Learn How To Hook Up A Generator To Your House

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How To Hook Up A Generator To Your House

As reports of natural catastrophes and power outages rise, you may be among the many Americans buying a portable backup generator. 

It’s usually a good idea to keep a generator at home if you reside in or around a place where power outages occur frequently. When the electricity goes out, you can depend on it for backup power and not worry too much.

But how to connect the generator to the home for a quick electricity resumption? This might be your next question!

Continue reading as I discuss this topic in detail today and help you keep your property powered up. 

Related: What is an Inverter Generator? Answers & Best Models

2 Legal Ways To Connect Generator To House 

To power up your essential household gadgets and electrical appliances through the portable generator you just bought, there has to be a reliable connection between your house and the generator. 

You can’t plug your TV cord into the generator.

Of all the legal options available, my top two favorites are extension cords and transfer switches. 

  • Extension Cords 

Using extension cords is the simplest way of connecting your generator to your house. Grab any heavy-duty generator cord, feed it into the power outlet of your portable generator, and connect the appliances to this cord. 

But extension cords won’t let you utilize a big generator to its full capacity as not all devices can be powered this way! It’s like buying something and then only using half of it.

For example, the hardwired items in your house can’t be connected to the extension cords. So, this is a significant drawback. 

Related: Best Whole House Generator – 5 top Picks For All House Sizes

  • Transfer Switch 

To overcome the many drawbacks of extension cords, I recommend transfer switches. Not only can they power up even the hardwired items of your home, but you get to use the generator to full capacity. 

To use a transfer switch, two necessary pieces of hardware include a simple outdoor connection port and a transfer panel. 

In the upcoming sections, you’ll learn how to hook up a generator to your house with and without a transfer switch. 

How To Hook Up A Generator To Your House Without a Transfer Switch?  

To hook a generator to your house without a transfer switch, follow the given steps with utmost safety. 

  • Position The Outlet Utility Box 

The first step involves positioning the generator’s outlet utility box in your preferred location. For wood and drywall, use your oscillating tool to create a rectangular casing that fits the box. 

For cemented walls, employ any regular drill machine. 

Related: Best Solar Generator For Off-Grid Living – 5 Picks + Buying Guide

  • Make Holes To Run Generator Cables To The Outlet

Take the drill machine and drill suitably sized holes. These will be used to run your wires from the outside of your house. 

Note: Make sure the diameter of the holes is larger than that of the wires to avoid damaging them during installation in your outlet kit.

  • Install The Waterproof Box 

A waterproof box is necessary on the outside wall to protect the end plug from damage. Again, choose a bigger waterproof box that fits your wires. 

Best Electrical Waterproof Box – The Flemoon Large Outdoor Electrical Box is my top recommendation. It’s IP54 certified, has six cable entry ports, and is constructed from heavy-duty reinforced PP material. Thus, it’s sufficient to protect the end plug and any outdoor connection from snow, rain, dirt, dust, and more. 

  • Connect The Wires To The Outlet Kit 

It’s now time to connect the wires to the outlet kit. To do so, insert the other end of the wires with a plug outside your house. Once done, assemble the outlet kit inside.

  • Connect The Generator To The Outlet To Test 

You can now connect your portable generator to the outlet and test the connection by plugging in your electrical appliances. 

Note: A loose wire is most likely to blame if the lights won’t turn on. Examine the same and secure any loose wires.

Related: Propane vs Gas Generator: Which is Right For You?

How To Connect A Generator To Your House With A Transfer Switch?  

Typically, a generator begins and pauses in reaction to the need for electricity. This is why placing a transfer switch at the home’s primary load center is crucial. 

The transfer switch’s function is to allow the generator to power the house while also giving the house and the electrical grid the required protection.

So, using a transfer switch here’s how to hook a generator to your house.

  • Turn Off The Primary Circuit Breaker 

Turn off the power to the house by turning off the primary circuit breaker.

  • Find The Wires

Open the primary circuit breaker box’s cover, and find the neutral and earth wires. Take the cover from the panel box containing the neutral and ground wires after locating them.

Examine the wires’ colors and loosen the nuts holding the generator’s connection to the main circuit breaker box.

  • Cut Off The Generator

Cut off the generator and from the main circuit breaker box, take the screws out. Replace the breaker in the main circuit breaker box by removing the old one.

  • Reattach The Generator

Reattach the generator to the primary circuit breaker box using the wire nuts. 

  • Restart The Primary Circuit Breaker Box

Restart the main circuit breaker box by opening the cover. Once done, put the primary circuit breaker box’s lid back on.

  • Turn On Primary Circuit Breaker Box’s Power

Check to see if electricity is running to the house by turning on the primary circuit breaker box’s power. Ensure the generator is not receiving electricity from the primary circuit breaker box by checking the panel box.

Note: To ensure that the generator is not receiving electricity from the primary circuit breaker, examine the main circuit breaker box.

  • Test The Set Up

It’s time for the final testing. You’re done if everything works as it should.

Is It Legal To Connect A Generator To Your House?

Yes, it’s legal to connect a portable generator to your house. 

However, there are certain restrictions. 

First, the levels of carbon monoxide (CO), the deadly gas that portable generators release into the atmosphere, must be mentioned whenever portable generators are set up. 

Secondly, you must never operate a portable generator (except for solar-powered generators) indoors, not even in a garage, as the CDC says that hundreds (430) of individuals per year die from CO poisoning, and thousands more are hospitalized. 

To be safe, set the generator outside, preferably at least 20 feet away from your home’s doors or windows.

How To Hook Up A Generator To Your House (FAQs)

  • Can I Plug A Generator Into An Outlet?

Ans: Plugging a generator into a house outlet is hazardous. This process is known as backfeeding and is extremely risky. Only qualified electricians should handle this process, as per Consumer Reports. 

  • How To Use A Portable Generator? 

Ans: If you’ve got a portable generator and are wondering how to use it, below are the quick steps to get started. 

  • Calculate the total running wattage of all necessary items you want to power up via the generator. 
  • Except for the solar generator, set up a fuel-powered generator outside the home, at least 20 feet away, with its exhaust facing from the doors and windows. 
  • Plug in the generator using compatible cords.
  • Turn on your portable generator. 
  • Now, one by one, connect your essential items or appliances to the generator. 

If the generator asks for additional fuel, refuel it. 

  • Can You Wire Your House To Run Off A Generator?

Ans: Yes, you can wire your house to run off a generator without a power switch. You will need to: 

  • Locate where to place the outlet utility box 
  • Place wires from the generator outlet to the utility box
  • Install the box
  • Connect the generator and box and test it 


There you go, peeps. This article covered everything you need to know about connecting a portable generator to your home. Although several types of connections are possible, a transfer switch is recommended. 

It’s easier to install, safer, and, most importantly, legal. However, I’ve also discussed the steps to follow if you decide otherwise. 

That’s all!

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