Essential Steps: Linking Your Portable Generator to Home


Power outages can strike at any time, leaving you scrambling to find a reliable source of electricity for your home. With a portable generator by your side, though, you can effectively tackle such situations and keep running essential appliances without worrying about the interruption in power supply.

In this blog post, we’ll walk you through the essential steps of linking your portable generator to your house, ensuring that it serves as an efficient backup during times of need.

Key Takeaways

  • A portable generator is a versatile power source that can provide temporary electrical energy to your home during blackouts or emergencies.
  • There are various types of generators, including open-type generators, baffle-box generators, traditional generators (no inverter), inverter generators, fixed generators, and portable generators. Each type has unique features catering to different scenarios.
  • To use a generator in your house safely and effectively during an outage, you can either connect appliances directly to the generator or connect the generator to the house’s electrical grid using a manual transfer switch or interlock kit.
  • When connecting your generator to your home’s electrical system with an interlock kit or transfer switch, it is highly recommended that you seek assistance from a certified electrician for safety reasons.
Linking A Generator To Your Home

What Is A Portable Generator?

A portable generator is a compact and versatile power source that provides temporary electrical energy to your home during blackouts or emergencies.

It is designed with mobility in mind, allowing you to place it wherever you need electricity the most.

For instance, let’s say there’s a severe thunderstorm causing a sudden power outage in your area. If you have a portable generator at hand, you can quickly set it up outside and ensure essential devices like lights, refrigerators, and communication equipment continue functioning until the main power grid resumes operation.

Types Of Generators

There are various types of generators, including open-type generators, baffle-box generators, traditional generators (no inverter), inverter generators, fixed generators, and portable generators.

Open-Type Generator

As a potential customer, you may have come across open-type generators while browsing for the perfect portable generator. These types of generators are known for their simplicity and affordability compared to other options.

One example of an open-type generator is one powered by gasoline which can provide enough power for various essential appliances during a power outage. Keep in mind that these generators might be a bit louder as there’s no enclosure or baffle-box muffling the engine noise.

Baffle-Box Generator

baffle-box generator is another type of portable generator that’s designed to reduce noise levels during operation significantly. This innovative design features a soundproof casing with baffles or partitions, which help dampen the noise produced by the engine and other mechanical components.

Imagine setting up your baffle-box generator during a power outage without disturbing neighbors or interrupting crucial conference calls as you work from home. Not only does this type of generator offer convenience and versatility, but its reduced noise output also makes it compliant with many neighborhood regulations regarding residential use of generators.

Traditional Generator (No Inverter)

The traditional generator, also known as a non-inverter generator, is the most common type of portable generator available on the market. This type of generator uses a four-stroke engine to convert mechanical energy into electrical power.

They are relatively easy to use and maintain but can be quite noisy compared to newer inverter models.

If you are looking for an affordable and straightforward solution to powering essential appliances during a power outage, then a traditional generator might be right for you.

However, it is important to consider your needs carefully before purchasing one. You should determine what appliances will need power during an outage and calculate how much wattage each appliance will require before deciding on a suitable model that meets your requirements.

Inverter Generator

One type of generator to consider is an inverter generator. Unlike traditional generators, inverter generators are designed to produce clean, stable power that’s safe for sensitive electronics like laptops and smartphones.

Plus, they’re often more fuel efficient and quieter than other types of generators.

When purchasing an inverter generator for your home, it’s important to consider factors such as the rated power output and runtime capacity.

Fixed Generators

Fixed generators are permanent installations that provide uninterrupted power supply for extended periods. They’re usually powered by natural gas, diesel or propane fuel sources and are typically used in larger homes, commercial buildings, hospitals and data centers.

When deciding on a fixed generator for your home or business, it’s important to consider factors such as the size of the buildingload requirements of appliances and electronics that need to be powered during an outage, as well as the fuel type available in your area.

Portable Generators

If you live in an area prone to power outages or just need a backup source of electricity, then a portable generator can be your savior. These generators come in different types and sizes, from small models that can power essential appliances to larger units that can run an entire home.

It’s important to choose the right generator for your needs and know how to operate it safely. Most portable generators run on fuel like diesel or gasoline, and they convert mechanical energy into electrical power using either a two-stroke or four-stroke engine.

Knowing the wattage rating of your appliances and calculating the total load is crucial when selecting the right size generator for your household needs.

How To Use A Generator In Your House

To use a generator in your house, you can either connect appliances directly to the generator or connect the generator to the house’s electrical grid using a manual transfer switch or interlock kit.

Connecting Appliances Directly To The Generator

If you’re planning to use a portable generator during a power outage, it’s important to know the correct way to connect appliances directly to the generator. Here are some essential steps:

  1. Determine the wattage requirements of each appliance you plan to connect to the generator.
  2. Use extension cords with the appropriate UL rating and ampacity for each appliance.
  3. Connect one appliance at a time directly to the generator using an extension cord plugged into the generator outlet.
  4. Avoid overloading the generator by adding up the wattage of all appliances connected and ensuring it doesn’t exceed rated power (kilo Volt Amperes or KVA).
  5. Monitor fuel and oil levels regularly, as well as carbon monoxide poisoning risk.

Remember, connecting appliances directly to a generator without proper precautions is dangerous, illegal, and a fire hazard. It is recommended that you seek assistance from a certified electrician when connecting your generator if you are not knowledgeable about electrical systems or codes in your area. Using a transfer switch is highly recommended by experts for safety purposes and legal wiring system compliance with nationally recognized codes such as National Electric Code (NEC).

Connecting The Generator To The House’s Electrical Grid

One of the most popular ways to use a portable generator at home is by connecting it to the house’s electrical grid. Here are some essential steps for safely and effectively linking your generator to your home:

  1. Determine your generator plug type and amperage: Make sure you have the right generator plug and cord set for your home’s electrical system.
  2. Gather necessary supplies: This includes a breaker interlock kit, 30 Amp 2 pole breaker, wire, power inlet boxelectrical conduit and fittings, and a generator extension cord.
  3. Drill (or find) access hole: Create or locate an access hole for the wiring to enter from outside.
  4. Mount power inlet box: Install the power inlet box on the exterior wall near the access hole.
  5. Test fit and glue conduit: Make sure everything fits properly before applying glue to seal up the conduit.
  6. Wire the generator inlet plug: Connect wires from the generator inlet plug to their corresponding terminal screws inside the power inlet box.
  7. Push wiring inside: Once wires are connected, push them through the conduit until they reach your home’s main electrical panel.
  8. Prep breaker box for wires: Remove knockout plugs in your home’s main electrical panel where wiring will enter.
  9. Create open breaker space: Dedicate two adjacent spaces in the breaker panel to accommodate a double-pole breaker for your generator.
  10. Install generator breaker and wires: Attach wires leading from your new double-pole breaker to these dedicated spaces in your home’s main electrical panel.
  11. Install breaker retainer: Securely mount a retainer clip onto installed breakers to prevent accidental disconnection during operation or maintenance.
  12. Install interlock on panel cover: Install an interlock kit that prevents both main contactors from being closed simultaneously so that only one source of power can be used at any given time
  13. Test system for proper operation: Start your generator and turn on any appliances connected to the system. If everything runs smoothly, you’re good to go!

By following these steps, you can safely and effectively connect your portable generator to your home’s electrical grid for reliable backup power during an outage.

Essential Steps For Linking Your Portable Generator To Home

To link your portable generator to your home, you’ll need to follow a few essential steps such as determining the plug type and amperage, drilling an access hole, wiring the generator inlet plug, installing the breaker retainer and interlock on panel cover, and testing the system for proper operation – read on to learn more!

Determine Your Generator Plug Type And Amperage

Before you start linking your portable generator to your home, it’s essential to determine the plug type and amperage of your generator. This ensures compatibility with the electrical system in your home.

Common plug types include Nema L14-20, Nema L14-30, and Nema CS6365.

Once you know the plug type, you can determine the amperage needed for proper operation of all appliances in use during power outage situations. The higher an appliance’s wattage is, the more amps it will require to run correctly.

Knowing these numbers helps ensure that you have enough power for everything to work as expected when using a portable generator.

Gather Necessary Supplies

To link your portable generator to your home, you will need several specific supplies. These include a breaker interlock kit, wire, power inlet boxelectrical conduit and fittings, and a generator extension cord.

It is crucial that the amperage and plug type of the generator are compatible with your breaker box.

When installing a power inlet box, you may need to drill an access hole or find one near the breaker box. Wiring must then be pushed through electrical conduit into the house and sealed with silicone or expanding foam.

To prepare for wiring in the breaker box, leave open space in the upper-right-hand corner for an interlock method.

Drill (or Find) Access Hole

To install a portable generator for home use, you will need to drill or find an access hole near your breaker box. This is where the cables from the power inlet box and generator will be fed into your house.

If you’re not comfortable with drilling a hole in your wall, consider hiring a professional electrician. They have the experience and tools necessary to ensure that the job is done safely and efficiently.

Mount Power Inlet Box

After determining your generator plug type and amperage, the next step in linking your portable generator to your home is to mount the power inlet box. This requires finding or drilling an access hole near the breaker box where the inlet box can be fixed.

It’s crucial to ensure that the power inlet box is placed at least 18 inches from any window, vent, or opening into your home for safety purposes. Once mounted securely, you will need to bring electrical conduit from the generator location into this new accessory-inlet through-wall attachment and also connect conduit between it and your circuit breaker panel.

Test Fit And Glue Conduit

Before wiring the generator inlet plug, it is essential to test fit and glue conduit. This step ensures that the electrical wire fits securely inside the conduit without falling out or getting stuck during installation.

It’s important to note that choosing UL-rated materials for this process is crucial for safety reasons. Using proper material reduces the risk of potential fires due to overheating caused by improper insulation or unstable conduits.

Wire The Generator Inlet Plug

Now that you have gathered all the necessary supplies and mounted the power inlet box, it’s time to wire the generator inlet plug. This is a critical step in connecting your portable generator to your house during a power outage.

Next, connect the wiring from the generator inlet plug to its corresponding terminals on the power inlet box using wire nuts. Make sure to follow manufacturer’s instructions for proper installation and ensure that wires are securely connected.

It is essential that this process be carried out correctly as poor or faulty wiring can lead not only to lack of electricity but also possible electric shock or fire hazard.

Push Wiring Inside

Once the conduit is in place, it’s time to push the wiring inside. This part requires a bit of patience and skill since you’ll have to feed the wire through the conduit slowly while making sure it doesn’t get kinked or tangled up.

I found that using a fish tape tool helps make this step easier.

It’s essential to remember safety during this step as well. Before pushing any wire through, ensure all power sources are turned off and unplugged.

Prep Breaker Box For Wires

Now that we have drilled or found our access hole and mounted the power inlet box, it’s time to prep the breaker box for wires. This step is where you’ll be turning off all breakers in the panel and removing the front panel cover.

It’s important to make sure all of your appliances are switched off before you do this.

Before proceeding, create an open breaker space by removing one of the existing breakers and replacing it with a double-pole breaker that matches your generator’s amperage rating.

This will be used as a backup during a power outage when utilizing your generator. Once this is done, install your generator breaker and wires according to manufacturer instructions.

Create Open Breaker Space

To create open breaker space, you will need to remove an existing breaker and install a new one specifically for the generator. This requires careful planning and knowledge of your electrical system.

One crucial step is to make sure you have enough space in your electrical panel for the new breaker. You may need to rearrange or remove some breakers if there isn’t enough room.

Once you’ve created a space for the new breaker, it’s essential to secure it properly and ensure that all wires are connected correctly.

Install Generator Breaker And Wires

Now that the power inlet box is mounted and wired, it’s time to install the generator breaker and wires. This step involves connecting the generator plug and wiring to a specially designated circuit in your home’s electrical panel.

Once you have installed the breaker, test everything for proper operation before relying on your new backup power source during an outage.

Install Breaker Retainer

The breaker retainer is a crucial component of installing a portable generator in your home. It helps to keep the breaker in place during installation and ensures safe and secure connection of the generator to your home’s electrical system.

To install the retainer, you’ll need to mount it on the panel cover of your breaker box, which should be done before connecting any wires. Once installed, you can go ahead with running wires from the power inlet box to the breaker box and connecting them according to their colors (green for ground, white for common, black and red for load).

Install Interlock On Panel Cover

Now that you’ve mounted the power inlet box and connected the wires, it’s time to install the interlock on the panel cover. The interlock is a safety device that ensures both the generator breaker and main breaker cannot be on at the same time.

To install an interlock kit, first turn off all of your home’s circuit breakers and shut down your generator. Remove the panel cover from your electrical service panel by unscrewing any fasteners or screws holding it in place.

Make sure that everything is secured properly because a loose connection can cause panic during emergencies.

Test The System For Proper Operation

Now that you have completed all the necessary steps to link your portable generator to your home, it’s time to test the system for proper operation. This step is critical to ensure that everything works as expected when a power outage occurs.

Next, turn off all connected appliances and devices before starting up the generator. Then, start up the generator and wait for it to stabilize before gradually turning on each appliance one at a time.

Keep an eye on the wattage usage meter on your generator or use a separate watt meter device plugged into an outlet to monitor how much electricity each appliance consumes.

If you notice any overload issues or electrical failures, immediately shut off the appliances and check for possible wiring errors or changes needed in your setup.

Safety Precautions And Tips

Always remember to avoid backfeeding, which is connecting the generator directly to your home’s electrical outlet without a proper transfer switch, as it can pose a danger both for you and the utility workers who may be repairing downed lines.

Avoid Backfeeding

Backfeeding is the process of connecting your generator directly to a home’s electrical panel without a transfer switch. This can be highly dangerous and illegal as it can produce electric shocks, fires, and explosions.

Backfeeding electricity into utility lines while workers are repairing them can also harm or kill those contractors.

To avoid backfeeding, always follow local regulations for installing generators in homes. Choose from manual transfer switches or interlock kits that meet safety standards and comply with local codes before running them in your home during power outages or emergencies.

Always use UL-rated extension cords or gen-cords suitable for outdoor use rated at 30 amps when powering appliances with lower wattages like refrigerators, freezers, sump pumps, and portable AC units to prevent tripping breakers or overloading circuits.

Use The Appropriate Extension Cords And Gen-Cords

It is crucial to use the right extension cords and gen-cords when connecting a portable generator to your home. The cords should be the correct length and gauge, free from damage and wear, to avoid risks of shock or fire.

Make sure that you are using UL-rated cords designed specifically for outdoor use in wet conditions.

Another important consideration is the power rating of your appliances compared to that of the generator’s outlet. Ensure that you know how much wattage each appliance will require determined by their rated power before plugging them into the generator outlet.

Remembering these points can go a long way in preventing electrical accidents while ensuring effective usage of backup electricity for critical systems around your home such as sump pumps, refrigerators/freezers, portable AC units, etc.

Check Local Regulations For Proper Installation

It’s important to check your local regulations before installing a generator hookup for your home. Here are some things to consider:

  • Some states or cities may require specific permits or inspections before installation.
  • Local building codes and electrical safety standards must be followed to ensure the system is safe and legal.
  • Many utility companies have specific requirements for backup power systems, including how they are connected to the grid and how they are used during outages.
  • Different types of generators may have different installation requirements.

By checking your local regulations and consulting with professionals as needed, you can ensure that your generator hookup is installed correctly and safely. This will give you peace of mind during power outages and help protect your home and family from hazards.

Frequently Asked Questions

What size generator will run a house? Can a generator damage a refrigerator? These and more questions are answered in this section.

Can A Generator Damage A Refrigerator?

During a power outage, you may be relying on your portable generator to keep essential appliances like your refrigerator running. However, there is a common concern that generators may damage refrigerators.

The truth is, if you use the right wiring system and ensure proper wattage usage, your generator should not damage the fridge or any other appliance.

It’s crucial to note that refrigerators have a starting capacitor that increases wattage momentarily when the compressor starts up.

To prevent damages from occurring to household devices or injury due to improper wiring connections or coincidental aberrations in voltage output levels of generators must be considered while operating them.

It’s also essential to choose high-quality UL rated extension cords and gen-cords suitable for outdoor use and sturdy enough for heavy usage without risking electrical fire hazards during operation.

What Size Generator Will Run A House?

To determine the size of generator needed to run your house, you must first list all the electrical appliances you intend to use during a power outage. A petrol-driven generator with a rated power of 3500W can serve for lighting, TV, fans, and a fridge or freezer during a power outage.

However, stoves, air conditioners, and tumble driers use too much power from a typical portable generator. When selecting an appropriate generator size for your home, it is essential to consider the wattage rating of appliances and their total energy consumption when in operation.

How Much Does It Cost To Have A House Wired For A Generator?

If you’re thinking of installing a generator in your home, the cost to wire it can range from $3,000 to $5,000 depending on various factors. This includes labor and materials such as electrical conduit and fittings, wires, and a transfer switch.

However, keep in mind that the actual cost will also depend on the type of generator you have and where it needs to be installed.

While this might seem like a hefty expense upfront, having backup power during an emergency can save you thousands of dollars in damages caused by power outages or natural disasters.

Additionally, professional installation is highly recommended for safety purposes and to ensure compliance with local regulations.

What Happens If You Plug Too Many Things Into A Generator?

It can be tempting to plug in as many appliances and electronics as possible into your portable generator during a power outage or emergency situation. However, overloading the generator by plugging in too many things can lead to dangerous situations such as electrical fires, damaged machinery, and even carbon monoxide poisoning.

In addition, it is also illegal and violates electrical codes. To avoid these risks, it’s important to determine the wattage of each appliance and how much capacity your generator has before connecting them.

It’s also essential to follow safety precautions such as using properly rated cords and avoiding backfeeding into the main power line.


Linking your portable generator to your home can be a vital step in emergency preparedness. By following the essential steps outlined above, you can safely and effectively power essential appliances during a power outage.

Remember to always prioritize safetyseek professional guidance and inspection, and choose a generator with enough wattage to meet your needs.


1. Why is it important to properly link my portable generator to my home?

Properly linking your portable generator ensures that your home has a reliable source of power during an electrical outage. This can be crucial for safety, comfort and essential appliances like refrigerators or medical equipment.

2. What does it mean to “link” a portable generator to my home?

Linking a portable generator refers to the process of connecting the generator directly into your home’s electrical system either with extension cords or through a transfer switch in order provide backup power in case of outages.

3. Can I link any portable generator to my home’s electrical system?

Not all generators are compatible for linking with homes due both variances in voltage output as well as differences in connection outlets required by different homes’ electrical systems.. It is recommended that consumers consult with qualified electricians and manufacturer documentation before investing substantial sums in purchasing generators without this capability built-in from release date either via manual safety features like mandatory grounded plugs which avoid electrocution hazards now present when unplugging devices within wet environments OR models specifically marketed towards homeowners linking them up.

4. Are there any potential safety risks involved with improperly linked generators?

Yes, inadequate preparation prior is extremely dangerous since risking fatal harm may occur especially if you’re unable tell whether current supply lines are live/not on standby mode throughout house wiring making sure all junction boxes and plug-outlets throughout residence have proper grounding measures implemented must be given utmost priority when proceeding prepare any makeshift alternative means connect using standard household wall sockets while intending utilize overflow provision from mobile units available onsite (i.e., gas-powered generatrors)

Subscribe to our list

Don't worry, we don't spam


I'm Wayne. I have worked in the construction industry for many decades and have had the opportunity to work with various equipment and portable generators. I've also written extensively about both subjects. I spend time with my family when I'm not writing or working in construction.

Electric Ninjas
Compare items
  • Total (0)
Shopping cart