Hooking the Power into Your House
- You can run extension cords from the generator to specific appliances.
- You can have an electrician wire the generator into your home's circuit panel so that you can switch the entire house over to the generator.
To switch over to generator power:
- I ground the generator.
- I start the generator and let it stabilize for five minutes.
- I hook the generator up to the circuit panel.
- I flip the generator's circuit breaker. (The electrician will install an interlock system so that the panel's main breaker automatically cuts off when the generator's breaker turns on. This prevents the generator's power from travelling outside your home. See Installing a Backup Generator for details on the wiring.)
Three points from the previous discussion are especially important:
- Have an electrician wire the generator in for you. It will cost $200 to $400 for a simple system.
- Be sure to ground your generator as described in the owner's manual. You can connect the generator's chassis ground to your home's grounding rod, or buy an 8-foot grounding rod at the hardware store for $12 and install it.
- Be sure to cut your house off from the power grid before starting your generator. If you don't, you risk electrocuting people working on the lines. In addition, your generator will be trying to power the entire neighborhood, and it obviously cannot do that. By having the electrician install a positive interlock system, the house's main breaker automatically cuts off when the generator's breaker turns on.
For more information on emergency power systems and related topics, check out the links on the next page.