This article is to answer a common question: How to connect generator to house without transfer switch?
If you’ve never connected a generator to your house without the help of a transfer switch, you may be wondering whether or not this is even possible.
The answer is: yes, it’s possible to connect a generator to your house without a transfer switch if you have certain tools (such as an interlock kit and breakers) on hand.
I should tell you right off the bat that this won’t be an easy process. Connecting a generator to your house using a transfer switch is the more convenient alternative, but it doesn’t come cheap.
Besides, when you don’t have a transfer switch lying around (many people don’t), you could use a few tips and tricks to get your power back up.
In this article, we’ll discuss exactly how you can do the same.
Tips On How to Connect a Generator to Your House Without A Transfer Switch
I combed through several videos online and read all the best articles written by genuine experts to bring you a simple yet comprehensive guide on how you can connect a generator to your house without a transfer switch.
You needn’t worry about any of these tricks being complicated because they aren’t – with just a few tools; you’ll see that you’re able to get your generator up and running in no time. Let’s dive into the details of how you can do the same.
Before I elaborate on how you can connect a generator without a transfer switch, I’m compelled to mention that this is not the safest way to go about it. The main reason we have transfer switches in the first place is that they help ensure the safety of the people using the generator and its general surroundings.
However, sometimes, when it’s an emergency (such as an extended power cut in harsh conditions), it can be very difficult to make do without power, so it’s understandable that you want to use a generator with or without a transfer switch.
You can keep the following tips in mind to stay safe while connecting a generator in the absence of a transfer switch:
- Use protective gear in case things go south
- Check with the authorities about whether connecting a generator without a transfer switch is legal in your state
- Don’t use a male plug as this could cause a fire hazard
- Not all appliances can be powered without connecting a generator through a transfer switch
Using An Interlocking Kit
Using an interlocking kit is one of the most convenient and common ways of connecting a generator to your house without a transfer switch.
Make sure that using an interlocking kit is legal in your state before you go ahead with this method (you don’t want to spend the money you saved on a transfer switch on a large fine, do you?). The biggest advantage of using an interlocking kit is that it does not feed power back into the grid.
You will require a professional electrician to help you install this kit. Trying to install it yourself may get you into trouble with the relevant authorities.
Before you purchase an interlock kit, check that it fits onto the panels in your home and whether or not your electrical system and generator can accommodate it. These kits work when your main source of power supply is off.
Once the supply is off, you can connect the kit to your generator using wires. This is, in essence, an alternative to your regular electrical supply. The kit sits comfortably on the control panel of your electrical system by securing the breakers into position.
You’ll find interlock kits out there that are perfectly tailored to work with the model of generator you have, so bear this in mind before you buy one.
Another great advantage of using interlocking kits over transfer switches is that they cost significantly lesser than the latter.
Here are some of the recommended interlocking kit that you can buy from Amazon:
Use The Right Wires
You’ll need more than one set of good-quality electrical wires if you’re not going to be using a transfer switch to power your house via a generator. However, it’s recommended that you use three different sets of electrical wires to ensure maximum safety.
So, you can differentiate between the sets of wires easily, and you could opt to use different colored sets.
You must check the wires you plan on using are in perfect condition, or you run the risk of receiving an electrical shock while connecting the generator.
Drill A Hole in Your Wall
First, determine where you want to place your generator (learn how to run a generator in a garage safely). Note that generators make a great deal of noise when they’re up and running, so you’d be ill-advised to place one in a spot of relaxation.
For instance, it would be a big mistake to install a generator right outside your bedroom window if you’re a light sleeper.
Also related: Learn how to make your generator as quiet as a cricket.
Once you’ve decided on the right spot to place your generator, start drilling a hole in the wall right next to it that’s large enough to fit your wires in. These wires will essentially connect the generator to your house and power your appliances in the event of an outage or blackout.
Before you attempt to connect the generator, make sure you know what its plug type is and which way it’s facing. You’ll need adequate information on the amperage, too, before you set it up.
Make sure to follow the codes on the generator near the plug and adjust your materials accordingly. Besides, you’ll need to check whether the plug is large enough to fit on either side of your breaker.
Speaking of breakers, you’ll need to purchase one that can accommodate your exact power requirements and is compatible with your generator.
Step-By-Step Guide on How to Connect a Generator Without a Transfer Switch
You can follow these steps to connect your generator to your house without the help of a transfer switch:
- First and foremost, put on protective gear such as gloves, goggles, clothing, and more before you start working on connecting the generator
- Keep all your tools ready such as pliers, a drilling machine, breaker, and screwdrivers
- Use three sets of differently colored wires and make sure all of the wires are in good condition with the insulation intact
- Adjust the materials you’re going to be using per the codes written on the plugs on either side of the breaker on the generator
- Drill a hole large enough for the wires in a wall right next to where you’ll be placing your generator
- Make sure that the hole you’ll be drilling is located a few feet away from the power supply inlet that you’ll be using
- Next, you’ll need to connect the generator to your power supply via the inlet plug by pulling a wire from the conduit and pushing out whichever wires are left
- After you do this, all that’s left to do is to keep your breaker box ready to receive whichever wires you pushed out
- Once you’ve followed all these steps, you can use some covering to protect the breaker box from external damage
Should You Connect Your Generator Without a Transfer Switch?
One thing’s for sure, connecting a generator without a transfer switch is a riskier affair than connecting one with the help of the same. Another drawback of connecting a generator without a transfer switch is that several of your home appliances won’t work this way.
Therefore, in the event of an outage, you’ll have to make do with only a few appliances that can be powered without a transfer switch.
Besides, if you wish to put your house on the market anytime soon, you’ll need to purchase a transfer switch, or you may get into trouble with the local authorities.
However, all that being said, transfer switches are quite costly, and installing them may require the services of an electrician.
Another thing to take into account is that if you encounter an emergency and haven’t got a transfer switch, it’s best to know how you can connect your generator to the house without one.
Also related: How to use a portable generator with extension cords.
All in all, connecting a generator to your house without a transfer switch may not always be safe or legal, but it certainly gets the job done in emergencies.
Since safety concerns are at the forefront of considerations you’ll need to take into account before you follow this method, I’d say your priority should be using protective gear while connecting the generator.
Moreover, if you don’t have a transfer switch, it would be helpful to have all the necessary tools on hand, such as an interlocking kit, a set of electrical wires, a breaker, and additional tools such as screwdrivers and pliers.
These cost less than a transfer switch does, and it doesn’t require an expert to use them. That being said, if you have no experience at all with using a generator, it may be best to hire an electrician to do this for you so you don’t encounter a fire hazard or something similar.