It is sometime in the middle of July, there is a strong category three hurricane barreling down on Broward County with Fort Lauderdale being forecasted for landfall. The storm is currently four days away, so it may shift a little but a Broward County landfall is going to happen for sure. I’m in my office helping field the phone calls coming in from people wanting to install whole home generators. This is where it gets ugly…
Client: “Do you install whole home generators?”
Me: “Yes, we do! When would you like us to come out for an assessment?”
Client: “I don’t want an assessment, I want you to install a generator on my home now.”
Me: (Mentally giggling) “Sir, the process to install a whole home generator after the assessment takes anywhere up to twelve weeks.”
Client: “What??? I want a generator before this storm hits!!!”
Me: “I wish we could do that sir, it is simply not possible. There is a step by step process that must be followed to install a whole home generator, and again, the process can take up to twelve weeks to execute. When would you like to us to come out and begin the process?”
Client: “I’m going to make some other calls, someone must be able to install a generator now.”
Me: “Good luck Sir, stay safe throughout the storm and if you’d like to discuss an installation after the storm has passed please call us back. Have a nice day.”
Sadly, the above conversation is not fiction; I have had it multiple times over the years. So, let’s break down the process of installing a generator on your home:
• Site Visit. We need to look at the job site conditions to determine where (and if) the generator can be installed, where the propane tank can be installed, how much electrical work will need done, how much gas piping will need to be done, and is there enough space that the generator can have a ten-foot invisible bubble around it. Generators must be located 10’ from any operable door or window and 10’ from the property line.
- Sign contract, get site plan, collect $500 and fill out all the paperwork for the permit.
- Verify with your HOA (if applicable) that you can have a generator.
- Submit permit paperwork to the city. Let the fun begin!! The permit will be reviewed by the zoning department, the electrical department, the plumbing department, the fire department and the structural department. All those departments are different people and I promise you this is going to take some time for them to review.
- City rejects permit. It happens every time someone in one of the departments says, “I don’t like this _____________ “(fill in the blank). Permit status = rejected.
- Pick-up permit from city, make whatever changes they want, resubmit.
- Repeat last three steps at least one more time.
- Pick-up approved permit while doing a small happy dance.
- Collect 50% deposit and order the generator.
- Three to five days later your generator arrives. Do second happy dance.
- Schedule installation with gas company and client.
- About ten hours later, on the day of installation, start and test generator for proper function. Do third happy dance.
Well, doesn’t this sound like fun?? The answer is no, no it does not. Installing a whole-home generator is not a fun process; however, not having air conditioning or power for a week after a hurricane is much less enjoyable – wouldn’t you agree?
Hopefully you now understand the process of installing a generator for your home and please don’t be surprised if I giggle at you if you ask me to install a generator tomorrow.
Until we meet again my friends, stay safe.
House Whisperer out!!