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Backup Generator Installation

A sudden power outage can bring your daily routine to a standstill. From disrupting your work-from-home schedule to leaving you in the dark, electricity disruptions are a hassle. However, with a backup generator, you can ensure that your home remains powered, no matter what. This article serves as a comprehensive guide to backup generator installation, covering everything from choosing the right model to understanding the installation process.

Understanding Backup Generators

Backup generators, also known as standby generators, automatically start up when there’s a power outage, keeping your appliances running and your home illuminated. They can run on various fuels, including diesel, natural gas, or propane. The type of fuel your generator uses will depend on your location, cost considerations, and personal preference.

Choosing the Right Backup Generator

Choosing the right backup generator involves several factors. First, consider the size of the generator. The size determines the generator’s capacity, i.e., the amount of electricity it can produce. To find out the size generator you need, list all the appliances you wish to power during an outage. Add up their total wattage, and choose a generator that can handle that load.

The type of generator is also important. Standby generators are usually preferred by homeowners due to their automatic operation. As soon as a power outage occurs, the system kicks in without any need for manual intervention.

Location and Placement

The location of your backup generator is crucial for both safety and efficiency. It should be placed outside the house, keeping a reasonable distance from doors and windows to avoid exhaust fumes from entering the house. The site should be easily accessible for maintenance and repair purposes.

The Installation Process

Installing a backup generator is a complex process that requires professional expertise. Here are the basic steps involved:

  1. Site Preparation: The first step is preparing the site where the generator will be placed. This usually involves laying a concrete pad for the generator to sit on.
  2. Generator Placement: The generator is then placed on the pad, ensuring it’s level and secure.
  3. Transfer Switch Installation: A transfer switch is an essential component of any backup generator system. It safely switches the power source from the main power grid to the generator during an outage and vice versa when power is restored. The transfer switch is typically installed near the electrical panel.
  4. Wiring: Wiring involves connecting the generator to the transfer switch and then to the electrical panel. This should be done by a professional electrician to ensure safety and correct operation.
  5. Fuel Connection: Depending on whether your generator runs on propane, natural gas, or diesel, a fuel line will need to be set up. This task might require a professional plumber.
  6. Testing: Once everything is set up, the system is tested to ensure everything is working correctly.

Costs Involved

Backup generator installation costs can vary based on several factors, including the size of the generator, installation complexity, and additional equipment needed. Always get a quote from a few service providers before making a decision. Also, keep in mind that the cost of purchasing the generator is just one part of the total cost. There will also be installation costs, maintenance costs, and fuel costs to consider.

Safety Considerations

Safety is paramount when installing a backup generator. Improper installation can lead to dangerous situations like carbon monoxide poisoning, electrical shocks, and fire. Here are a few safety tips:

  • Always hire a professional for installation.
  • Ensure your generator is a safe distance from windows and doors.
  • Regularly maintain your generator to ensure it’s in good working condition.
  • Install carbon monoxide detectors in your home.

Maintenance and Warranty

Regular maintenance is crucial to prolong the life of your generator and ensure it’s ready to kick in when needed. Maintenance usually involves checking fuel levels, testing the system regularly, and keeping the unit clean.

Before finalizing your purchase, always check the warranty of the generator. A good warranty can save you from unexpected repair or replacement costs.


Installing a backup generator is a significant project, but with the right guidance and professional help, it can be a smooth process. It provides peace of mind, knowing that you’ll have a reliable power source during an outage. Remember, every home is unique, and so are its power needs. Therefore, take the time to understand your requirements and choose a generator that best fits your needs and budget.

If you’re a Montana resident, it’s essential that you have a professional electrician you trust on hand to handle any electrical issues that may arise. Whether you need help with circuit breaker troubleshooting, electrical system maintenance, or other electrical work, turn to a professional for assistance. Browse our directory of skilled Montana electricians today to find a professional who can help ensure your home’s electrical safety.