How to Connect a Generator to Your House

If you’ve ever experienced a power outage in your home, you know that it’s not only inconvenient, but it can be dangerous. However, if the weather is extremely hot or cold, or you depend on electricity for a medical device, no power is terrible news. 

Thankfully, a simple solution to power outages is installing a generator. Of course, it would be beneficial to have one available if you experience frequent power outages. But how do you hook up a generator? 

How to Hook Up a Generator 

You can power your house with a generator in two different ways. First, you can connect your appliances directly to the generator. Second, you can connect the generator to your home’s electrical grid. 

Connecting Your Appliances to Your Generator 

You won’t be able to light your house by directly connecting your generator to your appliances. Still, you can use an extension cord to connect things like your refrigerator or freezer. That way, at least your food won’t spoil. 

Connect Your Generator to Your Electrical Grid

When you go this route, you’ll be able to use all the outlets, lights, and appliances like normal. However, it’s not as simple as plugging a portable generator into a socket. Doing so is called back feeding and can damage your electrical system and cause fires. 

It’s also a dangerous idea because if a technician works on the electrical lines, it can send power back into them and electrocute workers. So it makes sense that this method is also illegal. 

So how do you connect your generator safely

You will have to install a transfer switch to use your generator safely with your home. This device sits next to your home circuit breaker box and switches off your home electrical from the electrical utility grid to your generator. 

The transfer switch also lets you control which rooms, outlets, or appliances you want to power. 

You will need an experienced electrician to install the transfer switch because it will involve accessing the wires in your circuit breaker board. However, if you do decide to attempt it yourself, you must follow the installation instructions carefully. 

Once the transfer switch is installed, you will need a special generator cord to connect the generator to it. The cord will plug into the outlet on your generator and the inlet on your transfer switch. 

Starting Up Your Generator

If possible, or if you experience frequent power outages, leave the generator connected to the transfer switch and the cord stored nearby. 

  1. Start by flipping the main breaker on the transfer switch. 
  2. Turn off all breakers on the switch if you use a manual transfer switch. 
  3. Place your generator in a well-ventilated area and start it. 
  4. Turn on the breakers to your transfer switch one at a time. 
  5. Reverse the process once grid power is restored. 

Install a Generator Safely 

When in doubt, it’s best to hire a professional to ensure that you hook up your generator correctly. Never take chances or guess when working with electricity. 

The professionals at Midwest Generator Solutions can help with the installation and maintenance of your generator so it’ll be easy and safe to use the next time you need it. So give us a call today to learn more!