How to Hook Up a Portable Generator to Your Panel Box

Portable generators are fantastic sources of power for camping and for getting power to hard-to-reach places. Electrical cords run from the generator to the device that needs power; in this way, you can employ a portable generator at home if you lose power. You can also wire these generators into your home electrical system to provide emergency power when necessary. Wiring a portable generator to the panel box of your home requires the help of an electrician to complete the switch and subpanel installation.

Instructions

    • 1

      Hire a local certified electrician to install both a double pole double throw, or DPDT, switch and an subpanel. Installing either the DPDT switch or the subpanel on your own may break local laws and is very dangerous. This job should only be completed by certified electricians. In some areas, you may need a permit to complete this work. The electrician will determine if you need a permit.

    • 2

      Switch the the breakers over to the new subpanel and the transfer switch to the generator. The switch must be turned over to the generator for the generator to provide power to appliances and devices when the main system goes out. This system keeps the generator and main utility from supplying power at the same time, which prevents damage to your generator and keeps the technicians potentially working on the power lines safe.

    • 3

      Turn on the generator, and monitor it for a period of time. Let the system run to ensure that it provides all appliances and devices with enough power. Allowing the system to run for a period of time will help you determine how much fuel the generator goes through and how much you should keep on hand in case of an emergency.

Tips & Warnings

  • Keep generators outdoors because of the exhaust they produce.
  • Do not install a DPDT or subpanel on your own unless you are a certified electrician. You may incur fines according to state and local laws. In addition, if your work results in a fire, your homeowner's insurance may be void.
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References

  • Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images

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