If you have spent a heavy amount on the generator and now your pocket is not allowing you to spend again $500 – $1000 on a transfer then this guide is for you.
In this article, we are going to reveal some of the temporary or permanent safest ways to connect the whole house/portable generator to the house.
Though the transferer switch is the safest and recommended way for connecting the generator to the house if you have the budget, still we have discussed the two reasonably safer ways to do that without spending a huge amount.
How to Connect Generator to House without Transfer Switch?
Below are 2 tested methods to connect your generator to the house without a transfer switch.
1. How to Connect a Generator to House with Interlock Kit?
Tools And Materials We Need:
Step 1: Shut off the Main Power Supply.
Cut the power supply of the grid by shutting off the main circuit breaker, this will create a safe electrocution-proof workplace.
You will find a large breaker labeled as “MAIN” breaker on the top of the electrical panel, if it is not available in the main panel, maybe it is installed in a separate box.
If you still struggle to find it, go ahead and turn off the all breakers of the electrical panel.
Step 2: Mark the Nearest Location to the Main Electrical Panel.
I usually keep a 3 ft. distance from the main electrical panel for cutting down the cord expense, well you have to mark it as per the needs and drill a normal hole for running the cord.
Step 3: Install an Outside Weatherproof Plug:
Drill the hole and run a 10 gauge or other compatible wire through the wall, install a weatherproof plug outside and throw the wire inside from the hole.
If your transfer switch is in outside, connect the plug and breaker with a conveyance hose.
Step 4: Connect a Compatible Breaker to the Generator’s Plug.
Locate the main electrical panel, since it has a lot of extra breakers make sure to connect one of them with the weatherproof generator’s plug.
If your main electrical switch doesn’t have extra breakers make sure to get a double pole breaker that should be compatible with the generator’s power and amperage ratings.
Here are the instructions to connect the extra circuit breaker in the electrical panel for the generator.
- Don’t ever touch the 3 grid wires with your bare hands, though you have turned off the breakers etc, still, the wires have the grid power.
- Installing the weatherproof plug and breakers is a bit technical process makes sure to seek help from a licensed technician if you are not a handy guy.
Step 5: Install a Compatible Interlock Kit.
An interlock kit is a safety device that prevents the overlapping of the grid and generator’s power; you will have to select the one that should be compatible with your main electrical panel. Moreover, it should be allowed in your country to avoid a heavy fine.
Here is the process to install an interlock kit instantly.
NOTE: This method is also known as the breaker box method as we have connected our generator directly to the breaker, interlock kit is an extra layer of protection to avoid any accident.
I recommended you watch this video from HowToHome.
2. How to Connect a Generator to House with Extension Cord?
Tools And Materials We Need:
Step 1: Mark a Suitable Location Inside the House for the Utility Box.
Mark a suitable location preferably inside the house, however, if your generator is placed in a garage make sure to mark a place at least 5 – 6 ft. away from the generator.
Step 2: Create a Rectangular Hole of the Desired Size:
No matter whether the wall is built from cement or wood, take a rotary/oscillating tool to make a rectangular hole and install a drywall box of the preferred size.
Step 3: Drill a Hole in the Drywall Box and Make a Passage for the Generator’s Cable to the Outlet:
Scratch out the insulation and make a normal-sized hole in the middle of the drywall box with the help of a drill. We create this hole to transfer the power cable to the outside.
Step 4: Cover the Rectangular Hole With a Waterproof Box.
Go outside locate the hole and install a weatherproof box with a nice flap that should also protect from the bugs, for mounting the box we recommend using tapcons.
Step 5: Make the Connections:
Before installing the wires, makes sure to prepare a receptacle, now fish the wires of the receptacle into the box from the inside.
For more protection from the weather, you can go one step further to join a male extension cord to the receptacle wires.
Step 6: Use a Sealant to Seal the Extra Space of the Hole and Fix the Receptacle.
Silicon sealant would work perfectly, just seal the hole from the outside and inside.
Step 6: Test Out the Connections:
Fire up the generator and connect the female cord goes from the generator to the receptacle’s male cord. Take a kilowatt and volt meter and run some tests to make sure that the connections are working.
Below is the video from the Get My Tips YouTube channel which simplifies my process.
Limitations of Extension Cord connections:
Do I Really Need a Generator Transfer Switch?
It depends on the user’s requirements, below are some situations in which you should go for the transfer switch without thinking about other options
- You want to get the safest one-stop solution
- You have to purchase a bigger unit of 8 – 20kw
- You don’t like the mess of wires etc
- Money isn’t a problem for you
- You want an automatic solution (preferably for data miners, data centers, hospitals, etc.)
- A transfer switch is mandatory in your state
Below is the condition in which you should think about other options.
- You have a smaller generator of 2 – 5kw
- You don’t have a problem with the mess of wires etc.
- You don’t have a budget.
- Other options like interlock kits and cord methods are not illegal in your state.
Here is the video from the HowToHome YouTube channel.
Legal Ways to Connect Generator to House
Below are the legal ways to connect a generator to the house.
- Through transfer switch.
- With Extension cord
- Through interlock.
- With Generlink.
Which Is Better Transfer Switch or Interlock?
If money isn’t a problem a manual or automatic transfer switch is the safest way, in fact, NFPA also encourages us to use a transfer switch.
On the other hand, if you don’t have a budget and still you want to get a decent connection, the breaker box and interlock kit would be a great option for you.
Here is a detailed guide about how does a generator transfer switch works make sure to have a look.
Installing a transfer switch would be a great investment since it’s the safest one-stop solution; as per the survey, the transfer switches significantly reduce the risk of grid back feeding, appliance and generator failures, etc.
Well, we have other cheaper options like connecting the generator through a cord or breaker box, however connection through the breaker box and interlock kit is our recommended safest and cheapest option.
For more quires comment below, we are more than happy to guide you!
FAQs – Frequently Asked Questions
Can You Use a Portable Generator Without a Transfer Switch?
Yes, there are several ways; however, some of them are listed above.
Can I Just Plug a Generator Into an Outlet?
No, generators are not designed to plug directly into the wall socket, it isn’t only illegal but it can burn the outlets, appliances, etc. by way of back feeding, or in the worst case, your house may catch fire.
Can You Plug Your Generator Into Your Dryer Outlet?
Yes, but it’s very dangerous we don’t recommend it. Obviously, you need to connect male to male plug for that which will eventually kill your appliances in the worst case it may get someone’s life.
Imagine an experienced lineman is working in mid of a cold night to restore your power and due to this foolish act you have sent your power to the grid/transformer. You can read one of the incidents here.
Josh is a highly skilled electrician with specialized expertise in the field of generators. With years of experience under his belt, he has established himself as an expert in all aspects of generators, ranging from installation and maintenance to troubleshooting and repairs. Josh’s in-depth knowledge of electrical systems and his commitment to staying updated with the latest industry advancements make him a reliable and sought-after professional.