How To Connect Portable Generator To House Without Transfer Switch
A portable generator with smaller watts doesn't strictly need a transfer switch, but it's still a good idea to use it for safety. If the unit comes with 5,000 watts and above, you are required to get one. The transfer switch doesn't come with a pocket-friendly price. That's why some generator owners try to look for other ways to skip transfer switch but can still safely use their generator unit. Here's how to connect portable generator to house without transfer switch.
Connecting Portable Generator Using Interlocking Kit
A transfer switch is expensive, with price ranges from $250 to $500. If you can't afford to buy one, here’s how to connect portable generator to house without transfer switch.
It would be best if you had the following ready:
- Breaker- Make sure to get a breaker that meets the power requirement of your home/RV/worksite and your generator.
- Interlocking kit- This kit will be our substitute for the transfer switch and will help you connect the generator to the service panel. Get one that matches your generator unit.
- Weatherproof outdoor outlet
- Extension cord with the correct amperage to plug into the generator and into your outdoor outlet.
- Safety tools- Always prioritize your safety. Prepare a pair of work gloves and safety goggles or glasses.
- Toolbox with tools - have your toolbox in case you need the following tool, wrenches, drills, screwdrivers, and pliers.
What you need to do:
- Step 1. Wear your pair of gloves and safety goggles or glasses before you start working.
- Step 2. Allow an electrician to safely install the circuit breaker in your indoor breaker box.
- Step 3. Look for a suitable location to install your outdoor outlet. It has to be near where you put your generator. You can work with your electrician to see where you can safely put it. Make sure it not somewhere where water collects. This can be dangerous since you will be dealing with electricity.
- Step 4. Drill a hole on the wall and install your outdoor outlet. The power has to come through that hole. The outdoor outlet has a socket that's compatible with the power outlet of your generator.
- Step 6. Interlock kit installation. Use a template to drill three holes on the circuit breaker box to allow the interlock kit to be attached. Install the interlock by putting in the bolts on the three holes.
- Step 7. If there's a power outage and you need to use your portable generator, turn off your main breaker. Then push the interlock up to prevent the main breaker from being turned on while allowing you to turn on the generator breaker. Also, turn off all the other breakers on the panel except for the generator breaker.
- Step 8. Get your heavy-duty extension cord and connect it to the outdoor outlet and your generator. Then start your generator.
- Step 9. Once the generator starts feeding power to the panel, you can go back inside your house and access the breaker box again. Turn on select circuit breakers to power the different parts of your house depending on the wattage of the generator.
Do the installation if you know how the electricals work. But if you don't, better to get an electrician to install it safely. Also, before using interlock, check if it is legal in your area. Some areas consider this illegal and would require a transfer switch.