Portable generators are slowly flooding the market especially at these uncertain times where backup power is needed. Their hassle-free functionality and flexibility make them suitable for most homeowners. However, answering the question “Can I connect a Portable Generator to my House?” is not that straightforward, and you may require a professional.
It is essential to note that connecting a portable generator directly to your home is hazardous to the occupants. You need to invest either in a manual or automatic transfer switches, which will serve the purpose of breaking the utility connections and allowing for generator power to flow.
You need to discuss it with an expert before attempting a DIY installation. It is also essential to consider the best transfer switch that will suit your needs. Additionally, you need a transfer switch that is compatible with the type of your portable generator.
The article below will offer insights on the importance of the transfer switch and answer the question ‘can l connect a portable generator to my home?’
Disclaimer: The information provided is a guide. You should always seek the help of a qualified tradesman before attempting any electrical installation.
Why you need a transfer switch?
The transfer switch will prevent unexpected transmission of high voltages that can cause electrocution. Before the connection of the generator power, your appliances were powered up by electricity. The electricity has high voltages which need to be lowered by a transformer.
However, the transformer can also step up the voltages leading to very high currency. In such an occurrence, if your generator does not have a transfer switch, it will transfer the high energies, which is fatal.
Despite the generator and the electricity having similar AC power, the frequency tends to differ one way or another. If there is a lack of transfer switch, such unequal frequencies can run together, leading to a short circuit. Such eventualities can lead to unexpected fires in your building or damage to your appliances.
It is best to have safety measures to mitigate such risks in your household, office, or any other building.
Lastly, the use of alternative extension cords can lead to back feed from the voltage or power that is running in your utility line. Such connections increase the risk of electrocution.
Hassle-free transfer of power
When considering the automatic transfer switches, there is an effortless transfer of load from the electric utility to the generator. In the case of a power outage, you will receive power within minutes.
It is possible to note any fluctuations in power supply through primary sensors on the transfer switches. If the utility power falls below a specified range, it is possible to detect, and the generator automatically powers on.
Additionally, most of your appliances are hardwired, and it is impossible to connect to your portable generator through extension cords.
It is a safety requirement by the national electric code
When considering a portable generator in your home, you need to research all the requirements. For instance, the federal electric code needs that you should have a well functional transfer switch in your portable generator.
The measures are necessary to mitigate the risks of electrocution and fire accidents due to short-circuiting. Failure to adhere to that will be deemed as a code of violation.
You can power up your generator through the circuit breaker
It is possible to power up your generator through the circuit breaker instead of the extension cords. It is also possible to reinstate power to your hardwired appliances through the circuit breaker after a power outage. All you need is a functional transfer switch, and the process will be straightforward.
Does not limit the number of connected appliances
Another significant advantage of the transfer switch is the ability to power many hardwired devices. If you ignore its installation, you will be limiting the number of devices that your generator can hold. It is also a sure way to ensure all your devices are running effectively and safely without experiencing short-circuiting.
If you have many tools that require constant power such as refrigerators and dishwashers, it is essential to invest in a transfer switch.
Lengthen the life span of your generator
‘Can l connect a portable generator to my home?‘ is an essential question for most first-time generator owners. Many people have incorporated the use of portable generators, and they are in very high demand. However, if you want to ensure the transition of power from electricity to your generator does not damage your generator, you need a proper transfer switch.
Constant short-circuiting events and overload can damage the structure and functionality of your generator. If such eventualities proceed for an extended period, then your generator will be vulnerable to more damage and may if become non-function.
Some damages will incur you an extremely high cost to repair, while others will need a replacement. To avoid such terrible occurrences, it is essential to safeguard your portable generator by installing a transfer switch.
Operating a generator of 5,000 watts and above
If your portable generator is 5,000 watts and above, you need the installation of a transfer switch for ease of use and safety. Since that high power needs a proper regulator for it to function correctly.
Other essential functions
Some of the transfer switches, mostly the automatic ones, have other desirable features. They can do more than just breaking the power flow as they can monitor any irregularities in the power flow. One primary function is load management due to avoid overloading of the power lines.
The transfer switch enables the proper distribution of power even if there is high demand. Thus, it will allow all your household to run effectively and in a safe manner.
The Bottom Line
‘Can l connect a portable generator to my home?’ is a question lingering in your home. The answer is no, as you need a transfer switch to make a secure connection. Connecting directly to your power supply can lead to electrocution, fires, and even damage your portable generator.
Although the transfer switch is expensive, they have innumerable benefits in your household. Consider hiring a professional who has the required skills to ensure there is proper installation.