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Power Transfer System Buyer's Guide

How to Pick the Perfect Power Transfer System

By Jared Grifo  |  Generator Expert

Power transfer systems are the easiest, most convenient way to restore power to your home using a portable generator while ensuring the safety of your home and family.

A power transfer system basically contains a manual transfer switch, a power cord, and an optional power inlet box. Your type of installation will help you determine if you need the power inlet box and the length of the cord.

Important: You should never plug your generator directly into an outlet in your home. This practice, known as back-feeding, is illegal because it can cause someone to be electrocuted and can set fire to your home. Installed properly, power transfer systems can eliminate these risks. 


Transfer System Installations

Let's take a look at the two most common types of installations that allow you to safely connect your emergency portable generator to your home. 

 

If your main electric panel is located in your garage, congratulations. This is the easiest and least expensive way to install a power transfer system.

Your electrician simply connects a manual transfer switch to your main electrical panel. You don't need a power inlet box since you can run a power cord into the garage.

Always run your generator outside of the garage to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning. You'll need at least a 25-foot power cord to give you ample distance.

 

If your main panel is located in the basement, you have two options. 

First, you can run a power cord through an open basement window.

A better option, however, is to mount a power inlet box on the outside of your house near your electrical panel. The power inlet box is then hardwired directly to your manual transfer switch.

When the power goes out, you simply plug one end of a power cord into the generator. The other end connects to the power inlet box. Flip a few switches, and you're running on backup power.
 

NEXT: How to Pick the Perfect Manual Transfer Switch