Gas generators on a farm are dangerous for two reasons. One, they operate on gasoline, a highly flammable substance that does not need much to ignite it. Two, the combustible engine of a gas generator could combust in a very bad way and set your barns on fire. When your farm is too far from the nearest firefighting station, that is not something you want to take chances with. Here is how to install an electric standby generator that will work when you need it to and keep your farm from accidentally going up in flames.
Build a Cement Containment House for the Generator
The first step towards installing a commercial stand-by generator is to build a containment house for it. (Your portable gas generators can continue to run the power on the farm until you have fully installed the stationary standby unit.)
- The containment house should be as close to the transformer pole on your farm as it possibly can be. Allow enough width, depth and height to accommodate the generator and some wiggle room when you will need to perform maintenance on the generator in the future.
- You will probably need some assistance from a mason to create the flat and level floor needed to keep the generator stable and steady. Plan ahead, as this step will take at least a day.
- For the walls and ceiling of the containment house, you can use cinder blocks and mix your own cement. However, leave the roof and doorway open until you can install the standby generator.
- Hire an electrical contractor to install the generator. You can assist him or her with securing the generator to the cement floor and maybe help run wires up to the pole, but the rest of the electrical connections should only be handled by the electrician.
Install a door and the ceiling on the containment house. If the standby generator runs on gasoline or propane (some models do!), then make sure that it has enough ventilation to air out the gas or propane fumes and reduce the probability of accidental ignition of the air inside the containment house. Proper ventilation will also keep you and your farm hands, or a generators repair expert, from passing out when providing repairs and maintenance. It helps to keep the generator on empty too, unless you rely on it to provide power to your entire property all day, every day.