How to Hook Up a Generator

Installing an whole house emergency generator for hurricane season

It is never too early to be prepared. With hurricane season upon us, homeowners are starting to wonder whether they should install a generator to save them from chaos and stress. You may still want to collect and store hurricane supplies, including large amounts of water, canned foods or extra flashlights and batteries but if you have a home generator installed, it could provide you power during any power outage.

When choosing a generator, the decision is between a small portable type that you can plug an extension cord into just to power a few essential appliances like a refrigerator or freezer, or have the portable generator connect by use of a twist-lock cord into a receptacle that back-feeds power into your main circuit panel or a small generator ready subpanel. That requires lockout hardware that disconnects your panel from the utility main so no generator power back feeds into the grid. The other option is to use a permanently installed pad-mounted generator that connects to your home through an automatic transfer panel.

It is important to determine your generator plug type and amperage. A small generator is about 6,000-8,000 watt and can often power most household appliances. However, to determine what kind of power your home needs you need to ask yourself several questions: whether you have an electric, heat pump or gas heating system; and if your hot water heater is electric or gas. This will determine if you need a larger size of generator to cover your needs.

Any option you choose requires the use of a transfer switch mechanism. There are two forms of transfer switches: manual transfer switch and automatic transfer switch.

As your grandmother always said, “There is a right way and a wrong way to do everything.“

We can help you decide the type of installation that will meet your needs and budget.

As we have learned in the last few years, generators come in handy during hurricane season or whenever there is a storm that causes you to lose power. But due to the safety issues and maintenance, you want a qualified electrician to hook up your generator. It’s certainly something we can help with.