Operating a Diesel generator set will result in a certain amount of noise (although steps can be taken to reduce this significantly) and diesel exhaust fumes. If possible, a location downwind of your home/business should be selected so diesel fumes are carried away from people and buildings by the prevailing winds. A reasonable distance between your home/business and the site of the generator enclosure, will (in combination with soundproofing measures)reduce any noise pollution.
Diesel generators are heavy and should sit on a solid, level surface. The ideal solution is to pour a reinforced concrete slab approx 4″ thick. The slab should be large enough for the generator and fuel tank to sit on. There should be sufficient room to walk around the generator (in order to service and maintain the machine) and for a block wall enclosure to be built around the generator (the fuel tank should not be placed inside this enclosure).
Prior to pouring the slab, a trench (18″ deep is ideal) should be dug between the generator slab and an access point adjacent to the mains electricity supply/distribution board in your building, close to where your transfer switch will be located. Pipe work should be laid of a sufficient size to accommodate the cables and generator control wires (minimum of 25mm cable per 100amps of supply). The pipe work should begin with a vertical feed through the slab and care should be taken to ensure that there are no 90 degree bends. Any bends should be gentle so cables will not jam or snag as they are pulled through. Whilst laying the pipe, you should run a length of strong rope through the pipe work, this will be used later to pull the generator cables through.
After pouring the concrete slab, a few inches of concrete should be poured along the trench on top of the pipe work prior to the trench being back filled. This will help prevent future cable damage.
Diesel generator sets are sensitive to extreme heat and moisture and need to be protected from excesses of both. The best way to achieve this is to build a custom enclosure around the generator set.
The design of the enclosure should allow for maximum airflow, whilst reducing the chance of moisture penetration. Moisture penetration into the alternator is one of the main causes of generator burn outs and can be avoided for the most part by enclosure design.
Simple block walls supporting a metal framed, tiled roof, is a good basic structure. The roof should be lined with heat reflective material to prevent excessive radiant heat penetration (painting the roof and walls white will also reflect some radiant heat). The eaves of the roof should descend as low as is practicable to prevent rainwater being blown into the enclosure in high winds. A wide door (30″ or 32″) should be fitted for operator access and maintenance.
Air is drawn in through the rear of a generator and expelled through the radiator at the front of a generator. To allow a sufficient volume of air to be drawn in through the generator enclosure, the final course of block work at the top of the block wall to the rear of the generator, should be of a decorative type with holes in the block. The generator will draw air through this course of block. The hot air expelled through the radiator should be channeled through a simple duct work arrangement between the face of the radiator and further decorative block work on the wall directly to the front of the generator. All decorative block work should be lined on the inside of the generator enclosure with fine plastic or metal mesh material to prevent insect penetration into the generator enclosure.
The walls, door and ceiling should be lined with sound absorbent material, this will significantly reduce the noise signature of the generator set. If noise continues to be a problem other solutions include; building a cavity wall as opposed to a single block wall, and/or fitting baffles around the decorative block (airflow in) and radiator (airflow out). These measures will reduce the noise signature further still. If noise reduction is an absolute priority, purchasing a generator in a silent canopy, then installing it within a block built and soundproof lined generator enclosure is the way to go.
Sufficient lighting and an additional mains power outlet should be fitted within the enclosure for the purpose of generator maintenance and service. If possible a water supply should be run to the outside of the enclosure and hosepipe fitted (for radiator top up).