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Yes, no, and maybe — how’s that for a clear-as-mud answer?

There are several things to consider when deciding if installing a home generator is project you can undertake yourself. These include:

    • Do you consider yourself to be “handy”? In answering this, think about the following:
      • Am I comfortable working with basic hand tools such as shovels, saws, hammers, and screwdrivers? These are basic skills you will need to create a suitable base onto which you will install your generator.
      • In some localities, you are required to install your generator on a concrete slab. If that applies to you, ask yourself: Am I comfortable mixing and working with concrete? None of this is especially difficult, but you need to be honest with yourself. Let’s face it:  Sometimes, it is just easier to write a check and have “things” done for you!
  • Do you have basic understanding of electrical wiring? In many areas, you can apply for electrical permits and do the work yourself. You are still required to have your work inspected and approved, and you should definitely not view the inspector as “the enemy.” To the contrary, the vast majority of inspectors are knowledgeable, helpful people who want nothing more than to make sure your home is safe. We’ll post more about inspectors elsewhere on this site.
  • What about gas work? Your generator will be powered by either natural gas or LP vapor (Propane). You need to understand how to do that work, too. Remember, a “mechanical” permit will almost certainly be required, along with the usual inspections.
Many localities won’t let you get anywhere near electrical and gas work. If that is the case where you live, you can still handle much of the time consuming and labor intensive work, such as preparing the installation area (e.g., concrete slab or gravel-filled wooden frame), and setting the generator in place.

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