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All about Home Generators

Summary: When it comes to home generators size does matter. This article all about home-generators will help you understand the basics of a whole house generator. Lets look at the features of a whole house generator system.

A Complete Series all about Home Generators and Transfer Switches

Electric Generators

Home-generators smaller then 4,000 watts are in most instances not capable of powering a home during a power outage because they can not provide the needed power for electrical loads such as motors, well pumps and ventilation blowers on a central heating system.

Home Generators

A typical home supplied with 200-amp electric service can actually support a load of approximately 45,000 watts (45kW) of electric demand.

Portable Generators

Portable generators are produced in sizes ranging from a few hundred watts to 15,000 watts (15kW).

Standby Generator

A standby generator is a permanently installed generator that is attached to your electrical service panel. Most of the standby generators start automatically and are connected to a large fuel source such as propane or diesel fuel.

Even if you were to purchase a 10,000 to 15,000 watt portable generator you would find it more expensive, difficult to move, noisy, and the fuel consumption will be large. Typically you will not be able to run you home's central air conditioning system or electric heat pump even with a 15,000 watt portable generator.

Comments and Questions about Home Generators


Installing Home Generators

Anthony, from La Grange, Illinois asks:
I have a Generac Model 5837 Core Power generator with 50 amp automatic transfer switch. My house has a 100 amp service. The generator is a natural gas model with automatic start and transfer. I am only going to support certain loads such as the sump pump, refrigerator, furnace (no air conditioner) and a few lights. The village where I live has adopted NEC 1999 as electrical code. How far from the house must generator be?

Dave's Answer:

Generator Installation

The generator must not be installed indoor.
The installation of the generator must be 5' from the building structure.

A typical gas and electric install 5' from structure. This has now become the standard installations as per NFPA 37.
Installation Clearance Considerations:
5' from the gas meter and main electrical panel.
5' from windows, doors, ventilation, wall mounted air conditioners, or other openings to prevent exhaust gas from entering the building structure.
Do not install under a wooden deck or other structure.
Must not obstruct or affect access to services.
Must not be installed on top of service conduits such as electrical, water, gas, fuel, phone, air conditioning, irrigation.
Must not be installed where strong prevailing winds blow from one direction, face the generator air inlet openings.

Install the generator as close as possible to:
The fuel supply to reduce the length of pipe used, however maintain required clearances.

The transfer switch, with regard to local codes which may regulate distance and location.

All exposed gas pipe is painted.

The minimum distance from a building for Generator:

NFPA 37, Section 4.1.4, Engines Located Outdoors. Engines, and
their weatherproof housings if provided, that are installed outdoors
shall be located at least 5 ft. from openings in walls and at least 5
ft. from structures having combustible walls. A minimum separation
shall not be required where the following conditions exist:
1. The adjacent wall of the structure has a fire resistance rating
of at least 1 hour.
2. The weatherproof enclosure is constructed of noncombustible
materials and it has been demonstrated that a fire within
the enclosure will not ignite combustible materials outside the


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