Where To Put A Generator? (& Where Not)

If you buy through the affililate links in this article, we may get a commission at no cost to you. As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases. Check out our editorial guidelines to learn more.

Photo of author
Published On

You should put a portable generator in a well-vented, dry space that is at least 20 feet away from your house.

Preferably downwind of your house and with the exhaust pointing away.

A standby generator should be at least 1.5 feet away from your house and 5 feet away from your windows, doors, and fresh air intakes.

However, local regulations and manual guidelines around generator positioning can be different. These are more important than the general numbers above.

Additionally, any laws regarding generator noise levels could influence where you put it too.

Since carbon monoxide poisoning is so dangerous, it can be smart to install CO sensors inside of your house no matter where you put your generator.

Where should you place your generator?

You should place your portable generator in a well-vented, dry space that is at least 20 feet away from your house.

Additionally, you want your generator to be downwind, away from windows, and with the exhaust pointing away from your house.

Installing CO sensors inside your house is typically a good idea since the downsides of carbon monoxide poisoning are so bad.

According to Dawson’s Electric, a standby generator should be at least 1.5 feet away from a house and 5 feet away from windows and doors.

Keep in mind that local laws can be different. Including the ones related to noise levels.

Farther is also generally better as long as you can safely connect to your generator.

The location of your generator is one of the most important things on a generator safety checklist so make sure you check your manual and the local regulations.

Where to put your portable generator during a storm?

You can put your portable generator in a sturdy but well-ventilated shed during a storm if the shed is strong enough.

Since your generator should not get wet, you might not be able to run your machine during a storm.

When in doubt, you want to keep your portable generator off during a storm.

Where should you not put a generator?

You should not put a generator in your house, in your basement, in your garage, in unventilated sheds, under a carport, in the rain, too close to windows, or too close to the house.

These spaces involve risks like carbon monoxide poisoning, fire, electrocution, and a broken generator.

Carbon monoxide poisoning is especially dangerous since this gas is odorless and colorless.

For this reason, you want to put your generator outside.

And not only outside, but also far enough away from the house, downwind, away from windows and doors, and in a dry space.

Keep these dangers in mind when figuring out where to store a generator too.

How far should a generator be from the house?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a portable generator should be at least 20 feet away from the house.

According to Dawson’s Electric, a standby generator should be at least 1.5 feet away from a house and 5 feet away from windows and doors although manuals and local regulations can vary.

These manuals and local regulations have priority over the general numbers above.

How far should a portable generator be from the house?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a portable generator should be at least 20 feet away from the house.

Additionally, you want to put the portable generator downwind, away from doors and windows, and in a dry location.

How far should a standby generator be from the house?

According to Dawson’s Electric, a standby generator should be at least 1.5 feet away from a house and 5 feet away from windows and doors although manuals and local regulations can vary.

These required generator clearances also apply to garages or sheds.

Some codes even specific standby generators should be at least 5 feet or even 20 feet away from any houses.

Additionally, standby generator manuals tend to have their own generator distance guidelines. 5 feet away from the house is a somewhat standard recommendation.

You want to follow these separate guidelines to avoid voiding your warranty.

How far should a generator be from a window?

A portable generator should be at least 20 feet away from a window.

According to Generac, a standby generator should be at least 5 feet away from a window.

In both of these generator setups, you want to point the exhaust away from the window and close the window to play things safe.

Even then, it is generally a good idea to install CO sensors inside anyway.

And as if how to use your generator to power a house was not complicated enough, keep in mind that your local house codes around generator positioning could be different.

Is it safe to put a generator on a porch?

Yes, it is safe to put a portable generator on a porch as long as you can put it 20 feet away from your house and other buildings, in a dry location, and in the open air.

Not under a carport or something similar.

Additionally, you want to keep the generator grounding guidelines in mind.

If you can safely put your generator on the porch you still want to point the exhaust away from the house and close your doors and windows.

On the other hand, it is not always safe to put a generator on a porch.

Check your manual and local guidelines to make sure you are using your generator safely.

FAQ

Can a generator be too close to a house?

Yes, a generator can be too close to a house. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 15 feet can already be too close to a house.

How far does a Generac generator need to be from the house?

Generac generally recommends putting their standby generators at least 1.5 feet away from the house and 5 feet away from windows, doors, and fresh air intakes.

Where should a generator be placed in your yard?

A generator should be placed in your yard in a location where it is at least 20 feet away from the house and other buildings, dry, and in the open air.

Photo of author

Author:

Mats is the founder and head editor of Generator Decision. With a combination of critical thinking, tireless research, and a healthy interest in electronics he helps people find the right generators and how to use these. At this point in the journey, Mats has done research on hundreds of portable generators.