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Connecting a Generator to a Home

By Dave Rongey - Summary:

How to Connect a Generator to a Home: Safe Methods for Connecting a Home Generator, Approved Transfer Switch, Circuit Breaker Interlock Kit, Well Pumps and other 220 Volt Circuits, Sensitive Electronic Devices and Equipment, Connecting the Generator.

Safe Methods for Connecting a Home Generator

Electrical Question: I’m trying to wire up my generator to my home for emergency use.

Yes, I know to turn the main breaker OFF while using the generator so as not to back feed the power lines.


This electrical question came from: William, a Handyman from Fayetteville, North Carolina.

Dave’s Reply:
Thanks for your electrical question William.

How to Connect a Generator to a Home


Application: Wiring a Generator to a Home.
Skill Level: Intermediate to Advanced – Licensed Electrical Contractor, Not Recommended for Homeowners
Tools Required: Electricians Pouch of Hand Tools for Generator Installation and Circuit Wiring.
Estimated Time: Depends on the size of the generator, type of transfer switch, number of circuits and available access to the project area.
Precaution: This is an extensive project that should be performed by a Licensed Electrical Contractor.
Notice: Installing a home generator, transfer switch, or circuits should be done with a permit and be inspected.

Important Consideration before Connecting a Generator to a Home

Process of The following is an example of the Methods for Connecting a Home Generator including an Approved Transfer Switch or Circuit Breaker Interlock Kit. Special considerations should be given to Well Pumps and other 220 Volt Circuits, as well as Sensitive Electronic Devices and Equipment before Connecting the Generator.

IMPORTANT: Back feeding a home with generator power is NEVER recommended due to a variety of hazardous conditions that will be produced as a result of this dangerous practice.

NOTE: If it is not possible to install a transfer switch then use extension cords to connect the generator power to appliances in the home that will require power, such as the refrigerator.

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MORE ABOUT THIS TOPIC: Connecting a Generator, Electrical Wiring, Generators, Transfer Switch

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4 Responses to “Connecting a Generator to a Home”
  1. Dave Rongey says:

    Hi Bill,
    Make sure you are using the right circuit breaker for the panel. Off brand circuit breakers may not fit correctly and be very careful, there are some name brand circuit breakers that are imposters, complete with UL labels and everything – but they are made in some other country with inferior materials and workmanship.
    Other than that make sure to check your loads, and if you are using a 2-pole circuit breaker make sure the load is balanced on both legs as much as possible.
    If the panel buss has burnt due to a bad connection do not put a new circuit breaker in the same place because the connection will not be solid and tight. It is best to install a blank spacer or breaker that will not be connected to avoid future problems.

  2. Generators says:

    I agree with your tips but I have a question. I bought a 5 KV generator and am also using circuit breakers but recently 2 times my circuit breaker burned can you tell me why?

  3. Dave Rongey says:

    Yes John, you still would need a transfer switch or interlock that would disconnect the electrical utility while the generator is supplying power. It is vitally important that only one source of power may be in the ON position at a time, and the only way this can be accomplished is by using an approved transfer switch device.

  4. John Sparks says:

    I want to use an industrial grade extension connection to connect my Breaker Box to my generator. Since under normal conditions the corded 4 wire receptacle that will be wired into the box will be locked out and tagged out, do I still need a transfer switch? Under emergency usage the main breaker would be turned off and the generator plugged unto the box through the the corded extension coupling.