Backup Generator Regulations Homeowners Should Know | Dillon, SC

Backup Generator Regulations Homeowners Should Know | Dillon, SC

Power outages can leave people stranded, and if you are not prepared, you start counting every minute until power is restored. After such an experience, most people will rush off to buy an emergency generator. And while finding the right generator for your home is not as easy as it sounds, you will also need to consider the local rules and regulations for generators.

Generators can be a safety hazard and have the potential for electric shocks, fires and air pollution, and poisoning.

Thus, laws are in place to protect people and properties from the dangers of improper generator usage. This blog post outlines some regulations you must comply with when installing a generator in Dillon, SC home.


Depending on where you live, noise pollution by a backup generator is something you cannot overlook. If you need to run your generator close to a school, hospital, church, or quiet zone, you must take extra precautions.

Most localities have noise ordinances prohibiting noise above certain sound levels and during certain hours of the day. It would help if you also considered how the noise would affect your neighbors, and you can’t place a generator too close to the property line.

Generations’ sound levels differ, and diesel fuel types are usually the loudest. The size of the generator also matters, as more giant machines make more noise. Noise reduction devices are available for some generators but do not completely silence the engine. You cannot use noise reducers on air-cooled generators as these can obstruct the airflow.

Emissions/Air Quality

Because most backup generators use some kind of fossil fuel to generate electricity, they can emit various air pollutants. Carbon monoxide, formaldehyde, methanol, and nitrogen oxide are just a few of the poisonous gasses that the EPA regulates.

Carbon monoxide is probably the most poisonous among them. Each year, 430 people die due to accidental carbon monoxide poisoning, while another 50,000 persons end up in the emergency department.

Federal and local regulations limit the running hours of a generator to 100 to 500 hours a year, depending on the state, to reduce the number of emissions by backup generators. The regulations also require that the emissions of commercial generators and some large residential generators are closely monitored.

If you have an older generator, you will need a generator specialist to determine if the unit complies with modern emission standards. Some states even ban the use of specific backup generators. So always be sure to check with your local generator installation company.


If you think you can put your generator anywhere you like, you need to think again. The NFPA 110 has precise standards on where a backup generator can be placed.

Regulations may differ from state to state, but a backup generator should not be placed near windows. They must be in a well-ventilated space and close to the main electric panel.

There should be no obstructions around it for easy access and maintenance. Depending on the size, you must place your generator on a concrete platform and ensure it is safely secured.

Fuel Storage

A natural gas generator must be connected to the local utility line. If the supply is disrupted, this could be a problem during a natural disaster.

To store diesel or propane gas, you need to know the maximum quantity you can store onsite. You can obtain permits if you need to store more than the maximum amount allowed, but you will need to have special tanks or dedicated spaces just for storage.

Keeping combustible fuels in a storage shelter that is not connected to the house and is a considerable distance away from it and anything that can easily catch fire is recommended. Except if you own a large property, this might not be a viable solution.


After considering all of the above points, you will need to obtain several permits before you can have your backup generator installed. Except for small portable generators, you might need a building, air quality, electrical, and fire permit.

Some localities have stricter guidelines than others, and it can be challenging to know which permits you must apply for. Fortunately, most generator installation companies offer to guide you through the process and ensure nothing is overlooked, and everything is in keeping with the many ordinances.

Even if you just want to buy a small portable generator for your power tools, it is a good idea to ask a generator specialist if there are any regulations you need to know about. The last thing you want is a complaint from your neighbors about the noise. Failure to comply with regulations can have severe implications and penalties.


The NFPA 110 also outlines the minimum requirements for backup generator maintenance. Among the essential requirements are regularly running the generator to ensure it works as required, periodic servicing by a licensed technician, and checking the fuel and oil quality.

Keeping the generator free of dust and debris and protecting it from the elements are things you need to put on your maintenance checklist.

Mister Sparky Generators Makes Things Easier for You

While these laws and regulations are necessary for the safe use of backup generators, keeping up with the various new requirements can be challenging for a homeowner in Dillon, SC. That is why you need a generator expert like Mister Sparky Generators. We have been in the generator installation business for several years and closely follow new trends and regulations.

All our electricians are trained and licensed, and we ensure they know all the ins and outs of federal and local generator laws. We are here for you if you want a new generator or need generator repairs and maintenance. Contact us at Mister Sparky Generators for more information on our various services and products in Dillon, SC.

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