question on location of standby generator


Old 02-12-14, 08:28 PM
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Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Maine
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question on location of standby generator

I need some information on where a standby generator can be placed. At my house, the street power comes underground half way up my driveway where the power company's meter is mounted on a pedestal. From there an underground conduit carries the feed into the main electrical panel inside the utility room of my basement. There is a 200amp service disconnect breaker at the top of this box.
Now, I'd like to get a standby generator that runs off propane. I already have a 500 gallon propane tank for my heat but it is located nearly 100ft from the meter on the pedestal, and if I chose to place the standby generator near the pedestal, I'd have to excavate the driveway to dig a trench all the way up to the propane tank, which would be expensive. The propane tank (on the side of house) has an underground line that runs along the back of the house and into the same utility room as where the electrical panel, just on the opposite side of the house. I had thoughts of putting the generator on the back of the house right next to the propane line feed going into the house. This would avoid having to run another propane line, and save on excavation and tearing up my driveway.
however, someone with electrical knowledge told me that I needed to locate the standby generator near the outside meter, but we did not get to finish that conversation and I never got a clear reasoning as to why.
obviously I'd much rather put the generator on the back of the home, tap into the existing propane feed. I don't understand the difference between the generator being wired to the feed coming into the panel at the house vs having to connect directly to the feed that comes into the meter. can anyone offer any thoughts?
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Old 02-12-14, 09:15 PM
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The location is determined by the building and or fire codes. Many places do not allow the generator within 5 foot of a building .

Also you need to see if the propane line is large enough to feed the genset.
Old 02-12-14, 09:18 PM
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It's wired to the panel box at the house in most cases. There is a way to connect to the meter base that the power company can hook you up with but it' s really expensive.
Local codes will dictate how far it need to be located from windows, doors, dryer vents, sources of ignition ECT.
Going to need a bigger line from the gas tank.
Old 02-12-14, 09:42 PM
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Propane Generator

You can install a panel for the loads you would like to operate off the generator. I had a 12KVA Propane Generator off my 500 Gallon tank. Things to consider would be How much load you will run, then selecting your generator and having a plumber check your propane line to see if it can handle the unit without having to install a larger line. Deciding if you want a manual or automatic transfer switch. I used the automatic transfer switch because it could be set to exercise the generator each month and we lived in cold country so I wanted it to work if we were gone. The manufactures installation instructions will give you information as to how far the unit should be from windows, overhangs and the building. As mentioned when you get your permit the AHJ should review the entire installation. I placed my unit at the rear of the house. If you have a generator you will have to label your service main with its location so the fire dept can shut it down in case of fire. If you use a manual transfer switch and are in a rural location, the utility may determine what type they will allow. The transfer switch does not have to be feed from the service main, it can be a feed from a smaller feeder based on what you want to run.

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Old 02-13-14, 07:41 AM
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I think you have more options connecting the generator to your main panel. For manual transfer switches, you can choose what loads switch. For automatic transfers, you can use load shedding and such to shut down larger appliances when needed. So I think you're better off installing it near the house.

But as Ray said, check the installation instructions on your generator and any code-requirements that your local municipality has. There are rules about proximity to the building, windows, etc.
Old 02-13-14, 08:34 AM
Join Date: Sep 2013
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If your service disconnect is in your main panel, there is no reason to locate the generator near the meter. You need to decide whether you want an auto whole house service disconnect switch, an auto critical circuits switch, a manual interlock switch or a manual critical circuits switch. Then you need to decide on your backed up loads to pick the right kw size. A qualified dealer or electrician and plumber can guide you best about economical location and permit requirements. Some brands of generators with metal cases can meet fire codes as close as 18 inches from a flammable surface. They all need 60 inches from any opening to protect you from CO.

DIY work should be limited and supervised as required by your local codes.
Old 02-14-14, 09:36 AM
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Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Maine
Posts: 119
Thanks guys for the replies. I should have stated that I would like the generator to be an auto transfer switch, for the whole house, not just critical circuits. I would size the generator accordingly to make sure it could handle the load. As for placing the generator away from the meter and placing it on the back of the home instead, now that I look into the code, I don't think that would work as the spot I had in mind is too close to the house and too close to a dryer vent. So then I had another possibility, and interested in your thoughts on this one.
The propane tank is located about 15 feet on the side of the attached garage of the house. On that same side wall facing the tank is a sub panel that is for the garage electric needs. This subpanel of course connects back into the house to the main panel in the basement utility room. I am now thinking of putting the generator on the side of the garage, closer to the tank but still 10 feet away from it as required by code, I would just have to find out how close the generator itself could be to the garage without violating code. This placement would minimize the trenching to the propane tank, but could the generator connect at the subpanel on the garage side wall to feed coming from the main panel to the sub panel, or would the generator need to connect directly back to the main panel first?

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