How to Hook Up a Portable Generator to Your House

by John Rieselman | Jun 25, 2021 3:20:43 PM

If you're concerned about how to hook up a portable generator to a house, you're not alone. A lot of people aren't sure how to do it, and they worry about making a mistake or hooking it up incorrectly.

If you've bought a generator already, or you're about to, you're in luck. We can help you every step of the way in hooking up a portable generator to your home. You don't have to be concerned about whether you did it right or not! 

Here's what you'll want to consider before you connect:

1. Determine the Appliances You Absolutely Need

When you're thinking about using a portable generator, one of the first things you'll want to do is make sure you're choosing a generator that can handle your home's wattage needs

Some believe that a generator can only power a few things at a time. They might choose to power their refrigerator, for example, along with a window air conditioning unit, a small heater, and a couple of lamps. But larger generators can sometimes power more and if you need certain appliances when your power is off, don’t compromise. The most important thing is that you choose what works for you, and choose a generator that supports your needs.

2. Look at Your Appliance List & Determine Power Requirements

Once you have an appliance list, it's time to see how much power those appliances are going to use. That way, you can get a generator that's the right size, or adjust your appliance list to be better suited to the generator you already have. The power requirements are a vital part of how to hook up a portable generator to a house because it needs to meet your requirements. Use The Department of Energy’s Appliance and Home Electronic Energy Use calculator to determine your wattage needs.

3. Choose a Wiring System

The kind of wiring system you have for your generator may depend somewhat on the generator itself. But you'll also want to be sure that any choice you make is going to be compatible with your house's current wiring. Having a generator that can handle what you're asking of it matters, and when you get that you'll have fewer worries anytime the power goes out, and you need to use it.

4. Have Your Electrician Install an Inlet Box Hookup

Being able to hook your generator up quickly and efficiently is a game-changer. To do that though, you often need an inlet box hookup. That's not something you want to install for yourself. It's much safer and easier to have an electrician do it for you. By working with your electrician, you can get a good idea of where you should place your inlet box and how to use it properly.

5. Place the Generator Away from Your Home

It might seem like it's more convenient to have your generator placed directly against the house, but convenience doesn't always mean safety. With our generator safety checklist, you can find the right spot for your generator, so you can use it when you need it and know that it's far enough away from the house to reduce the risk of fire or malfunction. That peace of mind matters.

6. Plug Your Generator into Your Hookup

Once you have an inlet box installed, and you've determined where to put your generator, you can plug it in whenever you need it. You'll be ready to use it at any time. But it's also a good idea to familiarize yourself with how everything works and go over the checklist from time to time, so you're prepared.

7. Plug Your Attachment Cable into Your Generator

The cable needs to be plugged in securely. Then you know your generator will work, and you won't have to worry about having problems with it. Check your attachment cable twice, so everything will work on the first try.

8. Check the Engine

Before you start up a generator, you'll want to check the engine and make sure it can operate safely. If you're not sure, or something seems wrong, it's a good idea to have it looked over by a professional before you use it. Portable generators are generally pretty safe, but things can still go wrong. Discovering problems before trying to use the generator is one of the best ways to reduce risk.

9. Start the Engine

This one sounds simple, but make sure you understand how to start your generator properly. You don't want to damage the engine, and you also don't want to risk any kind of danger with an engine that's not safe. Rather than just hope for the best, make sure you're clear on how to start the generator's engine safely.

10. Switch the System Off so Your Generator Can Pick Up

Your generator needs to be able to send power to the appliances it's going to be operating. By switching your system off, you'll allow the generator to take over.

Let us Handle the Portable Generator Installation

Ready to get started?  We're here to help you have the comfort and safety you need for your portable generator usage.

Contact us today for help installing an inlet box hookup. That way you can rest easy knowing you have a generator when you need it the most.

Subscribe Now

Additional Reading