As anyone who has suffered through the heat and humidity following a hurricane or shivered in the winter after a blizzard knocked out the power to your home can attest, the time to purchase an emergency generator is well before the storm hits your area.

With that in mind, the following information can be quite useful for those contemplating a generator installation in their future.

Find Out What Permits You Will Need

Laws governing permits for generator installations vary from state to state and also from municipality to municipality within your state. You want to be in full compliance with all generator regulations or risk fines or other punitive actions.

Almost all jurisdictions will require electrical permits. Some places may also require plumbing permits and/or authorizations from your local gas company. In most cases, the homeowner is not authorized to obtain these permits. The licensed installer is the one who must seek them prior to the generator installation.

Location, Location, Location

When it comes to the placement of your generator, the safety of your family and also of your neighbors must be foremost in the decision-making process. Because of the output of carbon monoxide from generators, you want the area to be uncovered by roofs, porch overhangs, and foliage from nearby trees, shrubs and bushes, and any area with a tendency for snowdrifts to form.

Choose a location that is at minimum 5’ from doors, windows, and soffit vents to reduce the possibility of carbon monoxide seeping into a home. The best spot will ideally be next to or nearby your gas and electric meters. This can save you both on installation and upkeep costs.

Preparing the Surface

Most modern small standby generators are made with composite bases and are air-cooled, and thus do not need to have a concrete pad beneath them. Since these are portable, it is often sufficient to use a double layer of pallets to raise the portable generator off of the ground and assure that air is able to circulate around it.

But if you are installing a permanent emergency generator outside your home, you will want to first install a base for it. Some homeowners use pea gravel, but over time, this material is prone to dissipation and will unlevel. The best choice is to pour a small, level slab of concrete and allow it to fully set before your generator installation is scheduled.

With these tips in mind from Virginia Power Solutions, you should be able to count on your generator seeing you through any number of future weather emergencies.