Generator owners continue to find a variety of tasteful ways to safely and seamlessly integrate automatic standby generators into the landscapes of their respective homes. Whether you’re planning to invest in a home standby power system or already own one and want to spruce up the appearance of the unit’s installation site, these helpful tips will help to ensure your personal setup is safely configured and aesthetically pleasing.
1. Know Your Local Codes and Clearance Requirements
To prevent operational issues, promote safety and ensure all backup power systems are properly installed, all home standby generators must be placed certain distances from particular objects and barriers. Similar to National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) code 37 — the standard for stationary engine safety — Generac recommends ensuring your outdoor installations and surrounding landscape meet the following clearance requirements:
Provide at least five feet of clearance between the generator and wall openings
When running, automatic standby generators emit carbon monoxide, which can be deadly when it accumulates in an enclosed area. To mitigate the potential threat of carbon monoxide buildup within your home, be sure to provide ample space between the generator and any of your home’s wall openings. This includes windows, doors and vents.
Keep the unit at least three feet from any noncombustible surface
While the back of the generator can sit as close as 18 in. from your home, surfaces closer than three feet from the front and sides of the generator can impede air flow and cause the unit to overheat. Keep these three sides as well as the top of the generator at least three feet from any wall, standing structure or large object, such as lawn furniture, to ensure the generator is able to optimally perform and stay cool at all times.
While these guidelines constitute prudent recommendations, they are always superseded by national, state or local building or electrical codes. Make sure your generator’s installation is approved by discussing your desired configuration with an independent authorized dealer
and/or local inspector in your area.
2. Landscaping Options
As long as your installation site meets the aforementioned clearance requirements or local codes that apply to your area, a multitude of landscaping options can help you tailor your personal configuration to match the look and feel of your home and surrounding scenery:
Close to the Home
The back of a Generac air-cooled home standby generator can be installed as close as 18 in. from your home if local codes allow. Keeping the generator tucked up tight to your home allows you to easily incorporate the unit into your landscape by surrounding it with plants, flowers, decorations and/or lawn furniture. When placed at a safe distance approved by your local codes and Generac recommendations, these items will not interfere with the generator’s performance and will help enhance the visual integrity of your home.
Away from the Home
Some homeowners choose to create an isolated area for the generator in their yard. Generators should be placed on a concrete slab or bed of pea gravel. Once set, the generator’s base can be surrounded by a bevy of lawn and garden maintstays, such as mulch, woodchips, rock displays or floral arrangements. As always, be sure to provide ample clearance between the generator and any surrounding barriers or vegetation.
3. Beware of Flood Zones
Keeping the generator away from flood zones is paramount, as standing water and electrical equipment don’t mix. If your home sits in a flood zone, rest assured knowing many local codes permit raised installations on approved surfaces — simply check with your local dealer to ensure the configuration complies with your local ordinances.
With dependable power solutions, flexible installation options and the support of a nationwide dealer network, Generac provides homeowners with the support and expertise they need to maintain peace of mind and satisfaction with their purchased products. Contact us directly at 888-GENERAC (436-3722) if you have any questions regarding your personal installation or applicable dealer options in your local area.