How Far Should Generator Be From House?

A generator should be at least 20 ft. away from the house to avoid the entrance of carbon monoxide (CO) and unwanted noise. As per the statement of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the improper positioning of the generator could lead to serious illness or death.

How Far Should Generator Be From House?

How Far Can a Standby/Whole Be From the House?

A standby generator should be at least 8 – 10 ft. away from the window, however, if you are going to place it near the plane wall where there is no entrance of CO and noise to your house you can place it 5 to 6 ft. away.

In addition to that, you should follow the instruction of the manufacturers given in the user manual, this will not only gives you a safe distance estimation but also provide you an idea of what should be the ground clearance of your unit.

Moreover, your unit should be Compliant with the standards of the community in terms of air quality or noise levels.

Caution: Don’t ever place it indoors we are talking about the outdoor placement

What Factors Should Be Considered Before the Placement of the Standby/Whole House Generator?

Manufacturer’s Requirements:

Strictly follow the instruction of the manufacturer provided in the user manual.

The Size of Your Generator:

A larger generator needs a bit far placement because of the high noise levels; however, normal-sized generators need slightly near placement. I have installed my Generac 45KW PROTECTOR 12 ft. away from my house though it has a perfect enclosure; still, due to a heavy engine, it’s loader than others.

On the other hand, my brother has a Generac EcoGen 15Kw which is placed about 5 – 6 ft. away from the wall.

Noise, Air, and Fire Safety Laws:

Safety laws should be followed if you are going to install a standby generator. The following laws must be followed properly.

  • Your generator’s noise levels should be as per the standards of the area you are residing in, I always follow the local noise level laws carefully to avoid heavy fines. Also, you have to obey the rules of the Homeowners’ Association (HOA). If your unit produces higher noise than the standards, you should have to build an enclosure.
  • Because of the high emissions of toxic fumes with CO, CO2, and other harmful gases, your generator should complain with the standard of the California Air Resources Board (CARB), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), or local state laws.
  • Make sure to follow the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) Codes for installing your generators, sometimes we also need a permit for installation of the standby generators. NFPA will make sure to keep your house safe from fire hazards.

Local Building Codes:

Maintaining the local building codes is equally important as the noise levels and air quality. Before installing a generator you have to care about the residential needs and follow the construction regulations.

Exhaust Positioning:

Exhaust positioning is the most important if you have to place your unit near the window, make sure to place your unit at least 10 ft. away from the window. Also, keep the exhaust position in the opposite direction so the fumes couldn’t enter the house.

How Far Can a Portable Generator Be From the House?

A portable generator should be at least 20 ft. if its exhaust position is towards the window and doesn’t have an enclosure, however, if its exhaust position is in the opposite direction and have a proper enclosure, you can keep it 10 – 15 ft. away.

What Factors Should Be Considered Before the Placement of a Portable Generator?

Exhaust Position:

Due to the harmful flue gas emissions exhaust positioning should be in the opposite direction to the house, if you can’t do that you should have to place it at least 20ft. away from the window.

Generator Enclosure:

Build An Enclosure

If your generator has a properly enclosed frame, you can place it slightly near to the house, however, if it is an open frame and has higher noise levels keep placing it at least 20ft away. Also, try to create an enclosure for quieter operation. Here is the guide to quiet your generator with the help of a silencer.

Noise Levels and Air Quality:

As we have mentioned above your generator should complain about the noise and air quality standards of the state or local community.

You have to do some research and make some modifications like building an enclosure or adding a muffler if your generator is not fulfilling the laws.

Cord Size:

Limit the cord size to 20 meters, if you are going to increase you may find drastic power drop or surge problems. This may affect the voltage-sensitive appliances, in severe cases, I have lost my UPS.

Surface Leveling:

Uneven surfaces resist the lubricant to flow properly, the dripper of the engine can’t access the engine oil. As a result, some parts of the engines remain dried which may cause serious damage.  Make sure to place your unit on an even surface for keeping it safe.

NOTE: Some models contain a dripper that splashes the engine oil to the other parts of the engine to keep them lubricated.

How Far Away Should a Generator Be From a Camper?

A portable generator should be 18 – 20fts away from the window of the camper or RV, however, if your camper has an air-tight window and it is closed pretty decently, you can place it 8 – 10 ft. away depending on the noise levels.

NOTE: Please keep the exhaust position in the opposite direction and make sure to have a CO detector in your camper or RV

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

It should be 20ft away from the window if the window is not air-tight, infect we don’t recommend running a generator near to the window if it is necessary please maintain a distance of 20ft or more and keep the exhaust position to the opposite direction.

Also, make sure to have a CO detector in your house.

How Far Does a Generac Generator Need to Be From the House?

Due to the perfect exhaust positioning, silent operation, and latest technology to remove the toxic compounds from the flue gases. Generac recommends placing its standby units slightly near to the house compared to the other ones.  You can get the Generac guidelines about placing the standby or whole generator here.

A few cents from my side:

  • Place your Generac unit 2 -3 ft. away from your wall if there is no window.
  • Increases the distance to 5ft. If it is placed near the window, make sure to keep the exhaust position to the opposite and never open that window for ventilation unless your generator is OFF.

Where Should Be the Exhaust Position of the Generator?

Where Should Be the Exhaust Position of the Generator?

If you have a separate house and you want to operate your normal wattage generator in your backyard, keep the exhaust position in opposite directions.

In case you are living in a building, there will be different scenarios, you have to adjust both horizontal and vertical exhaust extensions above or away from the building.

The horizontal exhaust pipe should be in the direction where wind flows away from the building so that the flue gases will be kept away.  Typically 30 to 45-degree angles work well for reducing the gas turbulence and cutting the noise levels perfectly.

Here is the Recommended Guide to setting up your Generator’s exhaust system in buildings.

Wrapping Up

Before making a buying decision make sure to check out the noise levels, air quality, and other safety features your selected unit is offering. Furthermore, you have to match the parameters of your unit with your local laws for the safe side.

We encourage you to consult with a professional (We will be more than happy to replay your comments)

Thanks for Reading!

Frequently Asked Questions – FAQs

Can a generator be installed under a window?

Never place a generator under the window, as it emits flue gases that contain a silent killer (carbon monoxide). Always keep your generator 8 – 20 ft. away depending on the model and the type of machine.

Is it safe to have a generator close to the house?

It’s safe if you have placed it at the recommended safe distance; however unsafe distance with wrong placement like close to the door or windows could allow harmful gases to enter the house that lead to a serious illness or even death.

josh Milan


Josh is a highly skilled electrician with specialized expertise in the field of generators. With years of experience under his belt, he has established himself as an expert in all aspects of generators, ranging from installation and maintenance to troubleshooting and repairs. Josh’s in-depth knowledge of electrical systems and his commitment to staying updated with the latest industry advancements make him a reliable and sought-after professional.

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