How to Hook Up a Portable Generator to a House

How to Hook Up a Portable Generator to a House

Portable generators are life-saving devices that you can hardly miss in any American home. Many Americans have portable or standby generators in place for use during emergencies when there is power loss from mains electricity.

In situations such as during floods, tornadoes, and hurricanes which causes power outages, portable generators are applied to power most essential appliances and light or heat the home. Moreover, some people in most remote areas where there is no Mainz electricity. use a portable generator as the main source of electricity.

Regardless of the reason why you are having that portable generator, the key is that you must know how to properly hook up a generator to a house. This at some time becomes a challenge to many. But whichever the challenge that it entails, it must be done correctly. In this article, we are going to look at what you should remember and the steps to follow to hook up a portable generator to your home.

Aspects to Emphasize When Hooking Up a Portable Generator to Your Home

Caution is required when hooking up a portable generator to your home. In general, generators output a lot of power. So, here are things to take caution on when installing your portable generator.

Avoid direct connection 

The first thing that you should avoid is to directly connect to the main house wiring. A direct connection can cause a back feed which can damage the entire wiring and your generator. It can also put the one installing at serious risk of being injured or possibly meet death.

Never use a standard outlet

You should never use a standard outlet to hook up your generator in your home. The appliances to be powered have to be plugged into the generator. You should also avoid plugging too many gadgets into your generator as it can result in an overload. Moreover, you should power those gadgets that you require most unless they have been dormant for some time, say 12 months and above.

Portable generators should be kept outdoors

Portable generators should always be kept outside your house. These gadgets emit fumes containing Hazardous carbon monoxide gas. So, you should store your portable generator outside your home and use an extension cable long enough to reach from the generator to your house.

Steps on How to Hook Up a Portable Generator to Your Home

Calculate your power needs

The first step to hooking your portable generator to your home is to determine your power consumption. You should have a chart of the power consumption of all the appliances that you intend to power. If your generator doesn’t have the capability of powering all of your furnaces, TVs, Washers, Freezers, or dryers, then decide on which you need most.  To identify whether if your generator can power up your essential gadget is to list out their energy requirements. From, there you can then choose a set that is supported. This will depend on the capability of your generator. But you can consider wiring two different generators in parallel to combine their power outputs.

Perform a safety check 

You should set aside some time to do a little check about the codes and safety standards specific to your country or locality. For instance, if interlock is not allowed in your locality then, you can opt for another connection approach. If it is a requirement that connection work should be completed by a professional person, then you have to look for an expert.

Choose the connection method

The next step is now to decide on the best connection method that best suits your needs. The connection approach should also be safe for all of your gadgets that you want to power. It is no doubt that at this point you have a list of gadgets that you want to power. More so, it is no doubt that you have prepared the energy requirement table for those gadgets. If so, then choose a suitable connection approach. If you have concerns about which approach to follow, consider consulting an expert. As I said before portable generators are hazardous if the connection is done wrongly. So, it will not be worth the risk of safety of you and your family by choosing the wrong connection.

Prepare the required tools

The other crucial step in hooking up a portable generator for your home is to collect the requirements. There are many things you will need along the process.

Here are some of them:


At some point in your installation process, you will be required to drill a hole through the wall, or through any in-between partition to let the extension cords pass through. But if you have premade holes running through your foundation already, you pass the cable through them.

The only thing to remember here is that your hole, whether pre-existing or drilled new one should be near the control panel as much as possible. A Hammer driller is the most recommended for drilling through different materials. 

Control panel box

The control panel is crucial if you have chosen the interlock connection method. The box should be mounted outside your home. It should be strategically positioned so that it is near both your indoor panel and your generator.

Breaker box

While most interlock systems require that a set part of your panel box be free, then you should ensure that there is space in your indoor breaker box. Installation of breaker boxes should be done by a confident person if you aren’t considering hiring an expert.

Wires/extension cables 

You also need to ensure you have enough wires and cables.

Start by wiring the inlet portion

After assembling the required materials, start the process by wiring the inlet portion of the electric. This will ensure that the power passes to the interlocking box outside your house. Wiring of the inlet portion should be done after preparing a wiring diagram. This helps plan out the schematics of connections and in turn, will ensure that wires are labeled for the purposes they are to perform.

Wire the indoor

You can run wires through the wall or the foundation. Use a junction box to mark the spots.

Connect breaker

Connect the wires that you have let in from outside to the breaker. While making a breaker connection, ensure the ground wire is in place.

Test the connection

It is now time to power up your generator and test what you have been sweating for. Generators should be turned on first before turning on the main power to your house. One by one turn on the gadget that is connected to your generator. You should keenly watch for any concerning signs. If you see any of the Suspicious behavior of your powered gadget, cut off the power supply from your generator. Then, check the connections for any fault. If not sure what might be the error, call the professionals.


Following the right procedure on how to hook up a portable generator to a house, will result in an easy conversion from the main grid to your portable power. But if done in the wrong way, your property, family, and yourself might be at the risk. So, follow the guideline above for safety. If not sure, hire the service of an expert.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *