There are many people who take the advent of modern electricity for granted. At the same time, there is nothing that will cause stress faster than having the power go out in the middle of the night. In the event of a natural disaster, adverse weather, hurricanes, or even rolling blackouts, power outages could last anywhere from a few hours to a few weeks.
On the other hand, you need to make sure that you keep your major appliances running. Furthermore, you probably also would like to keep the lights on in your home. In order to get around these power outages, you may end up having to take a few shortcuts. This may involve a power generator. Unfortunately, a lot of generators are going to require something called the transfer switch. If you do not think about your transfer switch until your power goes out, then you may find yourself in a bit of a tight spot. Even though a transfer switch can make it much easier for you to hook up a power generator, there is a way to connect a generator without transfer switch. What are a few of the most important points to keep in mind when you are going through this?
A Guide: How To Connect a Portable Generator To House Without Transfer Switch
A generator is an essential piece of equipment because, without it, you might not be able to get the power back in your home for a few days. You will be at the mercy of the electric company. First, let us clear the air. If you want to operate a generator as safely and efficiently as possible, a transfer switch is always preferable. There is a reason why most people will say that a transfer switch is essential for running a generator. If you have the choice, use the transfer switch.
At the same time, if you do not have a transfer switch, you need to make sure that you got the right materials. That way, you can get the power back on in your home without having to wait for the power company, which could end up taking a few days.
The Materials for Connecting a Generator to a House Without a Transfer Switch
In order to complete this task, you will need a few items, including:
- You need to have a breaker. Preferably, find a breaker that will meet the requirements of your office, home, RV, or anything else that you are trying to power up. There are different types of breakers available, so pick the right one.
- You will also need something called an interlocking kit. This kit is important for helping you connect your generator to your service panel. If you have questions about the right interlocking kit, take a look at the brand of your generator. Then, locate a kit that matches the model generator that you have. If you have questions, reach out to a professional. These kits did not have to be expensive.
- You are also going to need to find a few electrical wires in order for your cable connection to work. Try to locate wires that have numerous colors. That way, you will have a more natural connection.
- Before you start with this project, you also need to make sure that you have the right safety equipment. For example, you should use gloves, eyewear, and protective shoes. Because the biggest danger is an electric shock, try to wear something rubber that will not conduct electricity.
- Finally, do not overlook your toolbox. You are going to need your essential tools including wrenches, screwdrivers, drills, and pliers. Bring your toolbox with you to the task because you are going to need a lot of the materials that you have inside of it.
Once you have collected all of the necessary materials, you can get started on the next steps to get the power back on in your home.
Getting Started with Connecting Your Generator
In order to successfully connect your generator without using a transfer switch, make sure that you follow these steps. They include:
1. Safety Must Always Come First
Before you get started, it is important to take a look at the rules and regulations of your community. Make sure that you are not violating anything. Then, make sure that you wear the right safety equipment. Remember that using rubber safety gear is preferable because rubber does not conduct electricity. You want to make sure that you protect yourself in the event that something goes haywire. Protect your eyes, your head, your hands, and your feet. Keep in mind that a fire might break out. Therefore, you may want to have a fire extinguisher next to you as well.
2. Determine the Right Amperage
Once you feel like you have all of the safety measures in place, the next step is to take a closer look at the generator. Make sure that you figure out the right amperage. That way, the plug will deliver power to each side of the generator breaker. If you are still having trouble figuring out the right amperage, there might be amperage codes on the plug. That way, you can adjust your materials correctly.
3. Get the Drill and Power it Up
After determining the right amperage and protecting yourself, it is time to grab the drill. This is where the project really gets started, so make sure that you are comfortable with power tools. You are going to have to drill a hole into the side of your house. This whole is going to have to be big enough for you to thread cables through. If you are worried about driving up your utility bills, you can always plug the hole once the power comes back on.
In addition, you also want to make sure that you are placing the hole in a location where the generator is going to be sufficiently far enough away from you. This is another important safety measure that you should take. For example, in addition to creating a potential safety hazard, the noise from the generator may end up keeping you awake if you decide to put the hole right next to your bedroom. Think carefully about where the hole is going to go. It will determine where the generator sits.
4. Get Your Materials Together for the Wiring Job
Next, take your power Inlet and mount it on the exterior wall. Make sure that the power inlet is a few feet away from the hole that you just put in the exterior wall. Once the power inlet has been mounted, the next step is to put the conduit together. Make sure that you glue them properly for complete safety.
Next, you need to wire the generator inlet plug. Take a wire from the conduit body and pull it through. Then, push all of the remaining wires through to complete the wiring task.
Finally, you also have to make sure that your breaker box is ready to receive all of these wires. After the wires have been successfully installed, cover the breaker box appropriately. Once this is done, all of the materials that you need should be in place. You can hook up your appliances and see what happens.
What if I Have a Transfer Switch That I Can Use for My Generator?
These are the steps you need to take if you do not have a transfer switch and still want to use a generator. On the other hand, if you have a transfer switch, it is preferable. There are several reasons why you should make sure that you have a transfer switch. These include:
The National Electric Code Says You Need One
The National Electric Code recommends that you use a transfer switch at all times. This is because a transfer switch will make a generator significantly safer. If you are using a powerful portable generator, such as one that you are going to use to power your entire home, you should have a transfer switch. In particular, if you are planning on selling your home in the near future, using a portable generator without a transfer switch could lead to some code violations. This could hurt the value of your home, making it hard for you to get top dollar for your property down the road.
A Transfer Switch Is Always Safer
You might be asking yourself why a transfer switch is so much safer. When you were using extension wires, this can cause something called back feed. When this happens, the risk of a fire breaking out on your property can go up significantly. Furthermore, there is also a significant risk of someone getting electrocuted. You do not want this to happen. Therefore, if you have the choice, use a transfer switch. It is simply safer than trying to hook up a generator without one.
Using a Transfer Switch Will Make Life Much Easier
Furthermore, if your power goes out because a natural disaster has developed, you want to make sure that you get the power back on quickly as possible. Having a transfer switch simply makes things easier. A lot of electrical appliances such as air conditioners, water heaters, and furnaces are hardwired. Therefore, they simply cannot be connected to the generator using a basic extension cord.
Furthermore, in the event that your power goes out, the last thing you want to be dealing with a bunch of messy extension cords. They create trip hazards along with other safety concerns. Therefore, having a transfer switch available to you will simply allow you to power up your home more easily. Try to plan ahead by getting one.
A Transfer Switch Can Help You Save Money
Finally, you should also consider using a transfer switch because it can help you save money. Remember the long list of materials at the top of the list? You can forget about a lot of them if you use a transfer switch. Not to mention, if you end up drilling a hole in the side of your house, you may end up having to replace this whole in the future. This can be another expensive process. Finally, do not forget the risk of a fire or electrocution breaking out. This can lead to other expensive repair bills that you would surely rather avoid. Even though a transfer switch may cost you more money in the beginning, it can also save you money in the end. Protect your budget and invest in a transfer switch.
The Final Word: Generators and Transfer Switch
You want to make sure that you get your home power back up as quickly as possible in the event of a blackout. Even though it is possible for you to connect your generator without transfer switch, it is certainly not recommended because of all of the risks this creates. Furthermore, this technique will also limit the number of appliances that you can power in a single go. There are only so many appliances that you can connect to a generator without a transfer switch. Do not overlook the fact that this could also be a code violation depending on where you are located. That could hurt your property values.
Ultimately, you can certainly use this method to connect your appliances to a generator without using a transfer switch. At the same time, try to limit this to emergency situations or one-time uses only. If you end up doing this over and over again, it simply magnifies the risk and you could end up placing yourself and others in harm's way.
If you do not have any experience with wires, then you should probably stay away from this technique. Instead, reach out to trained professionals who can help you with this job. That way, you are not taking any unnecessary risks. This is a technique that can help you out in a pinch; however, it is not something that you should do repeatedly.