Portable generators are very important for home uses. Unlike a standby generator, these generators are typically bought when there is news about a coming storm or significant changes in weather that could cause a power outage. While it is good news for sellers, it can mean that people are not using it properly because of the sudden purchase.
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You need to understand that to be used at home, portable generators need to have a transfer switch to be used properly and safely. The transfer switch can provide you with a dedicated set of switches that can be used to power circuits instead of just one or two appliances in your own home.
Transfer switches should be used so you can avoid damaging your electronic devices, frying your generator, and also avoid injuring workers up on the power line. Typically, an automatic transfer switch is used for a standby generator while a manual transfer switch is used for a portable generator. However, they can be costly, and that is why people are looking for other alternatives. Here’s what you can do:
This will be used to safely connect your generator to your service panel without having to worry about having to buy a transfer switch. Although the interlock kit needs to match the exact model of your generator, these devices are much cheaper than the conventional transfer switches.
Depending on the type of generator you have, you will need to make sure that the breaker will be able to meet the needs of your home as well as the specifications of your own generator.
Depending on how big your property is, you will have to buy at least three sets of 10 feet of 10 gauge wires. The wiring process can be a little intimidating for the inexperienced, but with a little patience, it can be done. Make sure that the wires are of different colors so you can easily identify the wires as you try to assemble your generator set up at home.
To make sure that you stay safe while doing the setup, you will need to wear work gloves as well as the proper protective eyewear. You can also wear the appropriate work boots so you can avoid getting electrocuted while connecting your portable generator.
You will need to use common tools such as screw drivers, wrenches and pliers so you can assemble the interlock kit and so you can safely splice the wires. You might also need to have electrical tape.
You will need this so you can make a hole in the wall and make the access hole. The drill needs to have a large drill bit and you need to make sure that it can bore through the wall cleanly. You can opt to use a manual drill or chisels to do this but it will take a lot of time.
You will also need the following:
If you are planning to connect your generator to the service panel, you should NEVER try to use a male to male plug and you should NEVER try to connect your generator directly to the circuit breaker of a fuse box. These methods can be very dangerous. It can cause generator feedback and it can burn your house.
You should also know that using these methods is illegal. This guide on the other hand, requires that you use an interlock kit instead of a transfer switch. Although this step is safe and much cheaper, you should know that they might be considered unacceptable in some states. Wear safety attire for the next steps.
This set up will only work on a generator with a big round plug. This plug will power both sides of the breaker box and the amperage will be found near the plug. You can also see codes like Nema CS6365 for 50 amp, Nema L14-30 for 30 amp and Nema L14-20 for 20 amp. Adjust your materials accordingly.
The hole will serve as an access hole where you will allow the wires from the generator to go inside the house. The hole needs to be large enough to fit the wires perfectly. You need to find a good spot where you can keep the generator as far away as possible. You can use a hammer drill if the wall is too thick.
Using the different tools, you should first try to mount the power inlet box on the exterior wall a few feet away from the hole you made. Make sure that it is watertight. Next, you should assemble the conduit and use the glue to make sure that they are all properly attached for your safety. You may need to refer to a basic wiring diagram for this step. If you can’t obtain one, here’s what you need to do.
You should then wire the generator inlet plug. From the conduit body, pull the wires one by one and attach it to the plug. You can do this by removing ¾ of an inch of insulation per wire, and by tightening the ends with a screwdriver. As a rule, Green is for ground, white is common and black is for the X or Y.
Push the wires going inside and prepare the breaker box to receive the wires. Make sure that the branch and main breakers have all been shut off. Make room for the wire and make sure that it can be placed in the upper right space. Install the wires properly and install the breaker retainer before covering it again.
Connecting a generator to the house without a transfer switch is possible with the help of an interlock kit. You need to make sure that you avoid other methods that are not legal especially ones that can put lives and property at risk. If you lack technical know-how particularly when it comes to the proper wiring methods, I recommend that you ask an electrician to do it for you.
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