How Far Should Generator Be From The House? – [Safe Distance]

The purpose of this article is to answer your burning queries like “How far should generator be from the house?”, what things should we consider before the placement and Is it safe to place the generator near the window?

To keep the deadly gases and extreme noise levels away from the house a generator needs to be placed at least 20 – 25 ft. far from the house. As per the research of the NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology) and CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), the improper placement of the generator could lead to serious illness or even death in the worst cases.

How Far Should Generator Be From The House?

How Far Should Generator Be From The House?

As we have discussed above that the generator should be at least 20 – 25 ft. away from the house depending on the type and size of the generator you own.

As most of the standby machines consist of a decent enclosure and a proper exhaust management system to emit harmful fumes to a safer area, however in the case of portable machines there is no proper enclosure unless you have an inverter generator.

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

Before the placement of your standby generator make sure to read the user manual first.

As a general thumb rule a whole house machine should be placed at least 8 – 10ft away from the widow, however, if you are going to place it near the plane wall, 4 – 5 ft clearance will be enough.

Below are the things that should be taken into account before the placement of the whole-house generator.

Read the User Manual:

Before the generator’s placement makes sure to read the user manual and strictly follow the instructions provided by the manufacturers.

Exhaust Positioning:

Exhaust positioning should be in the opposite direction to the house/window so that the dangerous fumes and excessive noise levels couldn’t enter the house at any cost.

Place the Generator as Per Its Size:

Larger machines of 20 – 30Kw are a bit roar compared to the smaller machines of 10 – 15 kW, if you have purchased a larger machine make sure to place it at least 10 – 12ft away from the house so that there will be no noise inside the house.

Follow the Local building, Fire Safety, Air Quality, and Noise levels Laws:

  • Follow the Generator permits and placement laws

For E.g.

  • The generator should emit minimum noise levels or it should at least comply with the Noise level standards of the area where you are living. If you are living in New York I highly encourage you to follow the NYC Guide about the Noise laws to avoid heavy fines.
  • Follow the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) codes or grant permission from them before installing the generator.
  • To protect the environment from hazardous gases the generator should be certified by the California Air Resources Board (CARB), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), or at least should follow the local state laws.
  • If you are living in a building or apartment make sure to follow the local building codes before installing the generator. You can also contact the local building officer to smoothen the process.

How Far Can a Portable Generator Be From the House?

The recommended clearance from the portable generator to the house is 20 – 25ft, however below are some of the factors that should be considered before the placement.

Exhaust Position:

Due to the emissions of harmful fumes/gases and extreme noises from the exhaust, its proper positioning is very important, we recommend keeping the exhaust side in the opposite direction to the house, however, if you can’t do that for valid reasons, make sure to place it at least 25 to 30 feet away from the window.

Generator Enclosure:

If the generator has a proper enclosure like a standby machine you can place it slightly nearer compared to the open frame machines. We also have written a detailed guide about building a sound proof enclosure for a portable generator make sure to have a look if you really need one for your machine.

Noise Levels and Air Quality:

The selected portable generator should comply with the standard of CARB and EPA and also should emit noise between 64 – 70 dB(A) from 20ft at 40 -60% load.

In case your machine is too loud make sure to build a soundproof box for it or place it a bit far (30 – 35ft) so that the noise couldn’t enter the house.

Cord Quality and Size:

The extremely long low-quality cord will hurt the power flow and as a result, you will find a drastic power drop or surging.

We recommend limiting the power cord to 18 – 20 meters. Also, make sure to purchase a thick high-quality cord that not only lasts longer but also provides maximum output with minimum losses.

Place the Generator on a Leveled Surface:

A rough Uneven surface may resist the engine oil to lubricate each corner of the engine as a result some essential parts of the engine may wear down.

Though some of the modern machines have a dipper that splashes the engine oil to every corner and part of the engine to make sure the very corner of the engine should remain lubricated during the operation, still we recommend allotting an even surface to your machine.

How Far Should a Generator Be From an RV/Camper?

As a general thumb rule a generator should be at least 18 – 20 ft. away from the RV’s/Camper’s windows, also the exhaust should point in the opposite direction.

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

Depending on the type of generator you own, typically a standby generator should be placed 5 – 12ft away, however, the portable machine should be at least 20 – 25ft away from the window.

Where Should the Exhaust Position of the Generator?

We recommend keeping the exhaust direction opposite to the house so that there will be no chance to enter the toxic gas into the house.

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

Due to the perfect enclosure and exhaust mechanism, the Generac standby generator needs minimum (3 -5 feet) clearance from the house (source).

However, In the case of open farm or portable Generac generators you have to follow the general law of placing the generator at least 20 – 25ft. away from the house.

Final Words

Improper placement of the generator not only fills your house with extreme noise but also with carbon monoxide that can cause serious illness or even death. We recommend installing a CO detector in your house.

In addition to that, before making a buying decision make sure to cross-check the machine with the local building laws and look for the features like low noise levels, safety certifications, etc.

Hope we have cleared your queries about how far should a generator be placed and what things should be considered before the placement of the standby or portable generator.

Frequently Asked Questions – FAQs

Can You Put a Generator Next to Your House?

Yes, but the clearance between the house and the generator should be at least 5 – 6 feet if you own a standby machine; however, for portable generators, 20 – 25ft is the recommended clearance.

Is It Safe to Have a Generator Close to the House?

No, as you might know, the generator emits carbon monoxide (a silent killer) that can enter the house from the exhaust system and can cause serious illness or even death in the worst cases.

As per the Report of CPSC (Consumer Product Safety Commission), 85 consumers die every year in the USA due to the poisoning of the CO (carbon monoxide) emitted from gasoline portable generators.

How Far Can a Generator Be From the Main Panel?

50 – 60 ft. is considered a safe distance between the main panel and the generator.

How Close Can a Generator Be to a Wall?

If there is no window or access to the dangerous fumes or noise, you can place it 5 – 8 ft. away from the plane wall, however, if there is a window make sure to place it between 20 to 25 ft. away.

NOTE: Placement of the generator also depends on the type of machine you are going to purchase, as a standby generator can be placed near the wall or even a window with opposite-faced exhaust; however the portable generators need more clearance because of the higher noise and unsafe exhaust system.



Kashif has been a valuable asset to the electric generator industry for over 5 years. Now, As a skilled energy engineer, he’s been on the front lines of diagnosing problems, fixing broken parts, and performing routine maintenance tasks to keep generators running smoothly.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *