Choosing and Preparing a Location

March 13, 2021

After Planning your project, you are ready to choose and prepare the location for the installation. If you haven’t already done so, make sure to checkout our Buyer’s Guide for extensive detail on having a generator installed.

Before your generator arrives

Another important step in completing installation is preparation for the delivery of your new generator. Since most generators weigh over 400 pounds, it is important to do some pre- planning to ensure that there are no obstructions that would prevent the setting of the generator in place when it arrives at your home. The size, weight, and complexity of connecting a generator requires that you and your specialist determine where to locate the unit well before the delivery date. 

Just like your central air conditioning unit, the standby backup power generator is permanently installed outside by a professional. It has a weatherproof covering, and, when there is a power outage, turns on automatically.  This seamless operation allows you to kick back and do nothing while the power flows.  But it does require some upfront planning before it is installed so that its placement meets the regulations and requirements for:

  • electrical connection
  • gas connection
  • local permitting and code authorities
  • manufacturer’s installation specifications to ensure warranty protection 


When considering the location for your generator, you will want to find a stable areathat is well-drained and does not flood. You’ll also want to consider noise – place your generator in a location that reduces noise both inside your home and for your neighbors. Also, keep in mind that generators produce exhaust gases like carbon monoxide – another reason why proper location is so important.  And the closer the generator site is to the electric meter and the natural gas supply line, the more you’ll save on installation. 

Certain specifications for installation include:

  • A generator can be no closer than 36” to any utility meters, air conditioning units, combustibles or anything serviceable.
  • Generators cannot be closer than 18” from the house and at least 60” away from doors, windows, and fresh air intakes. Allowing 36” in front of the generator provides enough access for a technician to perform any future checkups or maintenance.
  • A good rule of thumb is to plan for a 10’ x 10’ space. This will provide room not only for the generator but also for the required clearances to meet local codes and manufacturer requirements.

A level surface

If your contractor is installing your generator on a pre-cast reinforced Gen-pad or a poured-in-place concrete pad, the surface needs to be level.  You may want to level the surface yourself or have someone else do the work before the generator arrives. In some cases, a specially designed platform will be installed to assure that the generator will be above the floodplain on low-lying coastal areas or steeply inclined grades.

The landscaping in the adjacent area needs to be cleared of plants or any objects that might otherwise cause an obstruction or get in the way of the workers and their specialized equipment that will be used to transfer the generator from the truck to the installation site.

The temporary or permanent relocation of ornamental objects, sculptures and even plants should be anticipated well in advance of the delivery date.  

Your specialist will help you navigate through all aspects of the pre-planning phase so that you are ready for the arrival of your new generator and it can be installed safely, securely, and on schedule.  

Now that you have a location, it is time to start Coordinating Gas and Electric Utilities.

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