How to Connect a Portable Generator to House?

Updated On: January 5, 2021
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The uses of portable generators are increasing by the day. These days you can find portable generators ranging from the small 2000-watt generators to the bigger monsters like the 12000-watt generators. Then, you also have inverter generators, which are basically upgraded portable generators. However, there are several distinctions between a convention generator and an inverter one. We recently discussed that topic extensively, figuring which one is targeted for who. Check the article here.

A generator comes in handy when there’s a blackout or power outage. Especially in places where power cut is typical, generators see a high demand for houses, offices, farms, and whatnot. The whole house generators are targeted for family houses while the others are targeted for other scenarios like farming, office spaces, and single apartments.

Connect Portable Generator to Your Home

Although portable generators can be potentially dangerous if not handled correctly. CO poisoning is the most common danger. Be sure to check out the “General generator safety tips.

So, how do you connect a portable generator to your house?

Find the main appliances you require during a power cut

You can’t run each and every accessory you have during a blackout. Well, technically, you can, but we are taking insanely hideous range diminishing returns. You will have to choose which equipment you cannot do without and prioritize. Generators with 2500-3500 watts can handle Fans, lights, fridge, and TV relatively well. Check the label on the generator to figure out its power rating. The power rating on the label implies that it can provide that certain amount of power for half a day with a single tank of fuel.  Starting power is also necessary because some motor-driven accessories require extra power to start, and it’s essential that you have your calculations right. A power calculator can go a long way. Fortunately for you, there are amazing free calculators online that you can use to calculate both running power and starting power for you.

Create a list of equipment you will be using

After you have figured out which accessories and equipment you can’t do without, make a list, and check their power ratings. As rough estimates, bulbs may require 120 watts, and microwaves may need somewhere around 1500-watts. Fridges use somewhere around 1500 watts, and TVs require power in the lower 1000-watt range. Again, a power calculator will do all these for you, so let’s not go too deep into the details.

Selecting the Right Wiring System

While there are many wiring systems you can go for while connecting your generator to your house, there are only two main ones that we will discuss in this article. There are matters of legality. Contact a power company or a professional to determine if its legal in your area or not.

The interlock kit: Easily to install and cheap. The only issue with these is that they might be illegal in your area. They are illegal in many places and supposedly unsafe. The installation procedure must be done with care, and the safe installation requires additional spaces in the existing breaker box. If you do not have one, you must get one, and the installation of the breaker box requires the help of an expert. Make sure that the breaker box you are getting is compatible with your interlock kit. It’s essential.

Transfer SwitchYou can go for the manual transfer switch, but the thing with a transfer switch is that it requires a professional installation. The equipment is a little bit on the pricier side. It adds a buck load of safety to the generator usages and will help you keep away from potential accidents in the future.

Also, install an inlet box hook up; it will be placed outside your house. It will have connectors with prongs (stick out prongs), which will connect to whatever system you have installed in your home. Likewise, the installation needs the touch of an expert.

We recently wrote an article on the transfer switch, which will help you understand the nitty-gritty of things.

Click Here to read it.

Ensure Safety

While surfing the internet, you will come across a lot of safety tips and instructions. Not all of them are verified and safe. Some of them might put you at risk. Always take advice from experts and especially the city specialists and electric workers. Most of the things that we are discussing in this article should be not attempted by yourself if you have never done these before. Do not end up putting yourself and your family in danger just so save some bucks. Be smart, be wise, and think things through.

Get everything tested

If you are new to this kind of work, make sure you check with an expert to ensure everything is plugged incorrectly. Back feeding is also a potential danger that you should read up on. Read the articles on back feeding and generator safety to get a clearer idea.

Generator Placement

Always place the generator as far away from your house as possible. This is one of the very basics of owning a generator. Never put a generator in an enclosed area where Carbon Monoxide can accumulate. Places like garages, living spaces, and anywhere indoors are off-limits. Placing the generator far away from the house allows you to stay safe when your generator gets caught up in an accident. This also helps to avoid your house from getting caught in a fire or any potential CO poisoning. Also, learn to place the exhaust pipes properly. Vertical exhaust placement is recommended. Portable generators, especially the conventional ones, produce a lot of noise, and the placement will also help with Lessening some of the produced noise. Things like generator silencers and mufflers can decrease the noise even further.

Plugging the generator

Take a glance at your generator’s cord, attach it to the matching prongs on the hookup, and turn the plug should initiate the connection. Check to see the cable that is provided to connect to your house. Once you find it, merely connect it and try turning it as you did with the plug. Now, you can move on to the engine. Assess the throttle and see if it’s positioned correctly as well as the fuel level. Nest, turn the engine on. Preheating might be necessary, depending on the location you are based on. After that, head to the breaker and flip off the utility main and turn the generator on. You will need to flip the breakers. Proceed by turning each of them one after the other. You can choose to do the reverse if you want to return to the use of utility power. If you are facing confusion in any part of the process, stop and contact a professional to walk you through the process.

Verdict

Connecting a portable generator to your house can be a tasking job if you do not have the required equipment and knowledge. Sometimes, it can be rather risky. If you have little knowledge about this subject, we recommend contacting a professional to help you out. After setting up everything, get an expert to verify it. Approach the whole procedure with caution and do not get electrocuted. Wear rubber shoes and make sure no part of your body is wet.

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