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Connecting a Generator to a Home

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.

Thanks,
William

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

whole-house-generator

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.

More about Wiring Home Generators


» You Can Avoid Costly Mistakes! «

Here's How to Do It:
Wire It Right with the help of my Illustrated Wiring Book

Great for any Home Wiring Project.


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Wiring GFCI Outlets
Wiring Home Electric Circuits
120 Volt and 240 Volt Outlet Circuits
Wiring Light Switches
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Wiring 3-Wire and 4-Wire Dryer Cord and Dryer Outlet
How to Troubleshoot and Repair Electrical Wiring
Wiring Methods for Upgrading Electrical Wiring
NEC Codes for Home Electrical Wiring
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Be Careful and Be Safe - Never Work on Energized Circuits!
Consult your Local Building Department about Permits and Inspections for all Electric Wiring Projects.

Electrical Tips to Help You Wire it Right

The Safest Way to Test Electrical Devices and Identify Electric Wires!

The Non-Contact Electrical Tester
This is a testing tool that I have had in my personal electrical tool pouch for years, and is the first test tool I grab to help identify electrical wiring. It is a Non-contact tester that I use to easily Detect Voltage in Cables, Cords, Circuit Breakers, Lighting Fixtures, Switches, Outlets and Wires. Simply insert the end of the tester into an outlet, lamp socket, or hold the end of the tester against the wire you wish to test. Very handy and easy to use.

The Quickest Way to Check for Faulty Electrical Wiring!

The Plug-In Outlet Tester
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My absolute favorite wire stripping tool that I have had in my personal electrical tool pouch for years, and this is the tool I use to safely strip electrical wires.
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FAQs Frequently Asked Questions and Comments

4 Responses to “Connecting a Generator to a Home”
  1. 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?

    • 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.
      Dave

  2. 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.

    • 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.
      Dave

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