A machine with electric and gas lines laying on the ground and no pad for the generator. This is dangerous. The generator can move or shift from vibration and break the gas connection. On the right this installer didn't bother to seal the bottom of the high voltage transfer switch leaving it exposed to the elements and rodents. A clear code violation. These are common results from installers that tell you permits and inspections are not required. There is a reason they don't want an inspection.
On the left we have a system with a cheap gas flex pipe laying on the ground unsecured. On the right we have penetrations to a wall into a house for the electric runs. Notice the exposed wires. Also, the holes are not sealed.
Above left we see a commercial transfer switch with water pipes directly over the high voltage switch gear. Not only a code violation but a serious hazard if the pipes burst...which they did at this super market. On the right we see an open and exposed transfer switch mounted on an outside wall with the high voltage and low voltage wires laying on the ground. Also note the generator is less than 18" from the house which is a direct violation of fire safety standards.
We took these pictures during a service call. This residential system was at least $15,000. The generator exhaust (carbon monoxide) is surrounded by windows from the kitchen and family room. This is a huge safety concern. Second, the concrete pad is way out of level and the natural gas line is laying on the pad exposed. Better practices are shown below. A Perfectly level concrete pad located away from windows and doors. The gas and electric runs trenched and buried in conduit that come up through the concrete pad inside the generator.
If you see a substantial price difference between the generator contractors you are interviewing it is likely the low bidder is cutting corners or just doesn't know any better. The equipment is largely a commodity and the real expense is in the quality of the material, process, time, and experience. You won't notice at the time of installation but this is what you can expect a few years down the road when taking shortcuts. All these systems are located in the Greater Philadelphia area and were installed by non-alliance members. Sadly, this has become normal and we see it more and more as everyone jumps on the generator bandwagon.
It is always best when the budget allows to trench and bury electric and gas runs in conduit. If you can't trench and bury or the budget does not provide for that above we show the right way to run a gas line above ground. Hard pipe anchored to the wall and elevated. On the right we see electric runs in conduit and the penetrations through the wall completely sealed. For more best practices follow the link below to our Best Practices Page.
Tri-State Generator Alliance
Now lets take a look at better practices below.