Where Should A Diesel Or Petrol Generator Be Placed?

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The new generator in position and awaiting wiring to connect it to the client’s power system.

South Africans are a bunch of resilient people, and we usually get through the storm together. But Eskom’s snip-snapping the loadshedding schedule is enough to let the best of us go off our rockers! Luckily, there’s always a silver lining. Backup electricity solutions come in many shapes and sizes, with diesel or petrol generators being the most accessible. Generators help many of us through the darkest hours, even earning an affectionate nickname: gennies.

While the whirring, purring, and (if it’s poorly maintained) rattling sound of generators has become a familiar tune around the neighbourhood, the skill of installing generators certainly isn’t commonplace.

Firstly, did you know that a licensed electrician is required to carry out generator installations? Secondly, were you aware that generator installations in South Africa must adhere to the South African National Standard (IS0 SANS 8528 series of standards)? Thirdly, you can’t pick and choose where you place your generator! Here are some critical guidelines to consider when deciding where to position your generator:

Don’t box the generator in.


Always use a generator in a well-ventilated area to avoid the risk of carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning from the engine exhaust. CO is an ominous gas that leads to many deaths each year. The odourless gas replaces the oxygen in the bloodstream, leaving the body starved of oxygen. Symptoms vary from person to person, ranging from shortness of breath and dizziness to fatigue and headache. CO can even harm an unborn baby and negatively affect pets. Never place your generator in your home, and don’t run it in your garage, under carports or near windows. Ensure the exhaust is higher than the house roof so the wind can carry fumes away.

Keep your generator on solid ground.


Generators involve large industrial-size engines and alternators. They are quite heavy! The machine needs to be on a level surface that can handle the impact of the weight over time. Since you are obliged to keep the generator at least 5 metres from a dwelling, it’s a good idea to pinpoint and prepare an allocated spot in advance. If your property doesn’t have a suitable flat-surfaced area, fix a small, reinforced slab for the generator to be mounted on top.

Keep your generator dry.


Water and generators aren’t friends. Any kind of moisture – including mist – can cause damage to your generator. Even minor damage can increase the potential for injury or costly repairs. Keep your power source safe in wet conditions and ensure it’s positioned on an always-dry surface. A weather cover or steel enclosure could be your answer, as long as the generator is housed under a well-ventilated canopy-like structure. It’s best to talk to your certified electrician about the most appropriate option for your specific needs.




It’s one thing to invest in a generator. Having it correctly and safely connected to your building’s electrical circuit is something entirely different. As registered electricians, S&A Generators is licensed to source and fully install new and used generators in KwaZulu-Natal. We’re capable of relocating and installing some of the biggest generators around, and we’ll even advise you on the best generator covering for your specific generator. Contact us for light in the darkness.

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