Unlocking the Codes, County by County

Since earning Select status as an Authorized Generac® Sales and Service Dealer, Bear Rock Electric, Inc. (BRE) has quickly been earning the trust and confidence of the residents of Howard, Carroll, Frederick Montgomery, Washington, and Baltimore Counties in Maryland.

Installation of generators is a particularly complicated electrical task, not only with regards to the installation process itself, but also making sure that the generator and installation meet all county electrical and fire codes.  It takes a thoroughly knowledged and trained Master Electrician to be aware of the codes relative to the county where the work is being done, and to ensure that the electrical installation satisfies those codes.

Each county in Maryland is unique in its requirements and each of BRE’s Union-trained electricians commands a thorough knowledge and expertise on each set of requirements.  The professionalism and expertise for which BRE has become synonymous saves customers time and money, ensuring that the installation will likely pass county inspection the first time around.  With a thorough knowledge of the electrical codes, BRE offers a full turn-key installation, for gas fittings to the generator and assisting customers with Propane alternatives.

BRE reminds consumers that when they are interviewing an Authorized Generac Dealer for their generator and installation, to:

  • Ask directly the Dealer about the specific codes for their County and how that will affect their installation
  • Call the county inspection office and ask if the Dealer has pulled permits for generator installations
  • Check the company out via the Better Business Bureau of Greater Maryland, and
  • Review previous Customer comments about their experience with the Dealer directly on the Generac website (www.generac.com).

Maryland’s Montgomery County and Baltimore County has some of the strictest generator codes in the state.  Since many of BRE’s clients, new and long-term, hail from Montgomery County, we thought it prudent to provide the following information on some of codes.

Site Plan Requirements for Installation of all New Aboveground Generators, Condensing Units and Fuel Tanks

Site Plan Requirements for Mechanical Permits

On April 1, 2009, the Department of Permitting Services began requiring a zoning review for setbacks based upon a site plan drawing showing the location of the above types of units.  Permit applicants for equipment that will be set on site are responsible for providing a site plan with the proposed location of the equipment.

Air conditioners, heat pumps, condensing units, aboveground generators of any type and above ground fuel tanks must meet setbacks in accordance with the Zoning Ordinance, Chapter 59 of the Montgomery County code.  A zoning review is required since the setbacks for these structures are dependent upon the zone in which the property is located.  Air Conditioners and heat pumps may not project more than 5 feet into any minimum front or rear yard.

For the purposes of this policy, new buildings and new additions being constructed and requiring a permit for ABOVEGROUND generators, condensing units and/or fuel tanks outside of the new building or new addition are required to provide a site plan showing the proposed location of the equipment and the distance from the property line to the equipment (not the pad on which it sits).  The site plan must be drawn to a common engineer’s scale so that we can determine if all of the setback requirements are being met for the unit(s) being installed.

REPLACEMENT of air conditioners, heat pumps, condensing units and aboveground generators and fuel tanks, or replacement of old components of existing units in the same location DO NOT require a site plan.  Units that are increasing the tonnage WILL REQUIRE a site plan.  Any air conditioners or heat pumps existing within any minimum side yard prior to July 27, 1982, may be continued and replaced.

The site plan drawing must be to scale and must show the location of the house in relation to the property lines, AND the location of the unit(S) in relation to the property lines.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who Must Submit A Site Plan In Order To Obtain A Permit?

Any applicant, who is obtaining a permit to set a unit or fuel tank on residential property, must submit a site plan with the permit application and undergo a zoning review if there was never a unit in place.  If the electrical contractor is only pre-wiring a unit and is not setting the unit then a site plan is not required.  If you replacing these units in kind, that is same tonnage and in the same exact location a site plan is not required.

What is a Site Plan?

A site plan is a document showing the location of the house with respect to the property lines, and it is generally signed and sealed by a Maryland licensed engineer or surveyor.  A site plan is usually drawn to a common engineer’s scale.  A homeowner will have received this document during the settlement process for the purchase of their home. If you do not have a copy, your Title Insurance Company may have a copy of the site plan.  A site plan is NOT a plat of your property.

When Do I Need A Site Plan?

You need a site plan for all new building and new additions being constructed and requiring a permit for ABOVEGROUND generators, condensing units and fuel tanks on the outside of a new building or new addition.  You must provide us with a site plan showing the proposed location of the equipment and the distances from the property line to the new equipment (not the pad on which the unit sits).

YOU DO NOT NEED A SITE PLAN if the new air conditioner, heat pump, condensing unit, aboveground generator of any type of aboveground fuel tank is replacing an existing unit in the same location or is located underground.

Drawings that show only the property boundaries will not be accepted for review.  The drawing must also show all building improvements and the setbacks from the building s and equipment to the property line.

You do not need a site plan if you are replacing an existing unit with a new unit and the new unit is in the SAME LOCATION, is the SAME TONNAGE, is INSIDE THE STRUCTURE, or is UNDERGROUND.

Set-Back Requirements

Set Back Requirements

Noise Standards

Things to consider when planning for the installation of an emergency standby electric generator:

  1. Purchase the quietest generator available.  It is much easier to start with equipment that can meet the standard than try to retrofit equipment with noise suppression features later.
  2. The physical location of the generator should be chosen to minimize noise impacts to both on-site occupants and all nearby neighbors.
  3. The general rule of thumb is every time you double the distance from a point noise source you get a corresponding 6 dBA drop in sound pressure.  Therefore, if the level is 62 dBA at 7m it would be 56 dBA at 14 m, and 50 dBA at 28 m, and so on.  Noise measurements are typically taken from a complainant’s closest property line.
  4. Schedule the recommended periodic testing of generators to occur at times when building occupants and nearby neighbors are least likely to be disturbed.
  5. The regulations grant a 2.5 dBA allowance for any possible inaccuracies in the sound meter or the operator.  The actual nighttime standard is therefore 57.5 dBA or lower.
  6. If distance is a restricting factor, consider constructing a noise barrier to reduce the sound. Several commercial “noise attenuation” or “acoustic enclosure” solutions are available.

For more information, email DEP at [email protected] or call 311.

Air Standards

In addition to noise concerns, be aware of the following air quality issues when purchasing or placing electric generators:

  1. Locate electric generators to minimize exhaust emissions impacts to on-site occupants and all nearby neighbors
  2. The Montgomery County Air Quality Ordinance, Chapter 3 of the Montgomery County Code, prohibits the discharge of any visible emission (exhaust smoke) from a generator into the atmosphere.
  3. Give careful consideration to the choices of fuel types (diesel, natural gas, or LP gas) available for your specific generator. There are advantages and disadvantages for each type fuel. Diesel powered generators might be cheaper to operate, but they typically produce more visible emissions and require a large fuel storage tank.

To learn more about the codes in your county, or to learn more about all of BRE’s on-site power generation capabilities, please contact us today at  888.688.9927, or complete our online inquiry form at “Contact Us” from our website https://bearrockelectric.com/contact/.