Can You Put a Standby Generator On the Roof?

When working from the roof on the second or third story of a home, power tools will need the use of an extension cord. Rooms, once occupied, may also need additional power backup in case of a grid failure. If you place a standby generator on the roof, it seems that this is a solution to these issues. But can you do this safely? Find out below.

Where should I place my standby generator?

Placing the standby generator on the roof may seem like a good idea, but this presents some safety risks. The standby generator should be placed on a level surface that is at least 10 feet away from the house. This will minimize the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning in the event of a leak. It is also important to make sure that the standby generator is properly grounded and that all electrical connections are made by a qualified electrician.

If the standby generator is located on the ground, it can be connected to the main breaker box through the use of a transfer switch. This will ensure that only circuits that are needed are powered and that the standby generator does not overload the system.

Never position the generator beneath any kind of roof or inside any type of building where exhaust gases might gather. Manufacturers often recommend that generators are kept outdoors and at least five feet from doors, windows, vents, and any combustible material.

How far can a standby generator be from the house?

It’s generally recommended that the generator be at least 5 feet away from your property line and 18 inches away from the side of your house. The generator must be at least five feet away from any window or entrance, as required by manufacturer requirements and local legislation.

Can we place a generator on a terrace?

A diesel generator erected on a terrace may violate regulations of your nation’s building code. So that it doesn’t jeopardize the building’s structural integrity, the generator may need to be moved to the bottom level right away.

How far from a house should a generator be?

A generator should be set at a distance of around 20 feet from a house.

Recommended Standby Generators

Champion 8.5-kW Home Standby Generator with 50-Amp Outdoor-Rated Automatic Transfer Switch

Generac Guardian 24kW Home Standby Generator with PWRview Transfer Switch Wi-Fi Enabled

Generac 6998 Guardian Series 7.5kW/6kW Air Cooled Home Standby Generator with 8 Circuit 50 Amp Transfer Switch

Related Questions and Answers

Can a DG set be installed in the basement?

The basement, rooftop, ground floor, and the front or rear of the building should be the last places where gensets are installed. Gensets are not safe to run indoors or in enclosed areas due to the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. In any event, there should be no disruption to the public in any way.

What is the life of a DG set?

From 10,000 to 30,000 hours of service, diesel generators are typically expected to endure. This often translates to 20-25 years of continuous usage.

How to install an automatic standby generator in a house?

This video should help explain:

What should you not do with a generator?

Indoor usage is strictly prohibited and a battery-powered carbon monoxide detector should be installed in the vicinity. Always keep the generator as cool as possible while running or storing it. Use caution if it’s raining or humid, and avoid handling it with moist hands.


Simply working on a roof presents serious safety risks, most notably falling from height and causing severe injury. Hauling up and using a generator on a roof may complicate the situation more and endanger people below. It is best to add extension cords to power tools and run them from ground-level power connections.

The “can you put a generator on the roof?” question is one that many people have been asking. Some people have found it difficult to get their generators up on the roof, but there are some ways to do it safer than others.

Related Tags

  • backup generator regulations
  • standby generator installation instructions
  • rooftop generator installation
  • standby generator placement
  • generator placement requirements

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James Sylvester
About James Sylvester

James S. Sylvester is an experienced OSHA Safety Supervisor with years of experience in the construction and oil & gas industries. He focuses on workplace safety, occupational health and safety systems. Learn more about James' here or connect with him on Twitter