Last Update: March 3, 2023
How to Install a Whole House Generator

How to Install a Whole House Generator (Easily)

A whole-house generator can be a great way to manage power outages. If properly sized, a whole-house generator can power your entire home (including heavy appliances) with no fluctuations. 

The standby generator is often referred to as a whole-house generator. On the other hand, portable generators are smaller in size and have a lower production capacity than standby generators. Those with a lower power requirement can be used as whole-house units.  If you install whole-house generator property you can protect generator from thieves

The next step after you have chosen the generator is its installation. Here I will be discussing the best way to install the generator in your home and the things to keep in your mind when installing it.

 Let's take a look at what you should consider before purchasing a generator. These are essential to ensure that the generator works appropriately and is installed correctly.

Pre-Installation Tips

Generator Capacity

Before buying a generator, the most critical factor is its capacity. You will need to list the appliances that you plan to use with your generator to size it correctly. All fixtures, machines, and appliances are included in the power calculation when you purchase a whole-house generator. 

You'll have an exact figure after calculating the running and starting wattages for all devices. This will give you information about your power requirements.

Fuel Type

The fuel type is another important consideration. Most whole-house generators are powered by diesel, natural gas, or propane. There are very few whole house generators that run on gasoline. It is crucial to choose the fuel type that suits your needs.

Generator Fuel Consumption

Legal Matters

Check that the local laws and your homeowner's association approve the project. It is essential to get a permit from the building department before purchasing any generators or other equipment. Do not proceed until the building inspector has verified that the generator (brand name and model) passes inspection.

How to Install the Whole House Generator
(Right Way)

It is not an easy DIY job to install a standby generator at home. This requires extensive electrical knowledge. You will need to manage natural gas plumbing, make propane connections, set up transfer switches, and install other equipment. These things can lead to unfortunate events. It is possible to get electrocuted and damage expensive generators.

How to choose the installation site

When choosing a site for installation, the most important thing is to adhere to the manufacturer's recommendations and local laws. Installing a standby generator requires that you follow specific guidelines. These are the instructions.

 Outdoor standby generators are required. They can produce carbon monoxide, which is dangerous to your health.

You should keep a safe distance between you and your neighbors of at least 20-30 feet. The din level of a standby generator is between 60 and 85 dBA. This should be considered when choosing the installation location.

The generator should be located at least 5-6ft from any windows, doors, or roofs.

It should be at least 3-4 feet from any other obstructions like walls, trash bins, garage walls, and garage walls. This is necessary to allow heat emission and ventilation.

Concrete or gravel are good options for a generator pad. Your generator should always be covered.

Place your generator near natural gas supplies or propane tanks to reduce installation costs. You should also take into consideration the above points.

DIY Installation vs. Contractor vs. DIY Installation

You will need to have a lot of knowledge and experience with electrical connections, plumbing, and generator management in order to DIY standby generator installations. Advanced tools are also required. Most homeowners aren't equipped to do the job. Many states prohibit the DIY installation of standby generators.

 The states license contractors to install generators. They are provisioned with all the necessary machinery, experience, and knowledge to install the generator. They can help you obtain permits and handle inspection visits. It would help if you chose a well-respected contractor that is state-approved to ensure the inspection team does not reject your project.

DIY Installation vs. Contractor vs. DIY Installation

Selection of the Contractor

Once you have made a decision to hire a contractor to do the installation, you need to find the right contractor. When choosing a contractor, be sure to follow the following guidelines.

 Verify the permit/license and verify that the contractor is familiar with the codes applicable to generator installation.

Make sure you only hire certified plumbers and electricians for making gas and electrical connections. The safety of your home is dependent on it.

Get price estimates from at least three contractors

Ask for references and work history for any completed projects. You can also read genuine user reviews on Facebook and Google.

Be sure to settle with a licensed, insured, and bonded company.

Do not agree to upfront payments. Pay in stages and make small milestones.

You can bargain with your contractors, but you shouldn't settle for lower-quality items.


Ask for an itemized bill to get a better idea of the cost and quality of the equipment and materials used by the contractor.

Don't forget about worker insurance and worker compensation if the contractor employs workers on your property. You can sue a worker who is injured while working on your property. This proof is not required if the contractor is working on his own.

Request a written waiver of lien. This will protect you against a lien being placed on your house after the work has been completed. Well-respected and professional contractors will provide this.

Ask for a guarantee on the equipment and materials purchased by contractors. Ask for a guarantee statement detailing how the warranty will be honored and what any costs will be incurred. Contractors who are good at providing confirmations don't hesitate to offer them.

How to deal with inspectors

The inspection team is an essential aspect of standby generator installation. Inspectors are generally not well-respected and don't work with the public.

They are not supposed to cooperate with you and allow mistakes in the installation. An insignificant error or oversight could lead to a major mishap in the future.

 It is best to include the inspectors in the project. There are no mistakes. Before purchasing a generator, you should consult with the inspectors. Ask them about the model and brand of your generator and if it is permitted to be installed. CARB certification is required for generators to be allowed to operate in California.

After they have approved the unit, invite them for a visit to discuss the installation location, materials, and any other details. There will be no rejection if everything goes according to plan.

How to Install a Whole House Generator - Tips

  • Place the generator at least 5.5 ft from all doors and windows.
  • Place the generator on top of a pre-cast concrete pad supported by a compacted gravel mattress.
  • Four stainless-steel bolts will secure the generator to the pad.
  • A plumber should connect the natural-gas line to your generator.
  • An electrician should run a line voltage cable from the generator to it.
  • The generator runs for approximately 20 minutes and turns on automatically every two weeks.
  • Every time the generator turns on, a diagnostic signal via the Internet is sent to the homeowner or electrician.
  • An electrical meter is connected to a transfer switch. It sends electricity into your house when there is no power and the generator starts.


 A whole-house (three phase or single phase) generator can be a great option to keep your family and friends safe, calm, and relaxed during an outage. It must be installed correctly and maintained according to the manufacturer's instructions.

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