In response to the recent storm damage caused by Hurricane Irene and the Halloween snow, there has been a considerable increase in the number of generators being permanently installed in residential homes.  With the increased reliance on electricity to power everything from lights, computers, phones, internet, televisions, to refrigerators, freezers, stoves, and furnaces, downed power lines can be a nightmare. Spoiled food can be the least of the problems when homeowners are faced with flooding because the sump-pump no longer works.

With the uncertainty and extreme weather of recent months, and with winter upon us, installing a generator may ensure a continued supply of electricity during power outages. With this in mind, the Livingston Township Building Department has issued the following guidelines to help residents fulfill the requirements needed to install a generator at home.

Prior to installation, residents will need to obtain a permit from the Building Department for all permanent generators. Generators cannot be located in the front of the home. As most generators are installed outside and are loud, please consider a location that will not disturb your neighbors. Remember that generators emit carbon monoxide so be sure to place it far enough away from windows, and any other fresh air intakes. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to ensure the generator is installed correctly and safely.

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Generators can be run with fuels such as natural gas, propane, or diesel, but remember, during a storm deliveries may not be possible if you run out of propane or diesel. Therefore, natural gas may be the best option for an uninterrupted supply. If residents choose to use natural gas, a plumbing riser diagram is needed to show the size and length of the gas pipe to ensure adequate fuel supply to the generator. This information will be available from your plumber. When installing a residential generator, it must be sized properly to carry the desired load. Your electrician will be able to supply the load calculation required for the permit.

Residents are invited to contact the Building Department with any questions by telephone: 973-535-7957, option #4, or email: building@livingstonnj.org. Alternatively, visit the township website at http://www.livingstonnj.org and click Building Dept in the left hand column to access building information, applications, and checklists.