Are Standby Generators Safe?

Having the power go out in your home is never a fun time. At best it can be a minor inconvenience to you and your family. At worst it could mean seeing all of the food in your refrigerator/freezer spoil or having to find a way to stay warm in the winter. Luckily for most people a power loss typically only lasts for a few hours… but what do you do if you have frequent longer power outages in your area?

There are a couple solutions to this problem. The first is portable generators which can be rolled out and manually setup as needed, but they can be a hassle. The other solution and the focus of this article are standby whole home generators. These are stationary generator systems that are professionally installed for your home. When the power goes out you will only notice a slight flicker of the lights and then your standby system kicks on. Presto, you have power again. It happens so fast that you may not even notice the power went out.

The question in this article though is are these standby generators safe for you and your family? Well folks, let us take a look and find out:

Are They Safe?

The good news is that standby generators are significantly safer then portable generators. Both types of generators produce carbon monoxide that can be deadly if it accumulates in an enclosed space like your garage, home, or other area. The difference here is that with a portable generator it is up to you to roll it out, pick a location, and set it up. This means that YOU have to determine the best location for your portable system to run. You have to determine if it is far enough away from your home. That the exhaust is pointed away from your home. That the exhaust is not being blown back to your home by the wind. There are many factors that have to be considered when setting up a portable system.

Standby generators are different though as they are stationary. They are setup in a designated area and will never leave that space. When you purchase a standby system you also need to pay for the professional installation. This is the main difference between portable and standby. The standby system is professionally installed. That means that the professional that comes out to your home determines the exact spot to locate your standby generator. He considers all of the factors we mentioned above and even more.

Before an install takes place the installer should survey the yard to determine the absolute best spot for the generator. The system will ideally be placed about five feet away from your home nearby your circuit board and your gas/propane line. The exhaust should obviously be pointed away from the home. The installer will also consider typical wind as well as if there are roof overhangs or awnings that could accumulate carbon monoxide.

The other thing to keep in mind is to never store any flammable materials or fuel near your standby generator. Remember that your generator is an engine that is burning through fuel. It will get hot due to the combustion taking place. Having something easily flammable could result in a fire. This is why most folks recommend at least three feet of space between something flammable and the standby system. If it was me though I would push for at least ten feet or more just to be on the safe side.

Besides those main points if you schedule regular maintenance on your standby system you will have a safe and secure way to restore power in your home during severe storms. They are also a great investment for your home as you can typically see your home’s value raise by about fifty percent of the cost of your standby generator. As an example, if you spent ten-thousand dollars on a standby generator and install then you can expect your home value to raise by about five-thousand dollars.


To answer your question folks, yes standby systems are in fact very safe. I would rate them significantly safer then the standard portable generators that we are all used to. Just be aware that there is still the risk of carbon monoxide accumulation, but if the system is installed correctly by a professional then you should be perfectly fine. I would not recommend trying to install one of these systems yourself. You not only have to deal with the safety concerns but you also have the electrical setup; the fuel line setup; and many state, county, and city codes and regulations to consider. It is best to leave this job to the professionals.

Thanks for reading,

Alec Johnson

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