How Far Should a Standby Generator be From the House?

Having the power go out in your home is never a fun time. If it is during a snowstorm you have to find a way to keep warm. If it is during the summer you have to find a way to keep your food in the refrigerator and freezer from spoiling. Now, in most cases power outages usually only last for a few hours… but there are instances where it can last for a day or more. A few years back I lived out on a farm about an hour south of Kansas City. We had twenty acres and it was as peaceful as can be. The only problem was that when the power did go out it stayed out for at least a day. I believe the longest we went without power was three and a half days during an ice storm.

A standby generator for your home can solve any power issue you are having. It can power your whole home and will turn on automatically. Over the past few weeks I have written numerous articles on standby generators. In today’s post we are going to focus on one simple question: How far should these standby whole home generator systems be placed from your home?

To answer your question right off the bat most experts recommend to place your generator at least five feet from your home. This is quite different then portable generators. Portable systems need to be at least twenty feet away from your home and have their exhaust pointed away to prevent carbon monoxide from flooding your home. While standby generators do not need as much distance you should still be mindful of the exhaust risk. Do NOT place the generator under an awning, overhang, or anything else that could trap exhaust. Also consider where the wind typically blows in your yard and place the generator’s exhaust to blow with the wind away from your home.

Along with the five foot rule it is also recommended that your generator be at least three feet away from any nearby flammable material. This is to prevent any accidental ignition and or fire. Remember folks, that generators are engines and they are burning through fuel. If something flammable is too close it could ignite.

The last real point here to make is that the generator should be placed close to your home’s circuit board as well as close to your propane or natural gas line. This just makes it easier for install and overall maintenance.


Purchasing, placing, and installing a standby generator is complicated business. This is why there are various dealers out there that can walk you through the process step by step. While the guidelines I mentioned above are widely considered the standard it is important to note that your local laws and regulations can vary across the country… or even outside of the United States. You could run into regulation challenges when having the utility propane/natural gas lines laid out. Or, it could be local city, county, or state codes that you were not aware of.

By consulting with a professional at a generator dealership you can ensure that you are following all of the proper laws and regulations so that you do not have to spend any more then you have to by redoing the work again to be in compliance. If you are seriously looking at a standby system then you should also be looking at getting it professionally installed.

Thanks for reading,

Alec Johnson


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