Home & Garden

Plumber: Looking for some personal power

Q: Dear Ed: I've been thinking about installing a standby home generator ever since I read one of your columns on the topic. But, I have a small yard and want to know if residential standby generator can be installed in tight area.

– Bill, Florida

A: A residential standby home generator is not the same as a portable generator. Standby generators are professionally installed to a home's electrical system, run on natural gas or propane and turn on automatically in the event of a power failure. They're available in different sizes and can power up selected circuits or even the entire home.

Permits need to be pulled with your local building inspector's office before starting a standby generator job. Town or city officials can decide if your lot meets local approval codes.

For tight areas, manufacturers do offer corrosion-resistant aluminum enclosures that usually can be installed closer to the home to save space. Contacting a professional installer/dealer up front to walk the property can generate additional information on whether or not a standby generator is a good fit for your home.

Master Contractor/Plumber Ed Del Grande is known internationally as the author of the book "Ed Del Grande's House Call," the host of TV and Internet shows, and a LEED green associate. Visit eddelgrande.com or write eadelg@cs.com. Always consult local contractors and codes.