How to hook up a portable generator to a house

How to Hook Up a Portable Generator to a House

Power outages can happen anytime due to natural disasters, electrical issues, or other reasons. At times like this, having a portable generator can be a lifesaver. It can help you keep your essential appliances running and provide light in the dark. However, hooking up a portable generator to a house can be complicated if you don't know how to do it safely. In this article, we'll guide you through the process step by step.

Choose the Right Generator

The first step to hooking up a portable generator to a house is to choose the right generator. The generator's size and capacity should be adequate to meet your power needs during an outage. Determine the wattage of the appliances you want to run and add them up. You can find this information on the appliance's manual or by checking the label on the back or bottom of the appliance. Once you have a total wattage, add 20% to cover any power surges that may occur.

For example, if you want to run a refrigerator (700 watts), a TV (300 watts), and a few lights (100 watts), your total wattage would be 1100 watts. Adding 20% would give you a total wattage of 1320 watts. Therefore, you should look for a generator with a capacity of at least 1500 watts.

Choose the Right Extension Cords

The next step is to choose the right extension cords. You should use heavy-duty, outdoor-rated extension cords that are designed for generators. The cords should be long enough to reach from the generator to the appliances you want to power. Avoid using multiple cords as they can cause voltage drops and overheating.

Connect the Generator to the Transfer Switch

A transfer switch is an electrical device that allows you to connect your generator to your house's electrical system safely. You should never connect your generator directly to your home's wiring or plug it into a wall outlet. Doing so can cause backfeeding, which can damage your appliances or electrocute someone working on the utility lines.

A transfer switch isolates your home's electrical system from the utility lines and allows you to power specific circuits during an outage. You should hire a licensed electrician to install a transfer switch if you don't have one already.

Connect the Generator to the Transfer Switch

To connect your generator to the transfer switch, follow these steps:

  1. Start by turning off all the circuit breakers in your electrical panel.
  2. Plug your extension cord into the generator's outlet.
  3. Run the cord through a window or door that's close to your electrical panel.
  4. Plug the other end of the cord into the inlet on your transfer switch.
  5. Turn on the circuit breaker that powers your transfer switch.
  6. Start your generator and let it warm up for a few minutes.
  7. Flip the switch on your transfer switch to the generator position.
  8. Turn on the circuit breaker for the circuit you want to power.

You can repeat this process for each circuit you want to power during an outage. However, keep in mind that you should never overload your generator or exceed its capacity. If you're unsure about how much power you need, consult with an electrician before hooking up your generator.

Care and Maintenance

To ensure that your generator runs smoothly and safely, you should perform regular maintenance and care. Here are some tips:

  • Read and follow the manufacturer's instructions carefully.
  • Run your generator at least once a month to keep it in good condition.
  • Store your generator in a dry, cool place when not in use.
  • Check and change the oil and air filters regularly.
  • Inspect your extension cords for signs of wear and tear and replace them if damaged.
  • Keep your generator away from combustible materials such as gasoline or propane tanks.

How To Hook Up A Portable Generator To A House

Hooking up a portable generator to a house can provide peace of mind during power outages. However, it's important to follow safety precautions and use the right equipment. Make sure you choose the right generator size, extension cords, and transfer switch. Hire an electrician if necessary and perform regular maintenance and care to keep your generator running smoothly. With these tips, you can safely and efficiently hook up your portable generator to your house.