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Old 08-24-2012, 12:44 PM   #1
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How hard is it to install a standby generator?


I want to install a 20KW Kohler natural gas standby generator - is this a viable DIY project or should I be very afraid of blowing up my house?

Alternatively how much would one expect to pay for an electrician to do this? I'm located in Fairfax County, Northern VA. I have a location picked out within 10ft of the gas meter and main electrical panel. Would the electrician handle the gas hookup as well, or is this a job for a plumber?

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Old 08-24-2012, 01:25 PM   #2
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How hard is it to install a standby generator?


I can PM you the name/number of a licensed electrician, if interested. He's not the fastest, and you get scheduled around his commercial work, but his workmanship is top notch and his prices are fair.

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Old 08-24-2012, 03:01 PM   #3
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How hard is it to install a standby generator?


Thank you - that would be a great help!
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Old 08-24-2012, 05:58 PM   #4
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How hard is it to install a standby generator?


i wouldn't recommend a genny instal for anyone that isn't serious about DIY, or someone who's willing to make a lot of mistakes learning how to do it right. If your questioning whether your skills are adequate then you can maybe ask the electrician to do the main connections and ask for some savings if you do some of the grunt work.
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Old 08-24-2012, 06:19 PM   #5
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How hard is it to install a standby generator?


I would NOT consider a 20kW standby unit to a DIY job for anything but the most advanced DIYer. Even then I question it.

Prices are a very subjective thing, but considering the close proximity you will be on the lower end of things. A typical electrician will NOT do the gas piping.
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Old 08-24-2012, 07:34 PM   #6
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How hard is it to install a standby generator?


I agree with Speedy. Also your gas meter may need to be upgraded.
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Old 08-24-2012, 07:46 PM   #7
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How hard is it to install a standby generator?


Going to have to get gas and electrical permits to do it.
Even where it's going to be has to meet code.
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Old 08-24-2012, 07:47 PM   #8
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How hard is it to install a standby generator?


You can do a few things necessary for the installation. You can level the site and pour the slab. If so inclined you can purchase the equipment. The installation itself is better left to someone with the experience and knowledge to safely handle entrance equipment. Safety is the biggest part of these installations. I take it you will be using it for the entire home?
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Old 08-24-2012, 08:10 PM   #9
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How hard is it to install a standby generator?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Port View Post
Also your gas meter may need to be upgraded.
Possibly even the line from the street as well.
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Old 08-24-2012, 10:54 PM   #10
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How hard is it to install a standby generator?


You might be able to do some of the grunt work !
But I would leave some of it up to a tradesman !
Perhaps speak to a tradesman first,
and find out how much you can do,
he can then advise you, how to do it proper.
And up to code !
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Old 08-24-2012, 11:32 PM   #11
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How hard is it to install a standby generator?


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Originally Posted by aljagre View Post
Thank you - that would be a great help!
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Old 08-25-2012, 12:22 AM   #12
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How hard is it to install a standby generator?


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PM failed. Said you were not accepting or were not allowed to receive PM's.
I think it have to be over 10 posting before the PM can be actived but not sure on the DIY fourm rules per using the PM. ( you can check with Moderators they can assit you on this matter )

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Old 08-25-2012, 07:55 AM   #13
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How hard is it to install a standby generator?


That is "advanced" electrical work. I would recommend getting an electrician who is experienced with the installation of generators and of course get electrical and other permits needed.

Some of this stuff is mind boggling even to experienced electricians. Google the following words for example...

separately derived system generator

and...

gfci generator transfer switch

and...

gfci generator OSHA

and...

generator backfeed danger
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Old 08-25-2012, 08:23 AM   #14
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How hard is it to install a standby generator?


You must also consider whether it is even legal in your location for you to do the electrical and gasline work. In many places, it is not unless you're a licensed contractor.

I am an experienced DIYer (wife and I built our house essentially by ourselves) and I would not tackle this project. The electrical maybe, but never the gas. While I plumbed our house myself and installed the gas tankless water heater, I paid the propane supplier to run the gasline. It was less than $100.
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Old 08-26-2012, 09:53 AM   #15
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How hard is it to install a standby generator?


Quote:
Originally Posted by andrew79 View Post
i wouldn't recommend a genny instal for anyone that isn't serious about DIY, or someone who's willing to make a lot of mistakes learning how to do it right.
I did a 17kw. Andrew is correct about being willing to make, while I won't call them mistakes, corrections and changes as you go along. The manual assumes you have 1) space behind the panel location (or withing 30') for the generator and 2) space right beside the panel for the transfer switch. That is usually not the case.

I did it all including running 150' of gas line. But I started pipelining as teen so that part was easy. Took me a good 2 weeks (not full-time) and reconfigured things a couple of times, but it is good to go now. Had a master electrician (neighbor) come up and inspect it and the only thing he dinged me on was taping some of the wires together in the box.

But I also had to reconfigure the transfer switch. I did not need 3 240 circuits. So 2 of them got removed which involved adding neutrals for their replacements and replacing a couple of the breakers with AFCI's.

I plan on posting pics when I get a chance to download them. If I had it to do all over again, I would probably borrow the requirement from our neighbors to the north and to all the wiring in an external box.

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