Moving and placing a standby generator is not an easy task. The units are heavy, with shipping weights that approach 600 pounds for 20 kilowatt generators, and more than 450 pounds for 10 kilowatt units. The weight is not balanced and the center of gravity is closer to one end or side of the generator.
If you’re going to move a generator yourself, you will need some lifting equipment and one other person, or four to eight physically-fit people with strong backs and good balance. The methods specified by different manufacturers are similar, but are not always exactly the same. Check your installation or owners manual for specifics.
- Don’t attempt to do the job alone. Have a helper who can watch the load and the surroundings while you operate the lifting equipment.
- Watch out for power lines and never allow the lifting equipment to contact them.
- Always lift the generator with lifting pipes inserted through the lifting holes. Don’t allow lifting cables or chains to contact the roof of the generator. Don’t attempt to lift the generator by the lifting eyes.
- Never lift the generator by the roof, which will damage the generator and void the warranty.
- Standby generators weigh between 350 and 600 pounds. Be certain the lifting equipment can handle the weight or that enough people are on hand to lift and move the unit.
Manual Lift Method
Manually lifting and moving a new generator unit requires at least four, physically fit people capable of lifting and carrying the load. Moving a 20 kilowatt generator with six people might require each person to lift and carry nearly 100 pounds of weight.
Lifting holes on the front and back of the generator accept a 3/4-inch or 5/8-inch piece pipe. Use two lengths of 60-inch-long, schedule-40, steel pipe inserted through the lifting holes. Locate more people on the heavier end or side so that the group as a whole bears the weight evenly. The pipes act as handles to allow lifting and carrying the generator unit.
Each person should lift using muscles in their legs, not in their back. Bend at the knees (squat), without bending at the back, and grasp the lifting pipe. When everyone is ready, lift the generator straight up and move it to the required location. Set the unit down the same way it was lifted―by bending at the knee and not at the back.
After the generator is resting in its final location, the pipes are withdrawn.
Lifting with Equipment
Insert a 42-inch-long piece of schedule-40 steel pipe into each pair of lifting holes. Secure the pipe in place with clamps. Attach lifting cables or chains to each pipe and to the hook on the hoist. Use a spreader bar between each pair chains or cables to prevent them from contacting the roof.
One person should operate the hoisting equipment while a second person observe the lift. The observer should watch for power lines and other obstructions while hoisting and moving the generator. Never attempt to lift a generator alone.
Move the generator to the final location, lower it and remove the lifting chains or cables and the pipes.