Last updated: November 17, 2020

How to Connect Portable Generator to Electric Panel

Published 2:26 am

Introduction

If you have recently purchased a portable generator for use in your home in case of power outages, you may wonder how to connect to the electric panel. We will show you the step by step way to go about connecting your portable generator to an electric panel.

What is an Electric Panel?

Before we get started, you need to know and understand what an electric panel is and its function in the home’s electrical system. The electric panel or electrical panel is the main circuit breaker in your house. It acts as a distribution point for electricity in your home.

The panel houses all the breaker switches and controls the flow of electricity to various building parts. You can disconnect a part of the building without affecting the entire building.

How to Connect Your Portable Generator to Your Electric Panel

Let’s discuss how you can connect your portable generator to an electrical panel safely.

Transfer Switch

A transfer switch allows you to connect specific circuits on your electrical panel to an alternative source of power other than the utility lines. The device is installed beside the electrical switch panel, and it is a requirement by the government when you want to power a building with alternate power sources.

The transfer switch also prevents back-feed by separating the circuits in use from the powerlines. A back-feed is when electricity flows back to the utility lines. Back-feeds can cause fires, which can be devastating. It can also damage your generator and cause electrocution of personnel working on the power lines or generators.

Extension Cords

Generators sometimes come with their cords, but you can invest in a generator cord if yours doesn’t. If you are using a generator cord, all you have to do is plug in the cord to the outlet on your generator while you plug in other extension cords to power other appliances in your home.

In some cases, you can use an extension cord directly. But, you should know that cords often reduce the power output of your generator. A damaged cord, wrong length, and gauge of an extension cord can cause electrocution or fire breakouts.

It is safe and better to use a transfer switch when you want to use your generator. If you have large appliances that consume a lot of power, you will need to use a transfer switch.

Main Breaker Switch

The main breaker switch transfers the power source from the utility to the generator and vice versa, depending on your need. The main breaker switch is important because it prevents back-feed, causing damage to your electrical appliances and your home.

Why You Need a Portable Generator

A portable generator will come in handy in the following scenarios:

  • Power Outage

One of the important reasons why people own portable generators is in the event of a power outage. Power can go out for many reasons, even though it may not be as common in some places as others.

Also, people who work from home will need a portable source of power if the power goes out to prevent work from halting.

  • You are a camper

A portable generator is a wonderful addition to your camping gear. You can use your generator to charge your devices, power your mini-fridges and laptops.

  • Your home uses a good system for water supply

You need electricity to pump water and keep the water pressure high enough to keep water flowing if you use a good system. If there’s a power outage, water supply can become a problem if there is no alternative.

  • You drive an electric car

A portable generator means you can easily charge your electric car when the battery runs out, and you are not near a charging station.

  • You use power tools

If you are a DIYer or a technician who has a job in a remote place without electricity access, a portable generator is important to have.

Conclusion

Portable generators have a lot of use and advantages. They come in different sizes‘ and power outputs. When you want to connect your portable generator, be sure to take safety precautions to avoid injury and damage to property. It’s recommended to get a qualified electrician to install the necessary devices and carry out the installation.