Since the selection of a reputable power generator supplier, an experienced system designer and a responsible electrical installation contractor are major factors in providing a standby business or home power generator system, it would be advisable to pre-qualify their credentials and experience before enlisting their expertise. The following is offered to assist in that regard.

Who should I contact to learn more about natural gas standby generators?

  • A company or representative who has manufactured or marketed standby power generator equipment for a number of years.
  • A company or distributor who is recognized by the industry and/or local building departments as a supplier of quality generator system equipment.
  • A company whose sales force is knowledgeable regarding their generator product line, application and performance data, equipment characteristics, options available, delivery schedules, warranties, etc.

Who should I contact regarding standby generator system design and installation?

  • A company who can provide a reference list of past users or purchasers of similar generator equipment.
  • A company who has been installing generator systems for years (not weeks or months).
  • A company who has electricians who are factory trained and certified on staff, and/or who uses licensed, bonded and insured contractors to install the electrical and mechanical work. (Not a one man jack of all trades.)
  • A company who can be recommended by the generator equipment supplier or manufacturer as a firm familiar with their products.

What are some of the responsibilities of a licensed, bonded and insured electrical contractor to install a standby power generator and other system components?

  • Check existing equipment and load sizes to be connected into generator system.
  • Determine generator, automatic transfer switch and emergency panel locations.
  • Coordinate and supervise all phases of the generator installation.
  • When included as a part of the work scope and contract, provide a set of generator system design specifications, drawings or sketches to be used in the acquisition of all necessary construction permits.
  • Obtain all construction permits from the local municipality.
  • Acquire all necessary materials and equipment for the generator installation project.
  • Coordinate and supervise all subcontractors and tradesmen needed to complete the work.
  • Install a reinforced concrete pad to support the generator (wooden pads are not acceptable).
  • Provide factory certified electricians to install new system equipment, conduits, cabling and wiring making all connections as required. (Not a one man jack of all trades).
  • Electrically ground all equipment per code requirements to insure life safety and fire protection.
  • Identify, separate as necessary and transfer all existing circuits feeding proposed standby power generator loads, including multi-wire configurations and neutrals, to a dedicated emergency panel. Check and balance emergency panel loads.
  • Confirm proper standby power generator system tie-ins and coordination with the utility service connections. [Verification of this relationship is essential to prevent the possibility of the utility system backfeeding the generator. If this were to occur, an explosion could result causing severe property damage or injuries to its occupants.]
  • Perform factory recommended checkouts, startup and test procedures and complete generator adjustments as needed.

What are some of the responsibilities of a licensed, bonded and insured plumbing or HVAC contractor who is installing the fuel lines and ventilation for the generator?

  • Check gas meter and gas company service to insure the existing equipment and piping will deliver the required gas pressure and capacity to satisfy the needs of the natural gas power generator. Arrange for a gas system revision with the gas company if a change is warranted.
  • Provide industry certified pipefitters and other tradesmen to complete the mechanical work. (Not a one man jack of all trades.)
  • Size and install the proper gas piping, fittings and valving to deliver the necessary fuel to the generator.
  • Complete all necessary connections to the generator, test and make gas flow, pressure and/or other system adjustments as required.
  • Restore the premises to its original state.

What is the best way I can protect myself from receiving inferior work or equipment, or an unsatisfactory installation?

“PUT IT IN WRITING”

  1. The company who proposes to install a new natural gas standby power generator system for you should provide the following documentation:
    1. A detailed typed, written proposal specifying manufacturer, the generator size (in Kilowatts) and other descriptive information. It should also indicate the specific locations of each system component on your property.
    2. An outline of the specific power and lighting circuits to be transferred to the standby generator system.
    3. Payment terms for deposits and payout schedules.
  2. Prior to the installation, you should be provided with:
    1. A list of all contractors and subcontractors who will be working on your property.
    2. Copies of each contractor’s and subcontractor’s licenses and certificates of insurance.
    3. A building permit or permits from your local municipalities. Please note, it is NOT customary for the homeowner to obtain the building or construction permits. It IS the responsibility of the contractor or subcontractors to obtain the permits, assuming the contractor is authorized to do work in your town.
  3. Upon the completion of work (before you make a final payment), the contractor should also provide you with:
    1. Copies of inspection notices and a final inspection notice or certificate(s) from the governing building department.
    2. All equipment manufacturers’ documentation, including warranty information, operating and maintenance manuals.
    3. Final “Waivers of Lien” from ALL contractors and subcontractors who worked on your project.

Final payment should not be made until all the above items are completed.

End of STEP #1 – Purchaser’s Check List