How to Connect Portable Generator to Electrical Panel?

Portable Generators and Transfer Switches

When you are thinking about purchasing a new portable generator for your home’s backup use, you should also consider buying a transfer switch device, which is an electrical device installed next to the electrical switch panel in your home, and connects to all the circuits in your panel that you need to power during an outage, and adds a safety feature to your unit. Having this switch is not only a good idea, it is required by the National Electric Code for any connection of power to a home. Consider these points:

A transfer switch separates the selected circuits of your home from the power lines. preventing back-feed, which happens when the power goes back down the utility lines. Back-feed can damage the generator and has the potential to cause a fire. Worse yet, back-feed could electrocute any technician who is working on the line – causing injury or even death. Having a transfer switch takes away the risk of experiencing back-feed and it is the only safe way to connect your generator to your home.

Portable Generator Extension Cords

Having extension cords that run to and from appliances can be cumbersome and time consuming. A transfer switch allows you to use your home’s wiring system to run any appliance in your home with your generator, fast and easy. Larger home systems like a furnace or a well pump cannot be connected to a generator with an extension cord, so a transfer switch is the safest, easiest way to connect these items to the generator. Power management with a transfer switch is very easy to do. You can easily control the various circuits to better accommodate your changing power needs.

All of this helps you to be able to use a smaller, less expensive generator to meet your power needs, thus running your generator more efficiently – with less effort on its part and on you.
Using a universal transfer switch, for example, can increase the functionality of your generator, making it utilize at 20% more capacity. Have a licensed electrician come out and install the transfer switch into your home and connect it to the main breaker panel.

Using the Main Breaker Switch

The main breaker in the switch will switch the power source from the utility to the generator. The house cannot be connected to both the generator and utility power at the same time, and the main breaker transfers that power. This stops the generator power from back feeding into the generator. There are a number of circuits on the transfer switch and you can have the electrician assign each circuit to a particular load, for example, the furnace, well pump, lights, and refrigerator.

You can also assign circuits to power a room. If you have more appliances on different circuits than the generator is capable of supplying at the same time, the transfer switch makes it handy to switch between those different loads by turning one off and another on. A transfer switch makes it convenient to manage and maintain power usage, maximizing your generator’s performance.

About the Author

Bob Robinson has been a tool enthusiast and lawn care expert for the past 11 years. First working with John Deere to reduce their impact on the environment, whilst building his love for writing in his spare time. Now, Bob runs the editorial team at BestofMachinery and tends to his garden in his spare time.

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