How to Connect Your Generator to Your Home

Having a generator as a backup source of power for your home is crucial in a power outage or natural disaster. It keeps your family safe and comfortable even when the power goes out. But how do you properly connect it to your home?

This article breaks down the basics of connecting a generator to your home, installation tips and options, and how Connecticut Electric can help.

Using a Transfer Switch to Power Your Home​​

Transfer switches provide several benefits to homeowners. Not only are they easy and convenient to use, but they also help power important appliances you use daily while managing power from different areas of your home.

You can find transfer switches next to the circuit panel. This switch is handy because it divides the electrical load and allows the home to run off utility power OR generator power without ever combining the two. To shift the power source from utility to generator, you need to turn on the main breaker in the transfer switch. A home isn't capable of being connected to both the generator and utility power simultaneously.

Dividing the power source through transfer switches solves the problem of electrical back feeding, which happens when electricity flows backward out of the house and through the utility transformer. This can lead to injury and sometimes death to technicians and utility workers.

With the help of a transfer switch, you can assign loads to different circuits to power various appliances or rooms. For example, to use your microwave during a power outage, you could turn off the circuit powering your AC or other appliance and then turn on the circuit powering your microwave. This makes it easy to manage your power usage and helps you to maximize your generator's effectiveness.

How to Install a Transfer Switch for a Generator

Although you can install a transfer switch on your way, it's best to have a professional electrician install and connect it to your generator to ensure safety and efficiency. If you choose to install it yourself, be sure to follow the necessary safety precautions and code regulations for your home.

A solid choice for a transfer switch is the EmerGen Switch® Manual Transfer Switch. This transfer switch will provide you with a way to safely employ your generator power through your existing electrical wiring during a power outage. Install your switch next to your home's electrical panel load center. Next, connect circuit breaker wires to the transfer switch's circuits. Once you power up your portable generator, manually turn on each switch. The generator energy is transferred as electrical power, flowing through the house circuits you have previously chosen. Your EmerGen Switch is easy for a licensed electrician or qualified professional to install, safe for a homeowner to operate, and will work with 120/240V single-phase AC generators, factory equipped with NEMA type receptacles L14-20R, or L14-30R. Your EmerGen Switch cannot permit connection to both utility and generator power simultaneously, eliminating the possibility of back feeding.

Using Extension Cords to Power Your Home

A second option you have to connect a generator to your home is using extension cords. While they are affordable and easy to use, they don't offer the same capabilities as transfer switches. Because of this, extension cords are only recommended for occasional backup power.  

To connect your generator, run extension cords from the appliances you want to power to the generator. Always keep the generator a safe distance from your home.

Trust Connecticut Electric for Your Parts and Tools

As a designer, manufacturer, and distributor of specialty electrical components that are sold through electrical distributors, Connecticut Electric has been powering homes and businesses for over 100 years. We continue to focus on bringing you the best in specialty electrical components to keep your family safe when the lights go out.

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