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Installation

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INSTALLATION

We strongly recommend that you have the installation performed by a licensed electrical or mechanical contractor. They have the tools, the know-how and an understanding of governing regulations and local codes. Their expertise will save you money in the long run and help keep you safe. 

If you chose to perform the installation yourself, please do your homework before tackling the job and obtain the proper permits required by your local jurisdiction.

All gensets have some basic requirements. Each brand and model has unique installation requirements.  Also, it is extremely important to have all relative codebooks for reference and to adhere to them strictly. Most important of all, your system must be inspected before getting it up and running.

LOCATION

Ensure the following elements are present:

  • Air inlet for combustion and engine cooling.
  • Outlets for exhaust and hot air cooling.
  • Fuel, battery and AC electrical connections.
  • Remember to monitor for carbon monoxide!
  • Rigid, level mounting platforms (many sets are already mounted on a steel skid base).
  • Open accessibility for easy service.
  • Isolation from living space. Keep noise and exhaust away from occupied areas.
  • Space and equipment to extinguish a fire. Minimize the possibility of fire danger.
  • Remember, generator units move on their vibration mounts.  Allow clearance to compensate and use flex-joints on all lines and connections.

EXHAUST SYSTEMS

The exhaust system may need to be covered with insulated material to prevent fire resulting from contact with combustible materials.  We recommend a heat blanket over exhaust outlets to reduce the heat radiated from the exhaust and to ensure personal safety. 

Some insulation materials are best left to professionals with the proper equipment. Keep the piping away from combustible materials including walls.  A seamless, stainless steel flexible joint must be used between the generator set and the exhaust system to prevent metal fatigue.  Do not use the exhaust manifold to support the exhaust system - the weight can cause manifold failure. Exhaust pipe hangers are readily available.

FUEL SYSTEM

Extreme care should be taken in designing and installing the fuel system to prevent fire danger.  Fuel lines should have as few connections as possible and be routed to prevent damage.  Keep lines away from hot engine or exhaust components.  The lines should be no smaller than the inlet and outlet on the engine.  Support fuel lines with clamps as needed to help prevent metal fatigue from vibration.  The fuel tank should be level with or below the set to prevent siphoning in the event of a line failure.  Remember to check the lift capacity of the engine fuel pump and stay within its limits.  If the set is higher than the tank, an auxiliary fuel pump may be required.

To prevent water ingestion, fuel should be drawn out of the top of the tank with the pick-up extending to no more than two inches from the bottom.  Fuel storage tanks must have leakage protection.  Above ground tanks are recommended.  Check your local codes before installing a tank to make sure it meets local code. The safest tanks are double walled with alarms.  These alarms are simple and well worth the investment to avoid a possible fuel spill and significant clean-up costs. If the tank is mounted above the generator set, use a fuel shut-off valve. This will allow you to work on the fuel system without the fuel-siphoning out.  It will also allow you to cut-off fuel flow in the event of line breakage.

A high quality, fuel/water separator filter should be mounted as close to the generator set as possible. Because of its explosive nature, gasoline fuel systems have special requirements; see your tank supplier for complete information.

COMBUSTION AND COOLING AIR

The generator set requires air for combustion and cooling.  A radiator and a “pusher” engine fan cool the generator engine temperature.  An internal fan cools the generator.

Indoor Mounting

The room, or space, in which the generator operates, should not exceed 100F. We recommend keeping it under 85F if possible.  Generator installations require an intake for cool, clean air and an outlet vent for hot air.  Since the size of the space affects the room temperature (the smaller the space the generator runs in, the higher the room temperature is likely to be), smaller spaces may require ducting.  Other factors, which will affect the room temperature include generator size and the outside air temperature or climate.  In an indoor installation, increasing these vent sizes may cool the room down to acceptable levels.  If this doesn't provide sufficient cooling, ducting may be required to ensure “positive” airflow.  Simply stated, positive airflow is cool, clean air in – hot air out, as opposed to circulating hot air inside the room.  Generator cooling fans move moisture as well as air.  Moist air is corrosive to a generator unit's copper windings.  Make sure air inlets are positioned to minimize moisture intake.

OUTDOOR MOUNTING

The room, or space, in which the generator operates, should not exceed 38C (100F).  We recommend keeping it under 30C (85F) if possible.  Generator installations require an intake for cool, clean air and an outlet vent for hot air. 

Since the size of the space affects the room temperature (the smaller the space the generator runs in, the higher the room temperature is likely to be), smaller spaces may require ducting.  Other factors, which will affect the room temperature, include generator size and the outside air temperature or climate.  In an indoor installation, increasing these vent sizes may cool the room down to acceptable levels.  If this doesn't provide sufficient cooling, ducting may be required to ensure “positive” airflow.   Stated simply, positive airflow is cool, clean air in – hot air out, as opposed to circulating hot air inside the room. Generator cooling fans move moisture as well as air.   Moist air is corrosive to a generator's copper windings. Make sure air inlets are positioned to minimize moisture intake.


A friend came across an interesting link published by a homeowner which may provide you with some ideas http://members.rennlist.org/warren/generator.html

Saskatchewan Power produces a good pamphlet which can be found at: http://www.saskpower.com/safety/campaigns/portablegenerators.pdf

A helpful lexicon search engine can be found at:
http://www.l3xicon.com

If you are building you own house or sourcing products and services:
Build Your Own House is a good place to look

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Last modified: April 17, 2010