Generators are an excellent way to ensure that you always have an emergency supply of electricity, should anything go wrong.
Blackouts are more common in some areas than others, but everywhere has the potential to lose electricity. So, you can never be too careful when it comes to contingency plans.
Hooking up a generator to your house can help you keep your necessary appliances running during a power cut. Okay, so you might not be able to have a movie night or run the hot tub, but your frozen food will remain edible and you’ll be able to heat the house.
When the power does go out; however, it can be a stressful situation no matter how prepared you are. For this reason, it’s best to connect the generator to your home as soon as possible to avoid you trying to do it in the dark.
It’s a job that is bound to take you a few hours to complete, so what are you waiting for?
Today we’ll be taking you through a step by step process on how you’d go about hooking your generator up to your house.
Phase One: The Wiring
First thing’s first, you need to wire your house so that the generator can run all of the appliances you need in an emergency.
Step One: What’s most important?
You need to determine which appliances you’ll be running from your generator.
Stoves and larger appliances will take too much energy and not leave you with much for the rest of your house. The size of your generator will determine how many appliances you can run.
For example, a 3500-watt generator will be enough for a refrigerator, television, lighting, and fans.
The larger you go, the more you can keep up and running. You can find the power rating of your generator on the body of it. This number is how much energy the generator will be able to deliver for 12 hours, as an average, on a single tank of fuel.
Now that you have a list of what you want to hook your generator up to, you’ll need to do some maths to see if it’s achievable. Look at each piece’s wattage requirements and write it down on a piece of paper.
If the total comes to below the generator’s wattage, you should be able to connect all of them together.
Step Two: Choosing the wires
Every area has different laws and therefore you should check to see what is legal in your town.
You can either opt for an interlock kit or a manual transfer switch. The former is cheap and easy to install, but they’re not as safe as a manual transfer switch.
A manual transfer switch is more expensive and needs to be installed by a professional. It’s the safest option and will keep you and your family protected from dodgy wiring.
You might end up paying more for the installation, but can you put a price on your family’s safety?
Step Three: Don’t forget the inlet box!
While the professional is wiring your house, you should ask them to connect your inlet box as well. This is a box that remains outside of your house and it connects to your wiring system.
It’s important to get this done by a professional because your insurance might not cover the cost of damages should something go wrong.
We would advise that you get a professional to check every area of your wiring and inlet box before connecting it to the generator. This will give you peace of mind that everything is safe and it will prevent you from unknowingly breaking the law.
Phase Two: Connecting the Generator
Now you’re ready to connect the generator to your house.
Generators are handy, but they’re not the safest pieces of equipment out there.
Make sure that you follow the safety instructions that we’ve listed below to avoid a dangerous incident from occurring.
Step One: Position the generator
Your generator should come with a cable that connects to the inlet box.
Take the generator as far away from the house as possible before the cable can no longer reach. Generators have a tendency to catch fire when they’re in too much of an enclosed space, so it’s a good idea to get your model as far away from any furniture or plants as possible.
Generators also omit a lot of carbon monoxide, so getting it far away from your home can avoid poisoning your household. Where possible, point the exhaust away from your house as well as your neighbors to keep everyone safe.
If there’s a chance of wet weather, you might want to invest in a generator cover to avoid your model from breaking down when you need it the most.
There are some covers that allow you to use them while the generator is running, or you could make your own if you didn’t want to spend as much money.
Step Two: Making connections
You can now plug your generator into the hookup on the outside of your house.
Most connections require you to insert the wire before rotating it around 15 degrees. This locks the mechanisms together and avoids them coming apart.
Plug the other end into your generator so that your house and model are connected by one wire.
Some generators allow you to choose the voltage you want, so do this if you have the option to.
Step Three: Final checks
Before you turn the generator on and begin powering your house, you should make some final checks to the model to ensure that nothing is out of the ordinary.
Take a look at the throttle, ensuring that it is not damaged or in the wrong position. You can also check the oil levels and how much fuel is in the tank.
If you live in a particularly cold area, you might need to preheat the engine to avoid damaging your generator.
You can do this with a glow plug. Make sure you take this into consideration so that you don’t have to wait around with no power while the engine heats up.
Step Four: Power it up!
After completing the final checks, turn the engine on by following the instructions in the manufacturers manual. If you’ve started the generator before and know your generator well this shouldn’t take too long.
However, turning a generator on for the first time can be a little tricky and take a few attempts.
Back inside your house, you can find the breaker that was professionally installed and switch it from utility main to generator main. Once that’s done, you should flip the breakers on the wiring system that you installed.
This will begin surging power to the chosen appliances that you hooked up. There should be more than one switch for each appliance. Flip these switches slowly and one by one. If you do this too fast you might put too much pressure on the generator.
Once all of the switches have been flipped, your emergency appliances should be running solely on generator power.
Check the appliances one by one to ensure that everything is running smoothly. You will be able to use the generator power until the fuel runs out.
Phase Three: Returning to Normal
Once the power outage has been fixed and your house is now able to be put back onto utility power, you’ll have to reverse everything that you did to connect the generator to your house.
Step One: Flip the switches
Return back to your breaker system and flip the switches off again. This will stop the power of the generator from reaching your appliances.
Next, turn the generator main switch off and slip the utility main switch back on. This will allow your house to be powered by the main electrical grid again.
Step Two: Return to the generator
Go outside and turn your generator off using the switch on the body. Don’t unplug the wire expecting your generator to turn off that way, as this can be very dangerous if power is still traveling through the wire.
Once the generator is powered off completely, remove the cable from the generator and the inlet box. Loop it up ready to be stored safely. Now that the generator is powered off, you can store it away until you need to use it again.
However, you might want to wait for a couple of hours before moving the generator. Depending on how long you were running your generator, it might be very hot to touch. To avoid burning yourself or harming your model, you should wait for it to cool down before transporting it.
Phase Four: Storing Your Generator
If you’re planning to store your generator away for a long period of time before you use it again, you’ll need to drain the fuel out of the generator to avoid it causing internal damage to your model.
You will also have to clean your generator properly to avoid any corrosion from happening during the time that it’s stored away.
If the generator has been sitting on damp ground for a period of time, you might also want to dry it off to avoid the metal components rusting. You should store the model in a dry area away from anything that could damage the body. Garages or generator storage boxes are great options.
It’s generally not advisable to leave your generator outside for too long, as the natural elements can cause damage very quickly. However, if you don’t have any other places to store your generator, you should look for a high-quality generator storage cover.
We would recommend you to always consult a professional when planning to connect a generator to your house, particularly with the wiring. Failing to do so could result in breaking the law and putting your household at risk.
Once the wiring is completed, connecting your generator to your house is quite simple and can be done in just a few steps. However, make sure that you complete them carefully and slowly to avoid mistakes.
As long as you take your time connecting your generator to your house, you should be able to run your emergency appliances for up to 12 hours on a single tank of fuel.
Once the mains electricity is back on, it’s simple enough to reverse the steps and remove the generator connected to the house.