How to Hook Up a Generator

How to Connect a Portable Generator to a Home

By  | Generator Product Expert

Buying a portable generator is a great first step in protecting your family from power failure.

Unfortunately, even the wisest crystal ball cannot predict the next power outage.

It might sound childish, but, a quick "Power Outage Drill" will quickly expose the vulnerability in your emergency armor.

The most common challenge is getting the power past the drawbridge.

Compare Transfer of Power

There are two ways to connect a portable gas generator to your home:

Extension Cords
US Wire and Cable 100-Foot Extension CordThe cheapest - and most time-consuming - way is to use existing extension cords buried in your holiday storage totes.

Unfortunately, unraveling knotted extension cords isn't easy in the dark. It's even more frustrating plugging them into every single appliance. The power could be restored before you connect everything.

Powermate 30-Amp Gen-CordIf you insist on using extension cords, you'll need a bunch. In fact, you'll probably need more cords than you currently own.

Your best bet is to invest in just one additional cord - a Gen-Cord. You simply plug the 25-foot extension cord into the 20- or 30-amp outlet on your generator. The opposite end splits into three household outlets, where you can start connecting additional extension cords.

Power Transfer Systems
Reliance Controls Power Transfer SystemIf you're considering a large portable generator, we strongly recommend AGAINST using extension cords to connect to your house.

Most 5000+ watt portable generators feature powerful 30-amp outlets. Use them. Otherwise, you'll be stringing so much expensive copper wire even Mr. T will be jealous.

To restore power quickly and safely you should use a power transfer system. This includes:

1.) Manual transfer switch
2.) Power cord
3.) Optional power inlet box

More importantly, power transfer systems energize entire circuits instead of appliances. They can power hard-wired appliances - like furnace and ceiling fans - that typically don't have plugs.


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