Your Generac generator needs to be placed far enough from your air conditioner that it cannot damage the outside unit and it should also comply with regulations.
A standby generator can be quite useful during extended power outages or to power your appliances.
When standby generators produce the backup power, they also produce potentially harmful and corrosive by-products like carbon monoxide.
For this reason, you should consider all the regulations and place your Generac generator a safe distance from your air conditioner (AC).
The benefits of having a standby generator
Backup or standby generators are automatic power sources during extended power outages. These generators are often installed outside the house in the same way that the outside unit of an HVAC system would be, and they are powered by your home’s natural gas or propane line.
The main benefits of having one of these standby generators as opposed to a dissimilar type of generator, is that these generators can power your whole home and its appliances for as long as you need it to. On top of that, they will start whether you are at your home or not.
Generac generator distance from air conditioner
Since these whole-home generators, like Generac generators, can be so beneficial during periods when the electricity supply to your home is interrupted, many homeowners choose to invest in a standby generator so that they can continue living their normal lives even when they experience power outages.
As a result, many homeowners purchase their standby generators initially, because they plan in advance to have enough emergency power to continue running their air conditioners (and possibly other appliances) from the power that this type of generator provides.
However, this can be problematic, because the placement of a standby generator is incredibly important and can influence how your air conditioner functions when the generator and the air conditioner have to work at the same time.
When a standby generator is working, it produces carbon monoxide gas as a by-product from the process whereby the natural or propane gas is used to generate power.
This carbon monoxide gas can be dangerous to inhale, which is why there are regulations about how far away the Generac generator needs to be installed from permanent structures.
However, even though the external unit of your air conditioner is not a permanent structure, the by-products that the generator produces can still be corrosive and can damage your air conditioner’s casing.
The air conditioner unit can also potentially block proper airflow to the Generac generator, which is why you should try to maintain a distance of approximately 36 inches between the AC unit and the generator, like you would with any other obstructions like shrubbery and vegetation.
Considerations for the placement of your Generac generator
There are various regulations and codes that you have to adhere to when you install a standby generator like a Generac generator. This includes stipulations like NFPA 37 section 4.1.4, which states that the generator should be:
- At least five feet away from any openings to your home, like windows, doors, exhausts, or intake vents
- At least 10 feet away from your propane tank
There are also local district-specific rules and recommendations from your manufacturer, like the 36 inches of clearance that Generac specifies for the area surrounding the generator and the 18 inches of clearance from combustible materials, which you need to consider when you decide where you are going to place your Generac generator.
What to do if your generator is too close to your air conditioner unit
Although it is good practice to get a carbon monoxide detector for the inside of your home when you have a Generac generator, it can be quite difficult to detect the effects that these corrosive gasses have on your air conditioner over long periods of time.
This is why it is vital that you install a deflector for the vent of your Generac generator if you feel that it is too close to your air conditioner, or that you move the generator altogether.
Other elements that can influence the installation of a Generac generator
Aside from considering the potential damage to your air conditioner, there are also other factors that you should consider before you install a Generac generator. The weather in your area for instance is one of them, and the layout of your home.
Areas with a lot of shrubbery or trees may prevent exhaust fumes from dissipating, but harsh winds or rains can force these fumes back into your home or put you at risk of causing a fire.
You should also try to optimise the flow of gas to the generator so that it is reduced to the shortest possible distance to save energy.