

3. Start it Up

Most times, generators are a backup precaution, which means you could go months or years without needing to fire it up. But, what happens when you need your generator, and it doesn’t work?

Don’t let yourself get in this situation. Instead, every month, start your generator up to:

But most importantly, to make sure that the generator works and that you have access to power when you need it most.

4. Test it Out

The National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA) has created a set of standards homeowners can follow when it comes to testing their generators.  For non-critical generators, like those that homeowners use for a charge during an occasional power outage, should follow NFPA 70.

NFPA 70 states that generators should be tested at 30% to 50% of their maximum load, for 30-minutes at least once per month.

5. Don’t Use Old Gas

Most homeowners may not realize they should empty the fuel from their generator’s tank after each use. Cleaning out the tank ensures that you’re running clean, efficient fuel, and also protects your equipment from erosion and damage.

Need to know how to drain gas from your generator? Watch this YouTube video demonstrating the process:

Instead of relying on old fuel, purchase a generator that’s easy to fill on-demand. For example, generators that run on propane can utilize home-delivered services, so that in the event of an emergency, you have access to resources, without having to scour for fuel.

6. Store it Safely

To extend the life of your portable generator, you’ll need to take a few precautions after each use. In addition to emptying the fuel tank, double-check that the fuel lines are also empty. Store your equipment in a cool, dry place to decrease rusting, and extend its life.

For additional protection, homeowners can consider purchasing accessories like:

Each of these tools helps store and protect your portable generator so that you can ward off untimely repairs.

Generator Maintenance: Do it Yourself or Hire a Pro?

In most cases, generator maintenance can be done on your own, as long as you follow the checklist:

However, generators should also go through routine, yearly maintenance to ensure they operate smoothly over the long haul. For an annual checkup, it’s wise to call in professional technicians that perform a 17-point tune-up on portable generators.

During an annual checkup, licensed professionals can take a more technical look at your equipment. For example, a pro can:

These items require specialized tools and skills to accurately assess. By bringing in an expert, you can rest easy knowing that your generator is ready to rock when you need it most.

generator use cost connecticut

(Photo/Unsplash)

Natural disasters and emergencies can strike at any time  during any season. To protect yourself from a sudden loss of power, having a generator on hand is essential.  But to keep your home up and running, you’ll need to pay special attention to the fuel that powers your generator.

In this article, we’ll go over the types of generators available on the market, how powerful your generator should be, and how much fuel you can expect to use.

Types of Generators

The most common types of generators for homeowners are:

What kind of gas does a generator use?

With the exception of the inverter generator, which uses an engine and an alternator to create AC power, most generators run off these four fuels:

You might also consider bi-fuel or tri-fuel generators that run on gasoline or liquid propane (or natural gas for a tri-fuel.)

What appliances will you power? 

The exact amount of fuel you’ll use with vary based on the number of appliances you have connected to your generator. To start customizing your calculations, learn how much energy each of your home appliances requires.

Analyze the chart below to get a baseline for the size of the generator you’ll need, which will help us solve the amount of fuel you’ll need. 

Appliance

Watt

AC central

3500

Coffee maker (2 cups)

600

Microwave

1800

Electric Range (medium size)

1800

Freezer

65

Refrigerator (large)

780

Living Room Lights

60

Television (new technology)

80

Gas Washer

850

Gas Dryer

3400

Garage Door

1000

By adding the watts of the appliances you’ll most often use, you’ll have a better understanding of what size generator you need.

Cheat Sheet: The average homeowner will most likely use a generator between 3,000 and 6,500 watts to effectively run their home appliances, which is a 3-6.5 kilowatt generator. 

How much does it cost to run a generator? 

The next step to learning how much gas your generator will use is to assess how each type of generator burns fuel at different rates.

Here is a rough estimate of how much it will cost to fuel a generator, by varied fuel types:

Gasoline generator

Diesel generator 

Propane generator

Natural gas generator

How to Keep Costs Down 

Regardless of the type of fuel you use for your generator, there are several ways you can cut your fuel costs: