In states such as Florida, natural disasters like hurricanes can occur, and this can cause blackouts for several weeks. When this happens, you’ll need a source of backup electricity. This is where your generating set comes in to keep your lights on and some of your appliances running.
In the absence of a transfer switch, you’ll need to know how to connect a generator to a house. This will demand shortcuts, and as long as they’re executed the right way by a qualified electrician, there shouldn’t be an issue.
An electrician can connect your generator to your house without a transfer switch by making a place for the outlet utility box. They drill a hole for connecting the outlet to your generator cables, install this utility box on your outside wall, connect the wire into the outlet kit, and connect the generator to the outlet to test the connection.
This article will discuss the tools needed to facilitate this, a guide on how to connect a generator to a house without a transfer switch, and additional information, such as safety measures for connecting your generator without a transfer switch.
Please note, that this is an informational guide only.
For your own safety, we highly recommend hiring a licensed electrician for this job.
Do You Require a Transfer Switch for Your Generator?
The short answer is no. However, there are many reasons why experts advise that you have transfer switches installed in your home when you want to connect portable generator power to your house’s electrical system.
The primary reason is that a generator transfer switch is the safest way to connect your generating set to your home. Using extension cords can trigger problems and enhance the risks of electrical hazards such as electric shock or fire.
Secondly, the National Electrical Code requires the use of a professionally installed transfer switch when you want to connect a generator to the house.
Despite all these, what do you do when there’s no transfer switch available, and you need electrical power in your home to run your appliances? You opt for the alternative; without a transfer switch.
You’ll need to get the following tools:
- Generating set for providing electricity
- Extension cords or electrical wiring for connecting your generator outlet to the power inlet box in your home
- Double outlet receptacle kit for proper connection of the electrical wires
- A watt testing device for measuring the wattage supplied by the portable generator
- A large round plug and wire to connect the generator inlet box to your generator
- Multipurpose tool to remove drywall
- Drill to create holes through the wall
- Sealant for proper waterproof installation
- Safety covering for extra safety
- Philip screwdriver for securing the receptacle in place
- Waterproof metal box for protecting the extension cable from weather elements and possible damages
If you already have an extension cord in the house and it’s in good condition (without damages on the line or end plugs), you can use it for the connection. Your extension cord should not be shorter than 25 feet. Since you’re using your generator for backup electricity only, getting a generating set of 3.5KW, 30 amps, and output of 120 volts will do.
Suppose your home is large and you intend to run a generator of higher capacity to provide electricity. In that case, you should first upgrade the extension cable before connecting it to the house. Also, high-capacity generating sets ideally work with an automatic transfer switch to connect your generator to the house.
Connect Generator To House Without Transfer Switch
1. Make a Space for Power Outlet
The first step in this connection is to get a space for your power outlet in a location of your choice. To create this space, use your oscillating tool for drywall and wood to make a rectangle-shaped hole that can fit the outlet utility box on your wall. If the wall is made of concrete, use your hand drill.
2. Drill Holes for Connecting Your Generator Cords
Use your hand drill to create holes that you can use to run wires through from outside. These holes should be bigger than the estimated diameter of the generator cables. The reason for this is to prevent damage to your generator cables when setting them up in the kit.
3. Set up the Waterproof Box on the Outside Wall
The next step is to install the waterproof box on the outside wall. This box will shield the end plug of your cable from any kind of damage that may potentially occur. Make sure the safety box is big enough to contain all your cables.
4. Attach the Generator Cable to the Outlet Kit
To connect your cables to the outlet kit, place the plugged side of the cord outside. Once situated outside, set up the kit in the house. After setting up the outlet, use a sealant on the internal and external holes to cover them. Using a sealant will make your installation or set up waterproof.
5. Connect Portable Generator to the Outlet
The only way to check if your setup worked is by testing it. To go about this, switch on your generating set, connect the plug, then connect your extension cable to the generator inlet plug. The next thing is to attach your energy consumption testing device and switch on appliances with power ratings that are within the capacity of your generator. This will help you determine the wattage of your generator outputs.
There are tutorial videos to give you a demonstration of the steps listed above.
Safety should be the foremost word on your mind whenever you’re doing any electrical work. There are certain safety instructions or tips that you should follow:
- Wearing a pair of high-quality working gloves and protective eyewear is a start to working safely.
- You’ll also need a pair of good rubber boots to protect you from electrocution.
- Other safety tools include pliers, wrenches, chisels, screwdrivers, and electrical takes.
How Many Devices or Appliances can I Run with a 3KW Generator?
Firstly, you need to consider the number of devices in your home or the total wattage of your appliances. Then, you can switch on several LED lights and use electrical devices such as your laptop and phone charger. You can operate multiple appliances/devices without issues if they don’t surpass the peak capacity of your generator.
If you have appliances such as an electric heater or cooker, which consumes a lot of power, it will be advisable to run it alone. This means you should switch on no other device or appliance. The reason is to avoid excess electrical load on the circuit breaker of your generator, which can trigger significant damage. To go about this safely, review the power input of your home appliances before running them when you use your generator to supply power.
Also, ensure you correctly calculate the wattage of your home appliances to avoid damaging the breaker box. Furthermore, don’t aim for 3KW, which is the peak capacity of your generator. Instead, the total wattage you intend to draw from the generator with your appliances should fall within the range of 2.5KW – 2.8KW. This will prevent the occurrence of damage to the main circuit breaker or the generator itself and enhance its lifespan.
Can a 15KW Generator Power a Home?
The short answer is yes. On average, several home appliances consume between 3KW to 6.5KW of power from the circuit. This means that a 15KW generator can power all your lights and appliances at home. Moreover, it can carry 120 and 240 volts of electricity output, enabling you to switch on and use low-voltage and high-voltage appliances simultaneously.
However, a 15KW generator won’t be able to provide sufficient power if you own several high-power appliances and intend to run all of them simultaneously. In this case, the best thing to do is first to calculate their total wattage. This will decide if you can run all of them on generator power or not.
For extra safety, you should use any of the following:
- manual transfer switches
- an automatic transfer switch
- or a generator interlock.
These can automatically switch back to the main power supply when electricity returns to the power grid. Not having them means you could have your generator running simultaneously as your main utility power, which can damage your generating set.
If your home requires a small generating set, it is convenient to connect generator to your house without transfer switch. Also, there are several safety box options to choose from if you’re using extension wires. The interlock kit should be used only during this kind of connection.
Lastly, be familiar with the legalities of this connection in your state. This way, you don’t have legal problems because this connection is illegal in some states for safety reasons. This connection should also be handled by a licensed electrician.
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