Home Generator and Transfer Switch Connection
Gerry in New York asks: How can I connect a generator and transfer switch to my house to supply electricity? Basic Generator Connection to Power a Home, Generator Transfer Switch and Panel.
Electrical Question: How can I connect a generator and transfer switch to my house to supply electricity?
- Upon buying my house which was rebuilt in 1987, I found a second fuse box in my garage with two 40 amp breakers and 2-15 amp breakers.
- Running out of the box is a 110 line powering my garage lights, a 110 outlet plug and a single what I believe to be a NEMA 6 – 30 amp plug.
- Is this an older version of a transfer switch?
- Can the NEMA 6-30 be converted to a 240 twist lock to connect to my generator? Will this get me the best usage from my generator? My generator is a Champion 7KW.
- The workmanship appears professional and the lines are run into my main panel via conduit under ground and is wired into a dual 50 amp breaker.
This home electrical repairs question came from: Gerry, from Nesconset, New York.
Thanks for your electrical wiring question Gerry.
Generator Power for a Home
Application: Installing a Home Generator.
Skill Level: Advanced – Licensed Electrical Contractor, Not Recommended for Homeowners.
Tools Required: Electricians pouch of hand tools and the various power tools necessary for installing the generator, transfer switch, interlock kit, or generator circuit panel.
Estimated Time: Depends on the type and size of the generator and transfer switch or device and the available access to the project area.
Important: Installing a generator, transfer switch or generator panel must be well thought out and performed with a permit with all work being inspected.
Note: Back-feeding or using cheater cords to connect a generator to the home electrical system is extremely dangerous and should never be used.
Basic Generator Connection to Power a Home
- The electrical power connection of a generator to the home electrical system must be made safe to avoid damaging the generator or creating a hazardous condition for the home electrical system and the utility company.
- A generator should only be connected to the home electrical system by using an approved disconnect system that will prevent the back-flow of power into the utility company service wiring and to prevent the generator from being damaged when the electrical utility service is restored. This is typically provided by installing a transfer switch, circuit breaker interlock, or a dedicated generator panel with circuits that will be powered by the generator.
- All of these transfer switches or interlock systems or devices should be UL approved and installed with a permit and inspected, and is best performed by a licensed electrical contractor.
Generator Transfer Switch and Panel
- From what has been described in this question, Gerry has discovered a sub panel in the garage of this home, and this is not a transfer switch or the place to connect a generator unless you only wish to have the generator power up the circuits that are in this sub panel, however a circuit breaker interlock kit would need to be installed first if an interlock kit is available for this sub panel.
- The dual 50 amp breaker is most likely the disconnect or main breaker for the power source to the sub panel. A sub panel circuit should never be used to connect a generator for the purpose of back feeding the home electrical system. Refer to the explanation above.
More about Home Generators and Transfer Switches
- This series of articles covers a wide variety of topics all about home generators including sizing, selecting, connecting and safely operating this all important addition to your home.
- Generator Transfer Switch
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