How Far Can a Standby Generator Be From the House? – Easy Guide 2023

The first thing that comes to your mind when planning the installation is how far can a standby generator be from the house. It’s not just the distance you need to focus on but also some other important factors when installing a standby generator. Let’s find out everything you need to know, including safety and maintenance tips.

How Far Can a Standby Generator Be From the House?

how far can a standby generator be from the house

A standby generator should be around 5 – 10 feet away from your house; this is the general guideline when installing a standby generator. This distance of clearance may vary depending on the type of generator. 

For example, a portable generator should be placed at least 20 feet away from a building and should never be placed near doors or windows; this is because generators emit toxic gases, like carbon monoxide, which will be fatal if inhaled. 

Another reason not to have a generator close to your living space is sound pollution. The closer the generator is, the louder the noise will be.

In addition to the distance mentioned earlier, there are some more clearance tips on how far can a standby generator be from the house.

  • There should be a free space of 3 feet in front of the generator for servicing and maintenance requirements.
  • When there are no doors or windows on the building wall, a distance of 1.5 feet or more should be maintained between the generator and the building.

Factors to Consider When Placing a Standby Generator

How far a generator should be from the house is not the only consideration when installing a generator. It would be best if you also considered the following factors before placing your standby generator.

Type of Fuel

If the generator runs on gas, it should not be placed too far away from the gas meter. It will require more piping if the generator is too far. It will cost more money on materials and labor and even cause inconsistency in the gas supply.

Direction of Exhaust

Harmful gases are emitted from fuel combustion during the process of generating electricity. Therefore, it is obvious that you should place the exhaust away from the house; this is the reason for determining a safe distance of how far does a generator need to be from a window. Ensure the wind won’t bring the gas back into the house through the windows. Placing the exhaust in the opposite direction will let the fume get blown away from the windows.

Noise Level

Going for a generator with a minimum noise level is recommended. You can find more about this on; Are propane generators quieter? Since all generators create noise even up to some extent, you can lessen the impact of sound by placing the generator away from your house. 

National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) Codes

Be aware of these codes and follow them when installing the generator. Abiding by these laws will help reduce the risks of electrical fires.

Local Codes

Different laws and regulations exist in each city and region related to electrical installations. In certain areas, a permit is required for installing a generator. Have proper knowledge of these legal requirements before you start the installation.

Consider Manufacturer’s Requirements

Last but not least is to consider the manufacturer’s requirements. Refer to the user manual and go through everything before the installation. 

Tips For Standby Generator Placement

The wrong installation of a standby generator will cause harm to people and damage the machine. The tips given here will be useful if you plan to install your generator. If you have already incorrectly placed your generator, you can make the necessary changes to correct it.

Place the Generator on a Level Ground

The generators vibrate when running and cause loud noise as a result. The noise will be even louder if the generator is not placed on a leveled floor. There is also a chance of the generator tripping if the generator is placed on unleveled ground; this can spill the fuel and impose risks of danger. So always make sure to place the generator on a leveled floor.

Place It Close to the Service Panel

The electricity produced by the generator is supplied to the house through the service panel. So placing the generator close to the service panel will save you some unnecessary expenditure on additional material. It will cost you more for the material if you plan to place the generator far from the panel.

Make Sure the Floor Is Dry

You should keep all the electrical equipment in a clean, dry place since water is a good conductor of electricity, and moisture or water can cause short circuits within a machine; this also applies to the generators. It could cause generator malfunction, complete breakdown, or even lead to electric shocks or electrical fire. So always keep your generator on a dry floor to avoid hazardous situations. Most manufacturers claim that the generators are water-resistant, but are generators actually waterproof

Need Proper Air Circulation

A generator should have proper air circulation around it when operating because generators get hot as the motors run inside. Having a proper airflow across the machine will help reduce the heat and prevent it from overheating. Another benefit of having proper air circulation is that harmful fumes may have less chance of building up around the area.

Limit the Cord Length

Since generators are noisy, most people tend to keep them away as far as possible to avoid loudness. But it is recommended to limit the length of the cord to 20 meters because too much length of wire can burn out the appliance motor and compressor in case of power drops or surges.

Do Not Disturb Others

It is essential to consider the well-being of your neighbors when installing a generator. Do not place your generator too close to the neighbors, as it generates too much noise and heat. 

How far a generator should be from the house applies to the neighboring houses as well. Your neighbors could even file lawsuits against you in case of disturbance. Change the place of your generator if there are any fireplaces around it, as it can lead to fire hazards. 

How To Maintain Your Standby Generator?

Like any other machine, generators also need regular maintenance for optimal function. Follow the tips given here to avoid harmful conditions and maximize the useful life of your standby generator.

  1. Change the engine oil of your generator regularly. If the oil is kept too long, its viscosity is affected, losing the lubricating effect leading to improper function of the machinery. Adding new oil often will increase the lubricating ability leading to smoother function and less wear and tear of the components.
  2. Empty and wash the tank at least once a month as this removes any solidified deposits in the tank that may contaminate the fuel. Adding clean fuel will enhance the running condition of your generator.
  3. Test your generator at least once every four weeks; this is important if you don’t use the generator very often. So you can start your generator and test it for some time with a small load. This is mandatory since inactivity leads to the degradation of components with time. If you don’t follow this maintenance tip, the generator could even be out of order by the time you actually need it during a blackout.

Frequently Asked Questions

how far does a generator need to be from a window

How Far Should My Generator Be Away From My Camper?

Camping grounds may often restrict loud sound generation, especially during specified quiet hours. Therefore, the distance between campsites would limit how far the portable generator can be from your camper. Since your campervan is more of your home during camping, you need to consider it as your living space and follow the manufacturer’s recommendations in placing the generator in a suitable position. However, ensure not to invade the peaceful environment of other campers with the noise and exhaust fumes of your generator. Maintain a safe distance between the generator and campfires to avoid possible fire hazards. Here’s how to deal with a wet generator in case the machinery is affected by adverse weather.

How Far Does a Generator Need to Be From a Window?

According to local ordinances, a generator must be at least 5 feet away from a window to lessen the impact of harmful gases emitted from the generator from reaching the insides of the building.

How Far Can a Generator Be From the Transfer Switch?

Generators are usually safe up to 60 – 70 feet from the transfer switch. This helps reduce the generator’s excessive loudness and provides safe switching. Learn more about the cost of installing a transfer switch for a generator.


Knowing the correct distance of how far can a standby generator be from the house is important when installing a generator. Always follow the safety standards and contact professionals if you are unsure of something. Correct placement will keep you safe from harmful exhaust fumes and loud noise. For this, you have to keep the generator away from your house. Here are some important tips on how to run a generator in the rain.