Generators are lifesaving tools when correctly installed. They keep you warm in the winter and cool in the summer when the power goes out unexpectedly. Additionally, you can use them to keep your refrigerator and freezer cold and even for using other electronic appliances that help you stay comfortable even in a disaster.
Unfortunately, many people own generators but have never had them properly installed in their home because they either didn’t have time before the first power outage or they didn’t want to spend money on installing a transfer switch.
The good news is that there is a way to use your generator without a transfer switch, but before you do, you need to keep in mind some of the risks and what procedures are the safest alternatives.
Why You Shouldn’t Plug Your Generator into Your Outlets
Some generator owners mistakenly think they can bypass this step by directly plugging their generator into their home’s outlet. While, in theory, you might think this is an easy solution, it can end in expensive and tragic consequences.
A generator can overload your home’s electrical system causing permanent damage to your appliances and even the wiring throughout your house. On some occasions, it can cause electrical fires or, worse yet, back-feed into the powerlines that electricians are working on, leading to electrocution and death.
So while there are other ways to bypass using a transfer switch, plugging directly into outlets is never an option. It is illegal, and most insurances won’t cover damage caused by doing so.
Safe Alternatives to Transfer Switches
While a professionally installed transfer switch is the most reliable option, a few transfer switch alternatives are available.
1. Use an Interlock Kit
An interlock kit works similarly to a transfer switch. The difference is that the transfer switch only gives power to the preselected appliances in the home. Meanwhile, the interlock kit powers the breaker panel allowing the homeowner to choose what items can be powered manually.
The interlock kit has a switch for the main power and a second switch for the generator. The generator can also be switched on when the main power is first disconnected.
2. Use Extension Chords
Suppose you only need to plug something in temporarily and are ok going without your hardwired appliances or lights. In that case, you can plug a generator extension cord directly into the generator and then run it into your home for direct power.
Unfortunately, you won’t be able to power your entire home this way, and the number of outlets will be limited.2
The Best Options for Connecting Your Portable Generator to Your Home
Sometimes our options are limited in the event of an emergency, and you might have to just work with what you have. That could mean you only have an extension cord running into your home with a few outlets available.
But if you want to get the most out of your generator, you’ll need to invest in a transfer switch or an interlock kit. Cutting corners now will only make that emergency that much more stressful later.
The best option for connecting your portable generator is to work with a professional to find an affordable and safe solution. If you’re unsure where to start, contact our professional team at Midwest Generator Solutions to learn more.