Permit or Not to Permit

Building permit for generator installation

One can certainly understand why homeowners wouldn’t want to involve their municipality in the installation of their home generator.  Besides the obvious hassle of getting the permit, there is also the cost of the permit and the fact that you have to have a licensed electrician install the generator in order to get said permit.  And then there are inspections which can extend the time that the contractor is at your home which can be inconvenient for some people.

But there is another reason that you should get a permit when you have a standby generator installed for your home.  Resale. If selling your home without inspection issues is important to you, then read on.

When you sell your home, you will necessarily have to get a home inspection.  According to members of the National Association of Home Inspectors, the number one reason that a home with a generator fails their inspection is the lack of a permit sticker.  Inspectors note that 80% of the time they inspect a home with a generator there it was installed without a permit.

If this is the case, then you will need to get your generator inspected by your city or village authorities so you can pass your home sale inspection.  No pass, no sale.  Further, you may have to pay penalties and/or have the generator removed in order to make your sale go through.  No one likes to wait weeks or months to find a perfect buyer for their home only to have that hard-earned sale derailed by a failed home inspection.

The other reason your generator may fail inspection is due to signage that is missing.  Signs are required by the NEC to be on or at the service equipment:

702.7 Signs.
(A) Standby. A sign shall be placed at the service-entrance
equipment that indicates the type and location of on-site optional standby power sources. A sign shall not be required for individual unit equipment for standby illumination.

So, by saving money when you have your generator installed initially without a permit and a licensed electrician, you may incur even greater expenses when you go to sell your home and your home cannot pass the sales inspection.

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