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Old 09-18-2008, 04:03 PM   #1
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Indoor Standby Generator....


Not sure which section to post this question, since its about a generator I guess it sorta fits here. I was just wondering why no one offers an indoor natural gas generator. I understand that it emits CO and many people have died from using generators indoors, but my furnace & water heater give off deadly fumes too, could an indoor generator be exhausted along with my other gas appliances?

Sorry if this is a stupid question.

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Old 09-18-2008, 04:47 PM   #2
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Indoor Standby Generator....


Its not a stupid question. Actually putting a generator in your house would be stupid though, because they aren't designed to be operated indoors. There's no way to vent them safely.

I've inspected several dozen backup generators, and have never seen one indoors. I'm not aware of any application of any generator that permits it. It is just too unsafe.

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Old 09-18-2008, 05:15 PM   #3
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Indoor Standby Generator....


I suppose it could be done. It is done with large diesel standby generators in commercial buildings.
The noise would be an issue though as well as heat dissipation. It would be easier with a water cooled unit. I have to wear hearing protection when I go into the generator room if it is running.

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Old 09-18-2008, 08:09 PM   #4
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Indoor Standby Generator....


I've never seen a generator built into a house, but I've installed quite a few of them in commercial/industrial buildings. The smallest one I can remember offhand would likely run about 100 houses, the biggest would run several thousand.

They are always installed in a dedicated room, the only other thing in the room might be the transfer switch. This room is considered a hazardous area by code definition, thus requiring (among other things) anything electrical to be in rigid steel conduit if it's less than 18" from the floor. The engine heat must be exhausted safely, and adequate make-up air must be supplied. The engine exhaust system must be without leaks, and must be kept away from anything combustible. The room must be large enough to service the installation, it takes more room than you'd think. Noise carries a long distance through walls and concrete floors.

Considering the complexity of an indoor generator installation, I can see why few if any are installed in houses.

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Old 09-19-2008, 01:26 AM   #5
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Indoor Standby Generator....


I done quite few generator installments both indoor and outdoor verison and typically most resdential units are outdoor type with enclosured on it and some state building codes they are requried at least 2 feet { 600 MM } away from the buiding wall.

For larger generators I did work on both diesel and Natural gas /LPG verison and those guys allready hit the nail on the sisuation and with indoor useage belive or not the Vee type engines need far more room than inline verison are but still need room to work around and there are other issue to deal with it.

I do have Shop and Resdentail on the same property but zoned diffrent one half of it is zoned as resdentail while otherhalf is zoned as commercal so I have two generators in the shop { 5 KW and 20 KW super slow speed diesel units }.

Yeah I know you will say something about this set up and the generators have sperated room for it.

Merci,Marc
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Old 09-19-2008, 10:51 AM   #6
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Indoor Standby Generator....


I can see your point as things such as kerosene heaters, natural/propane gas ranges and in power outages people use propane camp stoves inside.
But it is not safe to use internal combustion engines indoors. As the others have stated, there are exceptions and your house is not one of them. Be safe. Put it outside and put a roof over it.
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Old 04-22-2009, 05:56 PM   #7
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Indoor Standby Generator....


Don't know a lot about generators even though I did some electrical design work.

However, I'm living in a condo complex with an indoor natural gas generator (6kW,,single phase, 120 V). It is used only for emergency lighting in the common areas. It is vented to the outside, and it does make a heck of a racket.

The odd thing about this is that the genertor is situated in our boiler room (we have universal hot water for our heating). Apparently it is ok and is inspected once a month. The building is 36 years old and we're just now looking for another generator. I'm trying to find a standby generator that can be used indoors. Anyone have any suggestions?

Dan
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Old 04-22-2009, 11:36 PM   #8
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Indoor Standby Generator....


I can see no reason why a natural gas generator couldn't be installed inside provided it has a properly sealed exhaust to the outside at a location with a proper distance from openings. The primary danger is from the exhaust and gas leaks. Proper monitors (gas leak and CO) would probably also have to be installed, regular inspection schedule, propper clearnces would have to be maintained, and the unit would have to have an oxygen depletion shut off control. Finding one that is properly set up will be the problem.
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Old 04-23-2009, 07:30 PM   #9
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Indoor Standby Generator....


Generators are installed "indoors" all the time. I've worked in many buildings that had its standby generator set installed indoors, including a job I was at just today.

The exhaust has to be properly vented to the outside. There are provisions in place for fresh air ventilation to handle the engine cooling requirements, as well as intake air for the engine itself.

Many manufacturers sell the outdoor enclosure kits as an option when ordering their units, so you don't have to purchase hardware that is not needed for your particular installation.
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Old 04-23-2009, 07:41 PM   #10
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Indoor Standby Generator....


I am going to say that most general generator installs are not DIY, just from the Code and utility stand point. Now, compound that with the additional engineering problems that an indoor generator represents.

Not only does it have to be electrically correct, it has to have the right amount of air for the engine to breath. It has to have enough air to cool the engine and generator. The exhaust must be contained and exit the building safely. The fuel must enter the building and have the right plumbing and shut offs. You must have CO detectors in the generator room as well as the rest of the house. If it were mine, I would have it sprinkler protected as well. I'd also have some emergency lighting in there also. Ingress and egress from the room should be considered.

When the exhaust exits the building, it must be some distance from the building so as not to catch anything on fire. So, we have electrical code, life safety and fire code, plumbing and gas code, structural code, and maybe even some HVAC work involved too. This seems like a big project for DIY...
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Old 04-23-2009, 07:45 PM   #11
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Indoor Standby Generator....


Quote:
Originally Posted by dvb View Post
However, I'm living in a condo complex with an indoor natural gas generator (6kW,,single phase, 120 V). It is used only for emergency lighting in the common areas. It is vented to the outside, and it does make a heck of a racket.

The odd thing about this is that the genertor is situated in our boiler room (we have universal hot water for our heating). Apparently it is ok and is inspected once a month. The building is 36 years old and we're just now looking for another generator. I'm trying to find a standby generator that can be used indoors. Anyone have any suggestions?

Dan
Looking for one to replace this one?
That seems to be what you are asking
And since it's a condo complex it would have to be installed by a licensed person
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Old 04-23-2009, 10:09 PM   #12
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Indoor Standby Generator....


The responses you have received so far are mostly about electrical and CO concerns, here is another to consider. Air/ ventilation supply, typical stationary sized generators require 30-50 Cubic Feet per Minute of air for the combustion (same for exhaust), and if radiator cooled require a few hundred cubic feet per minute of fresh cooling air.

Ike
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Old 04-24-2009, 11:20 AM   #13
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Indoor Standby Generator....


To do it safely would be expensive and complected. Minimally you would need an fire resistant (metal) enclosure sealed to the homes interior but capable of providing enough air to run the engine. Then you need to provide some type of heat exchange to heat exchange so the sealed enclosure does not over heat. It's al ot to overcome when you could build a small portable enclosure and operate the genny outside. Check the RV forum for some ideas.

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Old 04-24-2009, 12:41 PM   #14
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Indoor Standby Generator....


Maybe because I must have some 'cat lineage' somewhere in the past, but curiousity makes me ask why you want it inside your house in the first place? Due to the noise and safety concerns, it seems like outside would definitely be the choice, but if it is for security or elemental protection, it sounds like it might be cheaper/easier to build a small out building for it. Something not too large, concrete block maybe, and then wire it into the house.
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Old 04-24-2009, 03:02 PM   #15
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Indoor Standby Generator....


This reminds me of something that happened near me after our area lost power for several days in dead winter. Someone had their outside portable generator running to keep their boiler on only to wake up in the morning to a freezing house but still hear the engine running. When they went outside to check what was going on they found their lawnmower running where the generator once was! The thief broke into their shed and started their lawnmower up and stole the generator. With the homeowner hearing an engine they thought nothing of it.

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