This video explains how to wire a generator to a house. There are many videos about generators out there, but this one was exceptionally well done.
Two important notes to remember before watching:
* Check your local regulations regarding electricity. This video doesn’t take your area’s ordinances and laws into consideration.
* Living Ready isn’t responsible if you wind up electrocuting someone.
That said, it’s important to understand how to wire a generator to a house. Spending a large chunk of money on a portable generator doesn’t accomplish much if the wiring isn’t set – and set correctly.
As you learn how to wire a generator to a house, here are some tips to consider.
Don’t Create “Backfeed”
Prior to Hurricane Sandy, Chief Anthony DeZenzo of the Parsippany, New Jersey, police department issued this warning in the Parsippany Patch:
One thing he said is crucial is to ensure that your power is off when using a generator.
“A generator connected to a home’s wiring or plugged into a regular household outlet can cause ‘backfeeding’ along power lines and electrocute anyone who comes in contact with them—even if the line seems dead,” he said. “It happens when a portable generator is connected directly to the home’s wiring without having a functional transfer switch. Without a transfer switch, a portable generator’s electricity can be sent back into the power grid from your house. This will energize the utility’s power lines on the street and poses an electrocution hazard for those who may not know that the voltage is present on the shared lines.”
Shutting power off before starting the generator, even if your regular electric service is down, ensures that no one is at risk of electrocution.
Make Sure the Generator Can Produce More Power than Needed
This one seems obvious, but it isn’t considered often enough. Plan ahead (i.e. not running to the hardware store the day before a big storm when selection is limited) by calculating how much wattage is required to operate critical appliances. Then buy a generator capable of producing more than that amount.