A generator is an excellent tool to have on hand for any number of emergencies. However, before you can effectively use it to power appliances or sensitive electronics in your home, you need to connect the generator safely to your home's electrical system. See below for some steps on how to hook up a generator to your home.
The generator should be far away enough from your home so as not to cause any potential hazards. The electrical cords attached between your generator and appliances, such as a refrigerator or television, pose a serious shock risk if they are wet or come into contact with water. Once you have chosen the proper location for a generator for your home, you need to establish where it will connect to the house and how long your power cord for your corded appliances will be (if using extension cords). If using extension cords, ensure that both cords are the same length and gauge (an improperly sized cord could lead to a fire hazard).
When connecting your generator safely to your home's electrical system, you'll want to be sure that it is protected from the elements. A generator cover ensures that your electrical connection remains protected from any rainfall or potential flooding.
Connecting your power cord to an existing outlet inside your house is easy and fairly straightforward. All you need to do is turn off the main breaker switch in your electrical panel so as not to create a short circuit and shock yourself when making connections. Ensure that there isn't already another appliance plugged into the same outlet you're going to use for connecting a generator for your home. Locate an open slot on one of the breakers in the panel, which will work for running both cords into the panel itself. Once you have located the open slot, push your power cord into it. Ensure that it is pushed in far enough to ensure a good connection between the panel box and the prongs on the end of your power cord.
Once you've safely wired up to your generator with its electrical panel, now comes time to connect it securely to your home's electric system through an electrical outlet on your house called a "sub-panel." Knowing which sub-panel breaker matches up with the main breaker will allow you to make safe connections for all appliances inside and outside the house. Once again, turn off the main breaker switch inside your electrical panel and disconnect any appliances that may be plugged into the sub-panel outlet you will use for connecting to a generator for your home. However, you should call an electrician if you do not know which sub-panel breaker matches up with the main breaker in your house's electrical system. A licensed electrician can even inform you about other aspects of how to hook up a generator to prevent any electrical issues from occurring.
If you have a green light, everything is working properly, and there are no issues with your appliances. If you have a red light, it means something is wrong, and your system does not have enough power to run all of your appliances at once. That could be due to an overloaded circuit, faulty generator cord, or some other reason.
After you have made the necessary preparations and connections between appliances and your home's electric system, you're ready to start up your generator. Press the red button on your universal remote control to turn it on. If you do not have a remote control, switch the main breaker in your electrical panel to "on." Plug any applicable electronics or appliances into their respective outlets located inside your house. Make sure that all appliances are set at their lowest settings before turning them on. That will allow you to conserve energy and avoid overloading circuits. Further, make sure not to overload circuits by plugging too many appliances into one outlet. If using extension cords, refer to Step One for information about how many amps each can handle and not exceed this number.
If you are using an electric heater or other large appliance, ensure a generator for your home runs long enough to power it properly. If you don't have time to run the generator long enough, plug it into a wall outlet instead of another extension cord.
It's also important to keep an eye on outdoor temperatures while operating your generator. Never operate it in extreme heat or cold where its cooling system can be impaired. Running the generator in these kinds of conditions may cause damage and should be avoided at all costs. Please take precautions accordingly by monitoring its operation during hot and cold weather.
When you have finished with your generator, press the red button on your universal remote control once more to turn off the generator. Ensure all the lights on your appliances are off before shutting them down.